AFL Grand Final Preview
Updated: Oct 14, 2021
Here we are at the conclusion of what has been an incredible season of AFL in
In a repeat of the 1954 VFL Grand Final, along with a historic Grand Final to be
played on Western Australian territory, Melbourne, the minor primers, will take
on the fifth-placed Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium on Saturday evening.
How They Got There:
Melbourne is aiming for their first premiership since 1964, at what currently
stands the longest premiership drought in the league, at 57 years. They reached
the Grand Final after outlasting Brisbane by 33-points in the Qualifying Final.
This was before treating Geelong as if they were training cones in the preliminary final, coming away victorious by 83-points.
The Dogs are aiming for a third-ever premiership and looking to repeat their
triumph of 2016, where they came from outside the top four to break a 62-year
premiership drought. They had a late-season slump, from being second place to
losing their last three games to slip down to fifth place. But in the finals, they
have proved any doubters of their capability wrong.
They comfortably took care of Essendon by 49-points in the elimination final.
Carrying that form on, they took a massive scalp in Brisbane, eliminating the
Lions by a solitary point with an act of desperation from a decisive, late rushed
behind. Before causing yet another upset in the preliminary final, to earn their
way into the grand final with a 71-point demolition of Port Adelaide
If you want to look at the key players, you could simply start with the fact that
two players will face off for their respective sides, that both finished within the
top three players in the Brownlow Medal race. Marcus Bontempelli polled an incredibly impressive 33 votes to come in second place. Behind him, Clayton Oliver came third with an incredible showing of 31 votes.
Max Gawn- Leading from the front all year. Gawn’s form of late-season has been
nothing short of incredible. Kicking the match-winning goal for Melbourne after
the final siren in round 23 to win the Demons their first minor premiership since
His form continued into the finals, kicking four of his five goals to strongly
turn the preliminary final against Geelong in Melbourne’s favor. Melbourne will
hope that he will be in top shape for the big show.
Clayton Oliver- Coming third in the Brownlow, Oliver has been in stellar form this
season, averaging 31 possessions per game.
Bayley Fritch- Averaging 10 disposals, seven kicks, four marks, and two goals.
Jack Viney- Viney has been an inspirational skipper and a true leader all year. His form
has him gaining an average of 22 disposals, 10 kicks, and 11 handballs.
Other key players - Christian Petracca, Jake Lever, Steven May, Ed Langdon, Ben Brown, Kysaiah Pickett, Luke Jackson, Angus Brayshaw, Charlie Spargo.
Marcus Bontempelli- As mentioned, he came second in the Brownlow rankings. His
form has been second to none this season, averaging 26 disposals, 15 kicks and
11 handbells. Dogs fans will be hoping he brings his A-game to the decider.
Bailey Dale- a young gun on the rise. Averaging 24 disposals, 17 kicks, and six
Bailey Smith- What a season this young star has had. Averaging 23 disposals, 13
kicks, nine handballs and three handballs. An excitement machine, who will want to be
on fire on the big stage.
Jack Macrae- one of the inform Dogs players all year. Averaging, 34 disposals, 16
kicks, 17 handballs and four handballs.
Other key players- Caleb Daniel, Lachie Hunter, Tom Liberatore, Adam Treloar, Aaron Naughton, Patrick Lipinski, Tim English.
Head to Head this season:
These sides have met twice this year. The Demons prevailing in the first match in
round 11 by 28-points in an impressive run-away second half. Before the Dogs
got their vengeance in round 19 to earn back top spot at the time. If it had not
been for the Dogs late-season slump, it could have easily been their minor
premiership this year.
A key factor that we can look into is that the Dogs do have some Grand Final
experience. Many of their players are still around from their flag five years ago,
along with their coach Luke Beverage, who has coached on the big day before
and as you know, did so successfully.
Melbourne has been the in-form side all year, however. They have talent all
over the park. This has been the Demon’s best season in
many decades. They have turned heads this year in terms of how
impressive they have been, starting the season with nine straight wins and
remaining on the top of the year for the vast majority of it.
Melbourne supporters have long suffered. But they should have faith that this is
their side’s best chance of a premiership since 1964. Melbourne has the talent
and their players and supporters should be confident it is their time. If Gawn,
Fritch, Brown, Oliver, and many other talented players can put their best foot
forward, it is Melbourne’s time after 57 long years.
Not only could it be their year, but this could be the start of something special to be sustained over the coming years. A couple of flags, a dynasty, or at least a few successful seasons at the top with competitiveness for the flag race. At any rate, Demons fans should be excited.
I'm tipping Melbourne by 25 points.
Norm Smith medallist- Clayton Oliver.