2019 AFL Grand Final – Tips & Preview

First thing’s first – this is not the Big Dance.

Paul Mercurio as Scott, the woman who played Fran and Sonia Kruger as Tina Sparkle get judged by Bill Hunter as Barry Fyfe in Strictly Ballroom, go to the big dance.

This punters, is the AFL GRAND FINAL.

Richmond and Greater Western Sydney are the last ones standing as they fight it out on the hallowed turf of the MCG on the last Saturday in September for that premiership cup.

The Tigers have been the best team in the last three years and the Giants make history in their very first Grand Final.

But there’s no need to dance around it for an intro, let’s get on with finding a winner in that one day in September.

AFL Grand Final - Richmond v GWS Giants
GWS Giants/Richmond @ $6.25

Let’s go back to Round 14 of this season.

An injury-depleted Richmond was sitting on 9th spot on the AFL ladder and some thought the good old “ninthmond” days were back ensuring that old, recycled classic gags and memes clogged up everyone’s social feeds.

It wasn’t to be – Richmond has gone on to win its last 11 games, got given a dream run of matches at their MCG fortress and accounted for other contenders such as the Maggies, Giants and West Coast.

Their finals campaign has been clinical – the Brisbane Lions (proudly sponsored by Neds) gave their best but the Tigers guided by six goals from Dustin Martin easily got the job done.

They then found themselves three goals down at half-time in the prelim against the Cats but the Tigers never gave up, and led by Tom Lynch managed a 19 point win and book themselves a second Grand Final in three years.

Imagine if you could have backed that back in 2016?

For GWS, it’s fair to say they have had an amazing finals series after looking down and out towards the end of the home and away season with many thinking they’d just make the numbers and coach Leon Cameron would be in trouble.

There’s been a stack of injuries, suspensions (Toby Greene) and one of their stars in Lachie Whitfield had to be withdrawn because of appendicitis.

While some critique the club for being “manufactured” and “no history” the Giants have most certainly done it the hard way this September.

They smashed the highly-fancied Western Bulldogs at home in the first week, Snatched a thrilling victory against the Brisbane Lions (proudly sponsored by Neds) at the Gabba and managed to hang on against Collingwood in one of the most thrilling AFL Finals in recent memory.

Whatever you may think about their establishment, you can’t help but admire the team this September.

Can they win their historic first premiership in only their eighth season of AFL Football?

Richmond is highly fancied but they aren’t Winx in this two-horse race.

The Giants will welcome back everyone’s favourite player in Toby Greene fresh off a controversial one-week suspension for eye-gouging.

Many expect Toby Greene to go the full Alistair Lynch 2004 Grand Final and take no prisoners.

Richmond players should wear Goggles and a Swimming Cap if they are around him.

Unfortunately, we’re not offering a Toby Greene suspension market but if we did, I’d be on the Overs.

GWS has the ability to play a very aggressive and physical type of game which is perfect for a Grand Final.

However, they’ve been quite lucky in the past couple of week and this would now be their third trip interstate in three weeks.

The fact they’ve made the Grand Final from the sixth spot on the ladder and had an epic September will be looked back on, no matter the outcome on Saturday.

It would be one of the all-time great premierships if they are able to do it, but even with my yellow and black heart, I can’t see it happening.

The Tigers are men on a mission desperate to redeem themselves from the disappointment of missing out in 2018 when they were clearly the best team all season.

Their finals against Brisbane and Geelong has shown what a strong, capable and reliable football team they are and they can face any challenge or threat.

The MCG factor also comes into play.

The Tigers have won 34 out of 37 and Dustin Martin’s September has been phenomenal.

When Richmond gets on a roll, there’s no stopping them and the quick ball movement the Tigers are capable of is breathtaking to watch.

An advantage GWS has is first and second for uncontested and contested football whereas Richmond is 12th and 16th in the AFL for those respective categories.

Expect the Giants to try and make an impact on the scoreboard and possibly be up at half-time.

With that in mind, and it’s been a favourite bet of mine for season 2019 – the Half Time/Full Time makes for excellent value.

Richmond will win their 12th premiership –  their second in three years.

Pretty good for a club that was an easy punchline not so long ago.