AFL: Finals hotting up

On the back of come-from-behind wins to Adelaide and Collingwood over the weekend, this week’s preliminary finals promise to be nothing short of spectacular.

Collingwood will face Sydney at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.  The Swans will be raring to go after their qualifying final win against the Crows, while the Magpies are coming off a triumphant, emotionally driven victory over the West Coast Eagles.

The Swans outfit have plenty of finals experience to draw on, and the addition of a home crowd should boost support.  Kieran Jack is in both red-hot form and on the Brownlow medal favourite shortlist.  The Swans deconstructing of Adelaide in week one puts them as the favourite for Friday night’s clash.  Jack, defender Ted Richards, and veteran Adam Goodes will look to again be a part of the core to take on the Magpies, who will be looking to continue on from their win over West Coast.  While Dane Swan was seemingly quiet with 29 possessions, his ability to rid players will be a huge asset against the Swans.

Hawthorn have barely had a glitch all season, and against Adelaide in Melbourne, chances are they’ll be a red-hot chance to march into the grand final.  The Crows cannot be counted out, however, after their comeback against Fremantle on Friday night.

The loss of Brent Guerra in the qualifying final leaves the Hawks with a gap in defense, but are well covered by the likes of Grant Birchall and Josh Gibson.  Lance Franklin will need to fire, with Adelaide forward Taylor Walker booting five goals against the Dockers.  Scott Thompson and Patrick Dangerfield, who are considered Brownlow possibilities, will need to provide strong lead targets.

With the possibility of a grand final berth looming, all four teams will be focused on getting through this week, and their match, unscathed.  The Pies have a bigger chance of upsetting the Swans in Sydney, and while Adelaide certainly has the firepower, a Hawthorn team that has been running rampant lately will be a hard force to stop.

Tips: Hawthorn, Collingwood

(Image source: AFL)

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