AFLW Finals: And then there were four

The 2019 AFLW finals series looms as a David v Goliath double-header as the heavily fancied Conference A sides in Adelaide and Fremantle look to stave off a shock upset against the Cats and Blues from the weaker pool.

I don’t see anything other than a Crows v Dockers Grand Final but that is the great thing about finals – anything can happen!

Carlton FC v Fremantle Dockers

When, where and weather: 2:45pm (AEDT) Saturday March 23 @ Ikon Park, Melbourne.

There is a slight chance of rain and a possible thunderstorm forecast for Melbourne, so check forecasts closer to bounce because any rain at all will turn this game into a contested scrap.

Match Comment 

The Blues will be absolutely praying it doesn’t rain because if it does, their only real weapons against the Dockers - winning it off half back, and their ability to take marks inside forward 50 - go completely out the window, and they instead have to rely on their midfielders to get to work at the clearances.

In this area, the Kiara Bowers-led Fremantle midfield will smash them. They may regardless, but at least if it is dry, Carlton can hope for fast, accurate ball movement to give their forwards a chance. Fremantle's defence is their weakest area of the ground, so the Dockers will be hoping to dominate the clearances, scrap and hack forward, then score from repeat inside 50’s.

Who wins and why? 

Fremantle are a vastly better, bigger, stronger, faster and more skillful side than Carlton. and while the Blues have perhaps been better than I gave them credit for throughout the season, if both sides play their best footy Fremantle will win by 20+. 

Footy gods, help the Carlton defence if Gemma Houghton starts kicking straight!

View Free Match Prediction: Blues v Dockers

Adelaide Crows v Geelong FC

When, where and weather: 1:10pm (AEDT) Sunday March 24 @ Adelaide Oval, Adelaide.

Fine and sunny, great conditions for footy.

Match Comment 

Unreal to see that the game is being played at the Adelaide Oval, where the girls will be able to get the most out of their skills on a proper stadium surface.

Unfortunately for Geelong, this makes the task of beating Adelaide vastly more difficult than it already was. The wind won’t play as much a part as it so often does in the AFLW, and the large, perfectly-manicured ground means less tackles, more room to lead, and more emphasis on kicking and marking.

The Cats have one chance and one chance only – every single player on the team has to play their absolute best game ever played, and THEN they need to kick accurately. Meg McDonald, Madi McMahon, Olivia Purcell, Rocky Cranston, Mel Hickey and Renee Garing in particular all have to have absolute blinders. If they do that, they are a chance.

Otherwise it will be Adelaide by 50+.

Who wins and why? 

I wish I had more confidence that this game would stay close, but the Cats only just limped into the AFLW Finals from Pool B with just 3 wins, and not three weeks ago the Crows belted them by almost 50 points. 

That’s just the nature of the talent discrepancy in the conference system this season. 

It could get ugly here for Geelong. Crows by 50+

View Free Match Predictions: Crows v Cats

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Dan Fraser

Former ABC Journo and Champion Data stats nerd who loves his fantasy sport, punting, footy, cricket, golf - you get the point. More than prepared to take driver off the deck from 250 out (especially if it's for a beverage or two!) but will also happily take my medicine when the occasion calls for it. Pumped to be part of the Stats Insider team - if it's value and it's footy, I'm all over it in 2019 folks!

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