With The Wolf expecting Melbourne to break their 57-year Premiership drought in his AFL Grand Final preview, he’s backing a Melbourne superstar to take home the Norm Smith Medal.
Here are The Wolf’s Norm Smith Medal predictions.
If the last six Grand Finals is anything to go by, Christian Petracca possesses all the qualities of a Norm Smith Medalist.
The ability to win the ball and hit the scoreboard is vital, which is why Dusty has three in his pocket.
Although Petracca probably won’t win as much footy as the likes of Oliver and Macrae, his ability to kick multiple goals from 25+ disposals puts him in the box seat for this award.
He’s close to automatic for 25+ disposals per game and has kicked 2+ goals in 33% of games this season including twice in the last four games.
This is the key reason why he’s listed as favourite for the award, and if you think the Demons will win you need to ensure you have a bet on Petracca to win the Norm Smith.
Marcus Bontempelli and Jack Macrae are the two obvious selections for the Bulldogs, but Bailey Smith playing a mid-forward role has been incredible this finals series.
He was best-on in the Dogs’ Preliminary Final win over Port Adelaide with four goals, and the return of Cody Weightman for the Bulldogs will likely see Smith win a bit more ball around the contest.
The success of Smith playing as that hard-running half forward will certainly be fresh in Beveridge’s mind – if the Dogs are to win this, expect 25 touches and a couple of goals from Smith in a Norm Smith worthy effort.
The debate is as strong as ever around midfielders winning every award with very little recognition to forwards and defenders – could this influence the voting panel?
Jake Lever has had a record season with intercept marks in his role down back, and although the last key defender to win the Norm Smith was Brian Lake in 2013, Lever can produce some stellar statistics in the defensive role he plays.
The only Demon entering Saturday having played in a Grand Final, Lever will need a similar stat line to what Lake produced in 2013 – 22 possessions and 10 marks. He has played well in both games against the Bulldogs this season polling a Brownlow vote in their Round 11 win, while having 20 touches in Round 19’s loss.
If Lever can pull in six or seven intercept marks on Grand Final Day, he could be a surprise winner of the medal at big odds.