After 27 rounds and two incredibly tough preliminary finals, the two best sides of the season will meet in the decider as Collingwood and Brisbane prepare to battle for the 2023 AFL premiership.
Can the Pies cap off a dominant season? Or can the Lions break a 20-year premiership drought?
BetDeluxe dives into the grand final and delivers its best bets.
Magpies vs. Lions
30th September 2:30PM
It’s as mouthwatering for modern-day fans as it is for the historians, with this year marking 20 years since the Lions upset the Pies in the 2003 grand final. While that will mean very little to the current playing groups, Lions fans will be happy to see a repeat dose from this year’s underdogs.
The Magpies, who won the minor premiership after finishing on top of the ladder with an 18-5 record, already boast the market support and will enter the game as $1.75 favourites.
Craig McRae’s men will undoubtedly be battle-hardened following their first two finals, with a seven-point thriller over the Dees in the first week of finals trumped by their one-point victory over the Giants on Friday night. Jordan De Goey delivered his greatest game as a Pie with 34 disposals and 13 clearances, while Nick Daicos had 28 and, importantly, got through the game unscathed.
Power forward Dan McStay will miss facing his former side in the decider after injuring his knee against the Giants, with Billy Frampton looming as the like-for-like replacement. Taylor Adams is racing the clock in his bid to return from a hamstring issue.
As for the Lions, they will give key defender Jack Payne until the 11th hour to prove his fitness after missing his side’s scintillating 16-point win over Carlton. After giving up the first five goals of the game, the Lions flicked the switch with 10 goals to four after quarter-time. Josh Dunkley was arguably their best, as he kept Patrick Cripps to just 13 disposals. The decision to put him on De Goey or Daicos could be a game-changer.
If the Lions’ tails weren’t already up, they received another burst of grand final week excitement when Lachie Neale was named the 2023 Brownlow Medallist on Monday night. Neale’s 31 votes were the same number he polled in his 2020 Brownlow year.
While their two finals have been far less nerve-racking than the Pies, the Lions must overcome an MCG hoodoo that has resulted in 13 consecutive regular-season losses at the venue. On the flip side, they did upset Melbourne in last year’s semi-final at the ‘G, so Chris Fagan will be reminding the playing group of those memories prior to Saturday.
While the market seems to have got this one right in the lead-up to Saturday, it’s safe to say the Lions have had the easier finals path to this point. But can they combat both Collingwood and an MCG crowd?
TIP: Same Game Multi
Leg 1: Collingwood 1-39Leg 2: L. Neale 25+ disposalsLeg 3: N. Daicos 25+ disposalsLeg 4: B. Hill 2+ goalsTotal: $9.00
Bet Now: Collingwood vs. Brisbane
The post AFL Grand Final Tips & Preview, 30th September first appeared on BetDeluxe Tips.