The Roar’s AFL expert tips and predictions: Preliminary finals

Josh Elliott Editor

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    A season where every team has had a shocker or two, even the very best of them, makes the preliminary finals hard to predict with confidence.

    On balance, Adelaide and Richmond should win through and play in the grand final, and that would be a great result because it’s been almost two decades since either won a flag.

    However both Geelong and GWS put in strong performances last week and that makes it hard to ignore their chances.

    Personally, I’m tipping the favourites in both matches.

    Home ground advantage is a big deal for the Crows in their match against the Cats, and I’m also a bit sceptical that Geelong can maintain the intensity they showed last week.

    While GWS certainly appeared to be in good form last week, it was a largely uncompetitive match. If Richmond bring the same suffocating pressure this week that they did in the qualifying final, the Giants won’t be able to deal with it.

    Patrick Dangerfield Rory Sloane Geelong Cats Adelaide Crows AFL 2017

    (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    Cameron Rose
    Adelaide, Richmond

    What to make of Adelaide versus Geelong? The Crows beat the Cats by a comfortable 21 points at Adelaide Oval last time out, after being seven goals up late in the third term.

    But, seven of their 13 goals that night were between Richard Douglas (four) and Rory Sloane (three), career highs for each.

    Geelong actually kept the more dangerous and likely forward targets of Taylor Walker, Eddie Betts, Josh Jenkins, Mitch McGovern and Tom T Lynch to three goals between them.

    On the other hand, Harry Taylor kicked five goals that night, which is unlikely to happen again, and all of them were when the game was over anyway.

    Prior to their Adelaide Oval meeting in Round 18, Geelong had won five in a row against the Crows, by an average of five goals.

    But, four of these wins were at Simonds Stadium, which helps skew the figures given we know how important home ground advantage is to each team here.

    I’m happy to go with the belief that Adelaide’s best football is better than Geelong’s, and they are more chance to produce it this Friday than the Cats are.

    Richmond are coming off their best win in decades, when they didn’t allow Geelong any time and space in the first week of finals. We saw what the Cats did to Sydney last week, when they were allowed those things.

    GWS had the soft finals win against West Coast, so both teams will hit this game fresh. It’s doubtful any team could handle the pressure the Tigers brought in that first final, and if they can repeat the dose that should ensure victory.

    But they will need to hit the scoreboard better than they did against Geelong, particularly so to engage the Tiger army and keep the heat turned up on the Giants. I think they can.

    Preliminary finals Josh Elliott Maddy Friend Tim Lane Cam Rose The Crowd
    ADE vs GEE ADE ADE ADE ADE ADE
    RIC vs GWS RIC RIC GWS RIC RIC
    Last week 1 1 1 1 1
    Total 118 121 125 130 126

    Josh Elliott
    Josh Elliott

    Josh Elliott may be The Roar's Weekend Editor, but at heart he's just a rusted-on North Melbourne tragic with a penchant for pun headlines - and also abnormal alliteration, assuredly; assuming achievability. He once finished third in a hot chilli pie eating contest. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshElliott_29 and listen to him on The Roar's AFL Podcast.

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