Preliminary Final weekend in the AFLW could hardly have been more thrilling, with just five combined points separating the winners from the losers across the two games. Following their four-point win over the Cats, the Lions will this weekend have the chance to win their second AFLW Grand Final in three years, while for the Roos – who were one-point victors over the Crows – an inaugural AFLW Premiership is on the line. Let’s jump in and take a look at how what looms as a tight Grand Final might play out.
AFLW 2023 Grand Final – Betting tips & Predictions
North Melbourne Kangaroos vs Brisbane Lions
Despite not being able to secure a home Qualifying Final, both of these teams were able to win on the road (albeit North Melbourne against another Melbourne based team) in the first week of the finals, and as it so often does, that proved to be pretty useful in their quests to make the Grand Final. Both hosting interstate teams in the Preliminary Finals after a week off, the Roos and the Lions were each able to sneak over the line in games which could have very easily gone either way; the Lions subsequently making their third consecutive Grand Final and fifth in total, and the Roos making their first.
For North Melbourne, the spot in the big dance is well deserved after a terrific home and away season which they ended with the highest percentage in the league – a whopping 224.4%. Despite a couple of losses on the eve of the finals, they subsequently went on to show just how good they can be with a scintillating performance in the Qualifying Final in which they beat the Demons 50-9. Last weekend wasn’t quite so easy. In a see-sawing affair, they led the Crows by a single figure margin at every change, but an Anne Hatchard goal late in the third quarter got the visitors to within a point and put the Roos’ spot in the Grand Final in jeopardy. The home side, however, was able to dig deep and hold on for a 32-31 win, a just result given their dominance in so many key statistics.
The Lions, meanwhile, again highlighted their ability to get the job done in close finishes, securing their third victory in their last five games by less than a goal and their second of two in the finals. After beating the Crows by just two points in the Qualifying Final (only a couple of weeks after beating them by three in Round 9), they jumped out to a two-goal lead at quarter time against the Cats, but that margin was cut to four points by three-quarter time. A tense final quarter would yield just two scoring shots; the first was a goal to the Cats which gave them a two-point lead, but six minutes later the Lions responded with a goal through Shannon Campbell which put them ahead 38-34, and they clung on for dear life for the remaining ten minutes or so. The professionalism of this outfit is as good as any team in the league; not surprising given they’ve now made the outright most Grand Finals in AFLW history with five.
Unfortunately for them, only one of those has resulted in victory, and after their male counterparts went down in heartbreaking fashion a couple of months ago in the Grand Final against the Magpies, they’ll be desperate to reverse that trend. Based on their recent results, particularly against top teams, they will at the very least go mighty close, but they’ll have their work cut out against a very good team. The Kangaroos’ performance against the Demons just a couple of weeks ago was as imposing a win as any team has mustered up all season, and they backed it up by knocking off the reigning Premiers and the team that finished on top of the ladder this year. What’s more, the Lions will be on the road, with the Roos having the benefit of playing in their home city at Ikon Park. The Kangaroos have also been a better side than Brisbane throughout the course of the season; though they both finished with a 7-3 record and have since won both of their finals, the Roos’ percentage of 224.4% well exceeded the Lions’ at 149%.
But there is a flip side of the coin, as there always is. While the Lions looked good but not great in the first half or so of the season, they’ve been playing as well as anyone in the league for a long time now, and importantly have been consistently getting the job done against the best teams in the league. In Round 8, they knocked off the Crows by three points, before beating the Demons by 25 points two weeks later. The next week they of course beat the Crows again, making it three wins against the top two sides in the league in four weeks. That is some serious form, and adding in a victory against a Cats team which had won four games in a row – three comfortably and the fourth against the Demons – you could easily argue that the Lions have been the best team in the league over the last month or so.
It's difficult to see either of these teams winning this game easily, and a strong case can be made for each of them to get the chocolates. But while that of the Kangaroos is a compelling one, the Lions have been here plenty of times before, and enter the game having played against an elite opponent for virtually five weeks straight – and winning nearly all of them. Add to the fact that they enter the game as slight underdogs, and the Lions look like the value pick to take out what would be their second AFLW Premiership in a thrilling Grand Final at Ikon Park.
|Lions to win
North Melbourne Kangaroos: B: E. Shannon 11 J. Ferguson 20 HB: E. Kearney - C 9 S. Wright 17 E. O’Shea 14 C: A. Smith 15 M. King 23 T. Gatt 8 HF: B. Eddey 3 K. Shierlaw 33 A. O’Loughlin 6 F: T. Randall 16 E. King 60 FOLL: K. Rennie 26 J. Garner 25 A. Riddell 7 I/C: T. Craven 5 N. Bresnehan 12 J. Bruton 35 N. Martin 28 L. Pullar 24
Brisbane Lions: B: P. Boltz 15 S. Campbell 20 HB: B. Koenen - C 3 N. Grider 10 P. Monahan 11 C: O. O’Dwyer 9 I. Dawes 17 J. Ellenger 5 HF: L. Postlethwaite 6 D. Davidson 14 S. Conway 12 F: T. Smith 31 C. Hodder 21 FOLL: T. Hickie 2 C. Svarc 25 A. Anderson 18 I/C: C. Mullins 28 E. Hampson 7 R. Svarc 29 J. Dunne 8 M. Pauga 27
- The Lions have won their last three games against top four opponents
- Just one AFLW Grand Final in history has gone over the points total of 72.5 set for this match, with last year’s yielding just 34 points and the one before that just 45.
- Ash Riddell has been a prolific ball winner all season, picking up 30 or more touches in 8 of 12 games.
Multi of the Week
|Lions to win
|Under 72.5 Total Match Points
|Ash Riddell to have 30+ touches
|Bet $10 for $70.00 with PlayUp (Note: Same Game Multi, hence total odds don’t exactly add up to individual odds multiplied)
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