Magpies and Cats ready for war on the hallowed turf
It’s going to be a ferocious war zone on the MCG’s hallowed turf this Friday night.
The Magpies are fired up to punch nails in the Cats’ coffin in their preliminary final blockbuster.
But the Magpies must achieve three targets – beating midfielders Gary Ablett, Jimmy Bartel and co. in the central war zone, shaking off their goal-kicking yips to win on the scoreboard and destroying the demons that have haunted them for decades, the Colliwobbles.
If Dane Swan runs rampant through the middle – and converts on the run to boost the Magpies’ goal-kicking power – I reckon the Pies will win a Grand Final berth.
But the Cats are a classy team, and fight like crazy when the chips are down.
Will the Pies smother Ablett, Bartel and Paul Chapman? If they can stop the Cats’ run, the Magpies will qualify for a Grand Final berth.
I am favouring the Magpies to beat Geelong, based on their finals’ form and the overall fitness of their players. The Pies also have benefitted a week’s rest and will be chomping at the bit to prove themselves.
The Cats were ruthless against the Dockers in the semi-final on Friday night. But can the Cats maintain this level of tenacity against the Pies? Fans can expect a classic contest.
In the second preliminary final, St Kilda is widely tipped to eliminate the Western Bulldogs this Saturday night at the ‘G.
The Bulldogs have played two, energy-sapping finals and will be feeling their weary legs. With a sorry injury list, I feel the Dogs won’t have the leg power – or player quality – to knock off the Saints.
The Doggies dug deep in their semi-final clash against Sydney to score a five-point, heart-stopping win on Saturday night. But I think the Saints’ fresh legs will run the Dogs ragged in their preliminary final.
The only way the Doggies will beat the Saints is if they play high on emotion and out-muscle them.
The preliminary final is likely to be Dogs skipper Brad Johnson’s send-off, so the Bulldogs will be ferocious in their quest for a grand final berth. But can their key position players – and gritty forward Barry Hall - perform well enough to seriously challenge the Saints?
Nick Riewoldt’s form will be crucial in the Saints’ remaining finals. If Riewoldt boots a few goals, shows courage and leads by example, the Saints should threaten their opponents.
I’m tipping a Magpies-Saints Grand Final, as these teams are loaded with proud warriors who want a taste of the major prize.
There is an expectation at Collingwood that winning a flag is a must for coach Mick Malthouse. It’s been a long-time coming – the Pies have been close so many times – and it’s something that Malthouse and his army are hungry to win.
Malthouse’s coaching has never been better and this must be a crucial factor in their performance for the rest of the Pies’ finals campaign.
Will they finally bury the Colliwobbles?
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