By the Thailand Tigers Australian Football Club
Well, it’s finally here. You could not have asked for two better drama-packed preliminary finals last week that saw Richmond and Greater Western Sydney prevail and set up – as Bruce would say – a delicious match to decide who will be the 2019 Australia Football League premiership winner.
And before we have a quick look at the game, just remember, the only place to watch Australia’s biggest sporting contest is at the Coffee Club 2019 AFL Grand Final Family Day this Saturday.
It has quickly become the best grand final party in Asia and make sure you get there early to enjoy a sumptuous breakfast and catch all the pre-game analysis and entertainment on the big screens.
So who wins? Judging by the games that were played in the preliminary final round, you would have to say there surely can’t be much in this game. Certainly it must be a lot closer than the betting markets from bookmakers released earlier this week suggest.
Richmond had a massive scare in the first half against Geelong last week and if Geelong had have taken their early chances it would have been a lot harder for the Tigers to get back into the game. Sluggish starts have almost cost Richmond dearly in recent weeks, but their ability to stick to their game plan and run games right out has got them over the line. No doubt, the difference for Richmond in this finals series has been the form of star recruit Tom Lynch. Without him it is unlikely the Tigers would be playing this Saturday and he will have to have a massive say again if the Tigers are to get over the line.
The Giants are trying to replicate Footscray’s marvellous 2016 victory over Sydney. Footscray came from outside the top four (as have the Giants), looked beaten multiple times in their lead up games, yet still just found a way to get into the grand final to beat Sydney, who was also a short-priced favourite.
The similarities for GWS this week are uncanny.
The Giants have simply been magnificent with three hard fought wins by playing some brutal finals football. After finishing sixth on the ladder, they have had to win every game to stay in the running and they have done that.
These wins have been even more meritorious as they have done so without some of their top end talent. Toby Greene will come back this week from suspension. Greene has evolved into the Giants bad boy talisman. Too undisciplined to be captain, but the player his team mates look to get on the back of in the pursuit of victory. Maybe a touch like Ben Cousins at the peak of his powers with West Coast. The Giants will also have selection headaches with Lachie Whitfield and Steve Coniglio coming off injuries but look like putting their hands up to play. Both are absolute stars, but The Giants continue to win without them. A nice dilemma for the Giants’ match committee to have and it will be fascinating to see which way they go with selection.
There is also talk in the media already of the Giants employing “at least two, maybe three” taggers to stop either Dustin Martin, Dion Prestia, Shane Edwards or Bacher Houli. An interesting tactic if employed. Martin was tagged out of the last contest between these two teams and got so frustrated he was reported. Stopping him would see the Giants go a long way towards winning.
So, looking it at simply, will it come down to this? The competition’s newest side in their first grand final after three absolutely bruising finals. A young team packed with talent, back on the road to Melbourne, backs against the wall against a team who won it two years ago, has not had to travel for three weeks and are likely to have at least 80,000 rabid fans cheering for them on their home ground.
Could it be that simple? We don’t think so, it never is in grand finals, the only sure thing is we won’t be missing a kick or a moment at the 2019 AustCham/Coffee Club AFL Grand Final Family Day.
It’s going to be a super contest, so see you all there.
From the Thailand Tigers Australian Football Club