Elimination Final 1 – St Kilda $2.05 v Western Bulldogs $1.77
- Line St Kilda (+3.5) v Western Bulldogs (-3.5)
Footy returns to the Gabba on Saturday afternoon for the first of the elimination finals; lose this and it’s home time.
The Saints are back in the finals for the first time in 10 years and have given their fans plenty to cheer about this year. The combination of a new coach, good recruiting and natural improvement from young players such as Hunter Clark, Nick Coffield and Max King can all be attributed to the Saints success.
The Western Bulldogs finished the year with a wet sail winning five of their last six games and take good momentum into the final’s series. Many of their players have finals experience that the Saints players do not, and as I talked about in my Geelong/Port Adelaide preview this must count for something.
These teams met in round two, the Saints won that game easily by 39 points under the roof at Marvel Stadium. One of the most influential factors in that clash was the ruck dominance of St Kilda over young Bulldogs ruckman Tim English. English has improved since then but so have the St Kilda rucks and I am sure both clubs will be putting a lot of time into this area of the ground.
Bulldogs defender Caleb Daniel was named in the All Australian team last week and I am interested to see if St Kilda looks to lock down on him. Fremantle was successful in limiting Daniel’s impact in round 17 and Daniel was forced into the midfield to break that tag.
Brett Ratten has shown he is not averse to using a forward tag, the most recent example being Josh Battle’s defensive roll on Nick Hynes from GWS. This proved successful so I expect he might attempt the same with Daniel. St Kilda skipper Jarryn Geary looks the likely candidate for this role.
A hard game to attack with any confidence but I think the Western Bulldog’s experience might be enough to get them over the line.