They say Preliminary Final weekend is the best weekend of the football year.
Those people are right.
There’s never a dull moment in a Prelim and boy oh boy, hasn’t the penultimate weekend of the footy season produced some memorable contests over the years.
Jim Stynes over the mark, the Baby Bombers comeback in ’93, Gary Snr and Plugger after the siren, Carlton’s 1 point upset over the Bombers, the Hawks-Pies heart-stopper in 2011, the heart pulsating emotional finish of the Doggies-Giants clash in 2016, and Mason Cox in 2018 are just a few of the memorable moments that will live long in our memories (for better or worse).
Will more epic moments occur this weekend?
Are we in for a proper fill-up before a bye and then that one day in September…at night…in Perth?
Read on in our Preliminary Final tips and preview below.
Let’s address the elephant in the room:
Can we trust Melbourne?
The Demons have proven time and time again in 2021 that we can, but then images of their last Prelim hit out in 2018 or Jim Stynes running through the mark in 1987 to allow Gary Buckernara to kick a goal to put the Hawks in the Grand Final linger deep in our minds.
Is this the year the Demons can put, well, their Demons to rest?
Melbourne will be fresh from a week off after getting the job done over the Lions in Week 1 of the finals.
They’ve beaten Geelong in both of their meetings this season, one in a convincing matter in Round 4 and then that epic comeback punctuated by that big Max Gawn kick after the siren back in Round 23.
Geelong is in yet another Preliminary Final and did what they did best last week, recording a big win in a Semi-Final over the Giants after a poor performance in Week 1.
The Cats’ consistency at the business end of the season over the past 15-years has to be admired, and with their aging list, they’ve thrown the kitchen sink for another tilt at a flag.
Last week’s 35-point win over GWS was the best performance we’ve seen from Geelong in the past month, having been rather ordinary in the lead up including dropping that 44-point lead to the Dees only a few weeks back.
Based on current form, the Demons have won their past five games on the trot, and their past two over the Cats.
Melbourne has also covered the lune in five out of their last six against Geelong.
The Demons can be trusted and at the time of publishing $1.48 favorites, with the Cats as $2.65 underdogs.
I think you can trust them, but it will be close.
Take the Demons 1-24 points for a bit of value to make their first Grand Final in 21 years.
We have a real headscratcher this one and I have a feeling we could be in for another classic prelim when Port hosts the Doggies at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.
The Western Bulldogs are coming off an epic 1-point win over the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba last week and Port would not want to make back-to-back heartbreakers after last year.
What Port Adelaide will have in their favor is a week off and the fact they’ve all been able to sleep in their own beds, while the Western Bulldogs have racked up the frequent flyer points in recent weeks.
Bevo’s Bulldogs will have plenty of momentum going into this game but question marks remain over whether the Bont or young gun Cody Weightman will play.
These two sides also met back in Round 23 on the Friday night when the Power managed to scrape a 2-point win in front of nobody at Marvel Stadium,
The cauldron-like atmosphere with 25,000 mostly Port supporters at Adelaide Oval will be something to behold, but the Dogs had a pretty good taste of being the villains at the Gabba last Saturday night.
While Port is the short-priced $1.42 favorite at the time of publishing, the Western Bulldogs are also a good value bet at the $2.85 on offer.
I can’t commit to anyone here punters, even if Port has won their past seven matches.
For that, I’m pulling the trigger on my trusty favorite tri-bet option of Either to win by 15.5 or less at the $2.55 price.
May it live up to my expectations.