AFL Finals Week 1 Preview

September 1st, 2010

It’s every AFL fan’s favourite time of the season. The finals! The home-and-away season wrapped up in thrilling fashion, but surely we can expect even more fireworks as the field is whittled down to a single deserving champion. Week 1 of the finals will see some very interesting matchups, starting with the Geelong Cats and the St Kilda Saints.

The biggest question surrounding this match will be the condition of Geelong captain Cameron Ling. The skipper sat on the sidelines for two weeks, recovering from a hamstring injury that has been bothering him for some time. Ling made a return for the final round of the home-and-away season and looked to be in fine form as he took two goals and 25 possessions. Nevertheless, the team’s upcoming match against St Kilda will be a much tougher test and plenty are wondering if the captain will be up for leading his team to a week 1 victory. Sportsbooks certainly think so as Geelong is listed as 1.38 favourites to win.

Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich will also draw plenty of attention in the team’s upcoming home ground clash with the Hawthorn Hawks. The veteran skipper is looking forward to the September season, and is confident that his team will be able to handle anything the Hawks can dish out. While Pavlich started the season off strong, his performance has been somewhat up and down while he’s been dealing with an ankle injury. The younger, less experienced Fremantle squad is also drawing some concerns for punters and fans as they will be facing a tough test in Hawthorn. Sportsbooks agree as they have listed Hawks as 1.68 favourites for week 1.

Plenty of punters will be looking to back Collingwood as they go into this first week of finals if only because the team finished the season at the top of the ladder. Add to that their finals experience and team depth, and you’ve got one strong contender for this year’s title. The Pies are looking to return no less than four senior players in time for their game against the Western Bulldogs. Plenty of fans and bettors can expect Alad Didak, Leigh Brown, Simon Prestigiacomo, and Ben Johnson to give the team a huge boost going into the first game of the finals. On the other side of the field, the Bulldogs will have to face the first week without a few of their key players. The lack of depth has lengthened the odds, as the Bulldogs are listed as 4.25 underdogs.

Finally, the Sydney Swans will be taking on the Carlton Blues in the last game of week 1. Plenty of people have been predicting the fall of the Blues since the loss of Brendan Fevola. But, the Blues held on and squeaked through in the number eight spot. With a spot in the finals sewn up, the team is looking forward to proving they can make it deep into September. While the Blues may be lacking experience, both of these teams will be going into this one on somewhat equal footing at ANZ Stadium. The Swans would have preferred the SCG, but have been forced to move to a bigger stadium. Now both teams will have to familiarise themselves with the grounds ahead of game time. Nevertheless, the upper ranked Swans are going into this one as 1.45 favourites.

Check out all of the available odds at Ladbrokes.com.au. Not only are they offering head-to-head lines, but they’re also offering very generous odds on the outright winner and a few other exotic type bets. Visit the site to place your wagers before finals week 1 kicks off this Friday, September 3.

Finals Week 1 Matches:

Date Teams Stadium Time
03/09/10 Geelong Cats (1.38) v St Kilda Saints (3.10) MCG 7:45pm
04/09/10 Fremantle Dockers (2.20) v Hawthorn Hawks (1.68) Subiaco Oval 1:20pm
04/09/10 Collingwood Magpies (1.22) v Western Bulldogs (4.35) MCG 7:20pm
05/09/20 Sydney Swans (1.45) v Carlton Blues (2.77) ANZ Stadium 2:40pm