If Round 23 is anything to go by, this Preliminary Final between Melbourne and Geelong will be a memorable one. The Cats appear to be paying overs in this one.
If their Round 23 clash is anything to go by, Friday night’s Preliminary Final is going to be a ripper. The Cats led by 44 points towards the end of the third quarter before the Demons kicked the last eight goals of the game to win after the siren, claiming the minor premiership.
Despite the Cats being in a dominant position in that game, they enter this Preliminary Final as $2.65 underdogs – if Max Gawn doesn’t kick straight in Round 23, would that still be the case?
Melbourne has won both games this year, but it’s been close between these teams of late with four of their last seven encounters decided by less than a goal.
Optus Stadium may play a factor in this, with the Cats covering the line in their last four games at the ground – Melbourne on the other hand has only covered once from their last four.
In the last nine Preliminary Final weekends, only once have both favourites covered the line (2017) – The Wolf expects this Preliminary Final to be the one where the favourite fails to cover.
In the last six weeks, it’s the Demons that have played in the highest scoring games of the last four teams remaining.
The total points in six of Melbourne’s last seven games has been 150 or over, including their Round 23 clash which came to 158 points.
The Wolf expects the Cats to be a bit more aggressive in this – their slow kick-mark style may work against many teams, but the way Melbourne structure down back with Steven May and Jake Lever the Dees are one team they’ll need to be a bit more creative against.
As a result, this will provide Melbourne with a few more opportunities to counterattack like they have in their last five games where they’re averaging 95.6 points for.
This contest should cover the low 151.5 total points line.
Geelong’s Brad Close is very good value to kick a goal in this game against the Dees, currently paying $2.30.
Close popped up and kicked two goals in their Semi Final against the Giants, and managed a goal against the Demons in Round 23.
Behind Hawkins, Cameron and Rohan, Close is next in line for goals kicked this season with 15, kicking a goal in 57% of games which includes a goal a game over the last month.
Gryan Miers has struggled up forward since returning from injury, so expect Close to stay around the sticks on Friday night.
SAME GAME MULTI
Cameron Guthrie 25+ Disposals / Joel Selwood 20+ Disposals / Isaac Smith 20+ Disposals / Gary Rohan Any Time Goal Scorer = $4.20
Cam Guthrie bounced back from his Qualifying Final disappointment with 25 disposals against the Giants, now recording 25+ in 73% of his games this season including in both games against the Dees this season. Joel Selwood has also had some big games against Melbourne this season averaging 29 touches, recording 20+ disposals in 65% of the season. Isaac Smith has now recorded 20+ disposals in 87% of his games in 2021, including in his last seven games. There’s always concerns around Gary Rohan in finals, but the value of $1.40 is too good for a player that has kicked a goal in 80% of his games this season.