Thu, Sep 15, 11:23am by Jake Equid
Date and Time: Friday September 16, 7:50pm
TV: Live on Channel 7, Fox Footy
The Dogs will be armed with both confidence and the support of the city of Melbourne when they take on the reigning premiers. The loser can plan book their holidays while the winner meets GWS in a preliminary final.
The Hawks opened up as $1.45 favourites but there has been some money for the Dogs which has seen them come into $2.65 from $2.83. The Hawks have slid out marginally to $1.50. The line moved from 14.5 into 11.5.
The task for the three time reigning champs became significantly tougher as soon as Isaac Smith’s shot for goal went right of the big sticks last Friday. They must now win three consecutive cut-throat finals, just as they did last year, to make history and become the first team since Collingwood in 1930 to achieve a 4-peat. Have they got it in them again?
The reason for the groundswell of support for the Dogs, which has certainly captured Melbourne, besides the Hawthorn faithful of course, is the fact they’ve managed to overcome so many injuries this year. A man who has had a clean bill of health but was dropped three weeks ago is Jake Stringer, he returned to the side last week and although he didn’t have much of the ball he did show a few signs that he may be back near his best. Specifically, with a trademark goal from outside 50. He’ll need a big game in this one if the Dogs are to win.
Of the six teams remaining in the hunt for the premiership, these two sides have struggled most up forward this season, particularly in terms of talls where the Bulldogs, having lost Jack Redpath to an ACL injury, are left with Tom Boyd as the only tall target. The latter proved a lot of skeptics wrong last week, playing in his first final in just his 35th game he finished with 14 disposals, five marks and five tackles – one of his best games.
Up the other end of the ground, the Hawks really only have Jack Gunston – and he is hardly the traditional tall forward. Last week it was obvious to see that they are lacking tall targets. On several occasions they were forced to kick to space when they entered the forward 50 to let the likes of Rioli, Puopolo and Breust run onto the ball.
The midfield battle will be fascinating with the Rising Star runner-up Caleb Daniel, who was brilliant last week set to go head-to-head with Hawks playmaker Sam Mitchell. Daniel held in own when the sides met in Round 3, which ended in a 3-point win for the Hawks. Let’s hope we get a similarly tight contest in this one.
The Dogs will not mind the being the outsider as proven last Thursday. They made the Eagles look like they were stuck in concrete at times and showed once again just how dangerous they can be when they are given space. There is absolutely no chance they’ll be afforded the same space in this one though.
History favours Hawthorn, which has won its past eight games against the Bulldogs by an average of 38 points, and has also triumphed in their four finals encounters by an average of 49 points.
WATCH: Our Preview of the AFL semi-finals
Sportsbet Full Market:
Head to Head
Big Win Little Win
1st Goal Scorer
Total Match Points – Over/Under
He may no longer be known simply as the 'no pokies' Senator, but Nick Xenophon is determined to pursue further gambling law…
The proposed merger between Tatts and Tabcorp hit another potential hurdle on Wednesday when a third-party consortium, led by Macquarie Group, launched…
One Sydney punter has admitted a $10 bet which he converted into over $66,000 thanks to a 20-leg soccer multi was a…