Geelong v GWS, Optus Stadium, 5.50pm
Is it as simple as week two of the finals equating to a ferocious Geelong response? It remains to be seen, but certainly Geelong on the rebound in September has in the past been a good formula following a poor opening post-season outing.
That was the case last weekend and the expected return of Zach Tuohy from a hamstring strain will shore up a defensive six that looked decidedly shaky against Port Adelaide. Factor in also the absence of Toby Greene (suspended) and it’s easier to see why the Cats are warm favourites.
The Giants don’t mind adversity, as we have witnessed for a fair period of time now, and that is a good thing given they were out on their feet late against Sydney and get to this match off a six-day break and long flight.
VERDICT: Geelong by 38 points
Brisbane v Western Bulldogs, Gabba, 5.20pm
We can often be seduced by a side winning an elimination final, believing they are capable of advancing beyond the following week’s action despite their next opponent being a vanquished qualifying finalist.
Rarely does that occur, although the Western Bulldogs could be poised to buck the odds. That is not because they were so impressive in dismantling Essendon last weekend. Rather because they occupied a spot in the top four for the bulk of 2021, only to slide out by the narrowest of margins after round 23.
The team that replaced them in the top four was Brisbane, who were exposed by Melbourne last weekend. There is no disgrace in that, but they have to front up now to the Bulldogs without Daniel McStay in attack. His unavailability through concussion is potentially telling.
VERDICT: Western Bulldogs by 10 pointsMarket Market