In what was a unique set of Preliminary Final matchups, the Giants and the Blues – who had come from the clouds to even be there – both went agonisingly close to making an unexpected appearance in the Grand Final, the Giants going down by just a point and the Blues losing after opening up a five-goal lead early. The result is that the two best teams in the league will play off for Premiership glory this Saturday under what is expected to be a blistering Melbournian sun, and while the Giants and Blues’ stories were enthralling, this is probably the best quality matchup we could have hoped for. Let’s take an in-depth look at what to expect on the big day as the two teams which competed in back to back Grand Finals 20 years ago go at it again.
AFL 2023 Grand Final – Betting tips & Predictions
Collingwood Magpies vs Brisbane Lions
After all of the storylines that swept up the AFL world throughout the finals – of the straight sets exits of the Demons and the Power, the remarkable turnarounds of the Giants and the Blues – it’s the two teams that finished the season in the top two and subsequently earned themselves home Qualifying Finals that have made it through to the big dance. For weeks the Magpies and Lions have looked like the best two chances to make the Grand Final – the Magpies as a product of being the best team all season, and the Lions having locked up a home Qualifying Final and subsequently a home Preliminary Final having not lost at the Gabba all season long. And though neither of them made it here without a hiccup, make it here they did, and on Saturday will have the opportunity to etch themselves into the annals of AFL history.
The Magpies, over the past two years, have demonstrated a remarkable ability to win close games. Last year, that tendency was turned on its head in the finals when they lost two games by under a kick to be eliminated in the prelim, but this year they were able to replicate it when it matters most. In the Qualifying Final they saw off a rampaging Demons team late to win by seven points, while it went as close as it can get in the Preliminary Final. The hugely impressive Giants could very easily have snatched victory last Friday night, but when the final siren sounded the Magpies had a one-point lead, marking their eighth game of the season which has been decided by a single-figure margin – they’ve won seven of them.
The Lions have been a little more clinical in their route to the Grand Final, though that certainly didn’t look like being the case at quarter time of their Preliminary Final against the Blues. Having knocked off Port Adelaide with relative ease in the Qualifying Final to continue their unbeaten run at home and set up the prelim against Carlton, the Lions had it all in front of them but faltered early, conceding the first five goals against perhaps the most in-form team in the competition. At that early stage it looked like being yet another failed opportunity for the Lions, but they turned that game on its head from quarter time onwards, dominating their opposition and looking like the inevitable winner even as they remained in arrears on the scoreboard. Eventually they jumped out to a comfortable lead in the last, and though Carlton fought back with a couple of late goals the Lions never looked too troubled in that final quarter.
On a neutral venue this would probably be virtually a 50/50 game, but the Magpies, of course, have the luxury of playing the Grand Final on their home ground, where the Lions, incidentally, have a woeful record for an extended period of time. They’ve won just one of their last 15 games harking back to 2015 at the home of football, while going back even further they’ve won three of 27 since 2009. That doesn’t bode particularly well, but as they’ll tell you, this incarnation of the Brisbane Lions has little to do with the side that lost to – as it were – Collingwood back in Round 18, 2009. There’s no denying that they’ve been poor there as recently as this year, with a disappointing loss to the Hawks in their first of two 2023 games there to date, but in the second they lost by just a point to the Demons in a game that they led relatively comfortably, only to be overcome late. Perhaps that points to a psychological issue they have playing there, but equally it demonstrates that they’re more than able to play good footy in Melbourne. As Dayne Zorko said, they’re not playing the MCG, they’re playing the Magpies.
And what a game it looks like being. Both of these teams play an exciting and typically high scoring game style, even if that wasn’t the case last week, and on what looms as a hot, sunny day in Melbourne, expect a contested game which will open up in the second half as the players tire. The heat should, if anything, make the Lions feel more at home. There’s no doubt that their record at the MCG is a concern, but there is a steely resolve about this version of the team. For the first time since the last of their three consecutive Premierships back in 2003 – of which Collingwood coach Craig McRae was a part – they can bring a flag home with them to Brisbane.
|Lions to win||$2.10|
|Norm Smith Medal Winner – Josh Dunkley||$11.00|
Collingwood Magpies: B: N Murphy, D Moore, I Quaynor HB: B Maynard, S Pendlebury, J Howe C: S Sidebottom, J De Goey, J Daicos
HF: B Hill, B Mihocek, P Lipinski F: J Elliott, M. Cox, W Hoskin-Elliott FOLL: D Cameron, N Daicos, J Crisp I/C: T Mitchell, J Ginnivan, B McCreery, O Markov
Brisbane Lions: B: B Starcevich, H Andrews, J Payne HB: C McKenna, R Lester, K Coleman C: H McCluggage, J Dunkley, D Zorko HF: C Cameron, E Hipwood, Z Bailey F: C Rayner, J Daniher, C Ah Chee FOLL: O McInerney, L Neale, J Berry I/C: D Robertson, L McCarthy, J Fletcher, D Wilmot
- Combine 3 tips and mention their odds (all from PlayUp)
- Mention the accumulated payout (For example: Bet $100 for $1255 with PlayUp)
- You can use tips you mentioned in the text or use others. Either way is fine
Multi of the Week
|Over 41.5 Points||$1.90|
|First Try Scorer – Reynolds||$8.75|
|Bet $100 for $1354 with PlayUp|
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