AFL – Finals Week 1 in Review

The first week of the 2022 AFL Finals Series provided four incredible contests with two wins to the favourites, and two to the underdogs.

Here’s how it looked for punters: 

Gabba shootout

The Finals Series kicked off with an incredible clash at the Gabba that saw underdogs Brisbane ($2.20) upset Richmond to shrug the September monkey off their back. Lachie Neale (39 disposals, 15 clearances) was simply remarkable in a best-on-ground effort, and only one touch from a $7.25 40-disposal effort. But it was the under- Joe Daniher who delivered on the big stage, somehow booting a goal against four Tigers in the goal square with a minute to go to seal a two-point win. Daniher was $3.20 pre-game to kick 3+ goals, and delivered when it mattered.

Whenever two team scores over 100 points in the same AFL match it’s almost always a cracking contest. For that to happen in a final, with 17 lead changes to boot, only amplifies that. The final score (106 to 104) meant the pre-match total points line of 177.5 was easily exceeded.

Swans surge into flag favourites

The most clinical performance of Week 1, without doubt, was the Sydney Swans’ slow dismantling of Melbourne. Away from home at the MCG, the Swans ($2.70) outsiders weathered an early storm before their relentless pressure proved too much for the reigning AFL premiers. Perhaps the most impressive aspect was the across-the-board effort. If Brownlow votes were handed out for finals, it’s likely Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver and Steven May would receive three and two votes respectively. However it was the Swans’ lesser lights (for example Robbie Fox and Dylan Stephens) who shone, as John Longmire’s side more than easily accounted for a pre-game line of +12.5.

The result has had huge ramifications for the flag market. Incredibly, the Swans are now AFL Premiership favourites with Palmerbet — from $6.00 into $2.35.

Rohan-inspired Cats edge gallant Pies

After two pulsating finals, it might’ve been tough for the Geelong v Collingwood blockbuster to live up to what had come before. But if anything, it exceeded it. The Cats ($1.38 pre-game) were given an almighty scare from the ever-impressive Pies who again took an encounter against a higher-fancied opponent deep. The Cats were forced to come from behind in the dying stages to win by a single kick. That wasn’t enough to cover their pre-game line of -17.5. Geelong’s last quarter inspiration was a player placed under the spotlight this week for historically poor AFL Finals performances. But Gary Rohan stepped up, taking a huge pack mark and converting to draw the Cats level, before turning provider for Max Holmes who kicked the sealer. Rohan was $7.75 with Palmerbet to bag 3+ goals.

The win saw Geelong shorten in the AFL premiership market ($3.00 into $2.50). However they’ve now been overtaken by a rampant Sydney Swans outfit ($2.35).

Dockers haul back Dogs

After starting $1.48 favourites in their Elimination Final against the Western Bulldogs, things were looking decidedly grim for Fremantle at 41 points down early in the second quarter. Coach Justin Longmuir had few answer as his side didn’t bring the pressure or polish required in an AFL Final. But as it approach half-time, slowly but surely the Dockers began to surge. And surge they did, kicking 11 of the last 13 goals to send an already raucous Optus Stadium crowd into raptures. The 13-point margin only just covered Fremantle’s pre-game line of -12.5. It was Caleb Serong (33 disposals, $3.50 pre-game to finish with 30+), Andrew Brayshaw (32 disposals, $2.35) and Luke Ryan (31 disposals, $7.25) who led the way for the Dockers. Veteran small forward Michael Walter ($6.75 pre-game to kick 3+) also finished with a game-high three majors.

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