AFL 2019 Second Elimination Final Preview: GWS vs Western Bulldogs

What should we expect when this modern day rivalry is reignited once more?

Overview

Here we go, it’s finally time for Finals to begin and we’re all excited as ever. This week’s second elimination final looms a tasty match up with a quality side in the Giants up against the team everyone is talking heading into September. GWS have a home advantage but the Bulldogs have form and fate on their side as they look to perform yet another Cinderella story, similar to their 2016 Premiership for the ages.

Recent Meetings

R22, 2019GWS Giants 9.11 (65)

Western Bulldogs 19.12 (126)

GIA
R1, 2018GWS Giants 20.13 (133)

Western Bulldogs 7.9 (51)

UNSW 
R21, 2017Western Bulldogs 7.15 (57)

GWS Giants 16.9 (105)

MRVL
R6, 2017GWS Giants 11.9 (75)

Western Bulldogs 9.19 (73)

UNSW 
R26, 2016GWS Giants 12.11 (83)

Western Bulldogs 13.11 (89)

GIA

Key Factors

Dogs Look the Part in Rematch for the Ages

Three fantastic wins in their last three matches have set the Dogs up to look strong before taking on the Giants in Sydney. We all remember one famous match between the two sides, the 2016 Preliminary is still one of the best football matches ever and fresh in our minds. That day will go down in history as one of the best, and although this isn’t a Preliminary final, it’s still sudden death, and still has so much riding on it. The Bulldogs will want to recreate that match once again, as they carry excellent form and a lot of external support into their finals campaign.

Has the Giants’ Window Really Closed?

Many believed this side could win a Premiership in their first ten seasons with such a talented group of young players. Now, after eight seasons the Giants are flagless and aging, and 2019 looked promising early, now the Giants are heavily under fire from opponents and look out of the running. Can the Giants defy the odds and break the shackles with a great win? If GWS beat the Dogs this weekend they can beat anyone, this team has form, luck and the country on its side, all near impossible to overcome.


Be sure to check out our Bulldogs v Giants Finals Flashback

All to Play for in the Middle

The battle on Saturday will be won in the midfield. With two huge midfielding teams coming face to face it will be a battle for the ages. The Dogs possess the likes of Dunkley, Macrae, Bontempelli and Hunter, the Giants have Coniglio, Taranto, Kelly and Whitfield and all of them will be important. Both sides are not necessarily known for their attack or defense, but both are improving their offenses, and service to their key men up forward will be driven through the midfield. If one engine room gets on top of the other than that may spell disaster one way or another.

Giants Stadium Provides an Interesting Melting Pot

Playing at Giants Stadium makes this game very interesting, in fact, it probably makes the Dogs favourite. Playing finals football at the MCG or Adelaide Oval when crowds are volatile is a next level challenge but playing at Giants Stadium with one of the league’s less notorious fan bases with a capacity of just 24,000 makes this a relatively even keel. The Bulldogs will be thankful they’re playing here rather than in Melbourne or Perth. Home ground advantage is something talked about a lot come finals, but GWS haven’t yet developed their stadium into a fortress opposition sides are scared of.

Key Players

Jeremy Cameron

The newly crowned Coleman Medallist and All-Australian Centre Half Forward will be instrumental if his side is to compete against the rampaging Bulldogs. If Cameron gets off the hook and kicks a bag his side should run away with the win, but if the Bulldog’s defenders can restrict his impact and keep him to under two goals, they stand a good chance of winning it at home. Cameron is in great form at the moment, kicking a career-best bag of nine goals against the Suns in Round 23 to claim his maiden Coleman Medal. He’ll take some stopping, and if he gets on the board early, he might just be the difference.

Marcus Bontempelli

It had to be, one of the competition’s established best, fresh off being named All-Australian, Bontempelli is averaging 27 touches and five tackles a game this season and looking very sharp. Bontempelli is not only elite in many categories, but one man who can win the game off his own bat. If he has an enormous match, he can rip a close game away from any side, and although GWS posses a stacked midfield, they will need to lock down on Bontempelli, whilst their stars have big games of their own. With Coniglio, Taranto, Kelly and Whitfield at their disposal, the Giants will need at least two of these men to have massive matches in order to win.

Prediction

In what looks to be an exciting elimination final to keep us entertained throughout Saturday afternoon, the Dogs will enter as favourites despite playing away from home. Form carries through, and the Bulldogs have that on their side right now, as well as a lot of belief. If the Giants can push this side all the way they can win, but the Dogs love a shootout. This should be a ripper.

Western Bulldogs by Eight Points.


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