The finals get underway for 2021 and how exciting it is.
You can genuinely make the case for either side in all four matches this weekend – so check out who we’re backing here before making your tips.
Port Adelaide vs Geelong Cats
It’s a case of déjà vu for the first match of the finals, with Port Adelaide and Geelong opening the series for the second straight year.
The Power got up in this fixture last season, but have a very poor record against the Cats in general – including a loss in this year’s only home-and-away meeting.
Port may be in red-hot form, but they’ve failed to defeat a fellow top four side all season and, really, none of those clashes have been that close.
Home ground advantage makes things a bit more interesting, but we’re backing the Cats to rebound and book a ‘home’ prelim.
Sydney Swans vs GWS Giants
The Swans have never beaten their crosstown rivals in a final but are also the only team to have played in Tasmania and never lost.
Which streak ends on Saturday?
Sydney will be sweating on the fitness of midfield stars Josh Kennedy and Callum Mills and the absence of either could give the Giants a huge boost.
But, given these sides finished 14 points and 20.2 percentage points apart on the ladder, we’ll back the Swans to get the job done regardless.
Melbourne vs Brisbane Lions
Melbourne’s come-from-behind win over Geelong last weekend was the stuff of legends and will celebrated for decades to come if it proves to be the catalyst for a premiership.
As impressive as it was, it’s time for the Demons to switch on for the finals. They’ll have their work cut out for them too against a Brisbane side looking to avenge some recent September heartbreak.
In fairness, the Dees were mostly very sharp in their most recent finals appearance, so there’s no reason to suggest they’ll shrink in the spotlight.
Western Bulldogs vs Essendon
The Dogs come into finals in very cold form, but the form Essendon are in is being overrated slightly.
It’s true the Bombers have beaten the Doggies recently, but their four other recent wins came against Adelaide, North Melbourne, Gold Coast and Collingwood – this year’s bottom four.
The Bulldogs have the recent finals experience that Essendon don’t and, having been premiership favourites up until very recently, should show their class in an emphatic rebound.
If you’re into trends, try this. The last two seasons, the Dogs have won their last three home-and-away matches and then lost in the first week of the finals.
This year, they’ve lost their last three home-and-away matches. Is it time for a win then? We think so.