AFL Premliminary Finals Preview: Sydney V Hawthorn?

Four teams fight for the right to play in the 2012 Grand Final.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

Sydney v Collingwood

Obviously Sydney are the favourites heading into this final with a week’s rest in their back pocket, but the real question should be is Collingwood actually in with a chance?

The obvious answer is of course they are. There is just too much talent on that squad to right them completely off, but a number of things are going against them.

The team may well be physically and mentally exhausted. Thursday saw them finally say goodbye to former teammate John McCarthy at his emotional funeral. There’s also the fact that they’re coming off just a six day break without normal preparation time. It is difficult to judge how ready this team will be under first year coach Nathan Buckley when they trot out onto ANZ Stadium on Friday night.

But I just keep coming back to those star studded names: Pendlebury, Beams, Swan and Sidebottom are just a few, but even the role guys are fantastic. Thomas, Fasolo and Krakouer are/will/or have/had very bright careers in this league.

Finally, the come from behind win against West Coast in last week’s second elimination final was very impressive.

Sydney is very strong and are probably benefitting from receiving almost none of the media attention this week. It could be exactly what they want or it could be a disaster waiting to happen.


Hawthorn v Adelaide

You would have to live in Adelaide to be tipping the Crows, but is a team that was mighty impressive last week in their comeback against Fremantle. Are they really just at $6.25 odds (TAB) of pulling off the upset?

The Hawks will be boosted by the returns of Jordan Lewis and Clint Young, plus the old bodies of Hodge, Mitchell, Sewell and the likes would have benefited greatly from the week off.

Adelaide is suffering a bit from the injury bug. They lost Talia in week 1 of the finals and then another key defender last week in Sam Shaw, but they too have a midfield that is capable of matching the Hawks and a mercurial forward line that on its day can light anyone up.

Taylor Walker’s performance last week was huge for the Crows. He’s maturing into a great option and we shouldn’t be surprised, he’s been at it all season (when he hasn’t been suspended). Throw the under done Kurt Tippett, suffering from a bit of the Chris Dawes/Travis Cloke syndrome, and there is the potential for a huge scoring night- a necessity to get past Hawthorn.

It will be a huge ask for Adelaide to win this, a lot will have to go right. But it isn’t impossible.

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