At the time of writing the odds for this game are eagles 1.80 and dees 2.05. Which is about right.
No question that the eagles deserve to be favorites. They've had a great season, have a good system and a very dangerous forward line, particularly their medium size forwards. And it goes without saying they have a huge home ground advantage. How big an advantage? Well, i reckon the odds would be reversed if this game was at the G.
Leaving all that to one side i really believe we will win this game. And if we clik we could even do a number on them.
The key reasons for my confidence are:
Momentum: we have it in spades
Confidence: see above
Belief: see above
Settled team: since the west coast game we have had only three players out - Kent, JKH and the dreadfully unlucky Fritter. Super important from both an injury and team synergy perspective
From our best possible 22 we only have Lever and hogan not playing (with Kent close)
They have 3 of their best 22 out in Nik Nat, Gaff and Sheppard (and arguably 2 of their best 3 out) and these outs hurt them more than ours do us as they can't cover them as well, particularly Nik Nat and Gaff
McEvoy held his own against Max, unsurprising given he is a top shelf ruckman. This was big factor in them leading clearances and inside 50s at half time. Lycett and Vardy will struggle to come close to containing maxy let alone match him. Gives us a huge advantage in terms of clearances
On clearances, we are third in the AFL for clearances (WC 13th) and 1st for center clearances (WC 10th)
We travel well. I think i am right in saying we have won 6 of our last 7 interstate games, with the one loss being the Port game we should have won
The ground suits us as it is narrower than the g by some 30 metres and will make it hard for WC to find space, chip it around and escape our suffocating pressure - not to mention get through our press
The perfect conditions suit us as quick, clean hands are so critical to our quick transition and ball movement, which are the key factors in our high scoring game style (and conversely a reason why we struggle in the wet)
As has been noted by many commentators WC win if they get within a -11 differential for contested ball. We average +18. They will have to bring some serious heat to stop us winning the contested ball. Hawks did and kept with us - until we got on top in contested ball
On that point our contested ball, high pressure style matches up well against their more traditional style of accurate, surgical kicking as it disrupts their kicking accuracy and creates damaging turnovers
Our style is built for finals and theirs is susceptible to finals pressure (like GWS last week)
Tackles will play a big role in creating pressure - we are number 1 in the AFL for tackles. 70.7 tackles a game to WC's 60.6 a game (15th)
Yes Kennedy in is huge and obviously having Darling play a full match helps (though it is worth noting we already 3 goals up when he was injured i think) but Sheppard is a big loss for them as Hanna, Spargo and Trac are dangerous
But more significant is our in - the raging bull. I admit i am guilty of underestimating the value Viney would bring to the team in the finals. He has been incredible and is a critical addition given how crucial contested ball will be
And whilst Weed played in the last game he is almost a different player now such is his form. Certainly a bigger threat
Yes Kennedy and Darling represent a major threat (though i worry more about Jetta, Rioli and Ryan) but since we played WC we have kept three very good sides in perfect conditions to an average of 58 points. Our all team defensive game is working and our back six have been terrific
That all team defensive pressure will ensure Kennedy and Darling won't get the silver service they have got in their 11 wins together
Besides for all their supposed forward line strength we are the number one scoring side, by some margin, and average almost two goals a game more than WC
Add to that we are the number 1 side for marks inside 50 with 14.8 per game. WC are 7th with 11.5 - they better worry about our forward line!
We have yet to hit our straps and as Moncology noted before the hawks game we still have gears we can go up. If we click on Saturday there is a real chance we will, at some point, kick 4,5,6 goals in quick succession as we have done all year
If we do that in the first quarter we will take the wind out of the sails of WC and their fans and we will be very hard to beat
The crowd noise will be pure Fugazi to the dees
The 2, 600 demons fans - demonland posters among them - will carry the torch for all demon fans around the country
It's the vibe