First Semi-Final: Hawthorn v Adelaide
During the first half last week against an exuberant West Coast, the Hawks looked like they had got out on the wrong side of the bed.
By the last break in play they appeared to have sobered up and for the second half scored the same as the rampart Eagles – 7.6 apiece.
For punters, this factor is worth noting because it is often the case of an overreaction following the first week of finals results.
Suddenly, Hawthorn looks lackluster and Adelaide is an irresistible scoring force after their sterling victory against the Western Bulldogs.
Good punters should be aware the Hawks are a seriously top ranking outfit with a home and away ladder percentage of 158.40. They have a proven record of recovering after bad games and also covering injury and suspension losses.
The Crows with a ladder percentage of 115.71 have not travelled at the same level this season. Nevertheless there is the emotional factor that is worth considering.
It is remarkable how well the team has kept its head up after the tragic death of head coach, Phil Walsh, in the lead up to round 13. Making the semi-final is worth a salute for them.
What makes the Hawks so strong is their spread of talent across all lines of the field.
Adelaide is a fair chance because they have an outstanding core structure that includes ruck, Jacobs, power forward Tex Walker, goal sneak Betts, and driving the engine room is Danger-man, Sloane & Thompson.
Second Semi-Final: Sydney v North Melbourne
North Melbourne has as good a chance as any recent candidate ranked 5-8 breaking into the top four, as it did last year.
Poor Sydney has watched star after star fall by the wayside, but is still justified favourite at Homebush to repeat its victory exactly one year ago.
Over the past couple of seasons Sydney has invested enormous amounts at building a powerful forward strike unit as per Franklin, Tippet & Co.
For all sorts of reasons this has not yet gelled. Now for unseen reasons the chances of the Swans winning the flag with Buddy on board is gone.
Even so, the Swans are magnificent at bolting down opponents and it is this factor they will rely on most to defeat North on the weekend.
Last week against the Dockers in Perth they were stiff not to win, leading the main KPIs except for too many wayward shots on goal. For North Melbourne, the Swans will be a much harder unit to break through than what Richmond served up last week.
The Roos are always a fascinating punting proposition because they can be brilliantly flamboyant within one blink of an eye, and defensively brittle on the next.