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AFLW Preliminary Finals tips and predictions


It is all on the line this weekend, with the AFLW Grand Final match-up to be determined.

Adding to the stakes is the fact that the game will be played in a standalone slot either at the Adelaide Oval, Gabba or MCG.

Adelaide will host Melbourne while Collingwood travels to take on Brisbane, both games on Saturday afternoon.

The Lions and Crows earned byes in the first week of the finals series, having finished in the top two spots on the ladder.

Collingwood won their way through to the Preliminary Finals, defeating North Melbourne in a thriller at Victoria Park last weekend.

Melbourne meanwhile held off a fast-finishing Fremantle at Casey Fields.

Adelaide versus Melbourne (Adelaide Oval)

The Demons have been close most years, but have never reached the last dance. This year could be their best opportunity.

These two teams were arguably the most in-form sides at the end of the home-and-away season.

Including last weekend, Melbourne has won five games in a row, beating Fremantle twice, Brisbane, St Kilda and – importantly – Adelaide.

The Demons are white-hot and were too strong for the Dockers in the first week of finals, holding them goalless for a half and dominating with the wind in the final term.

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Adelaide meanwhile outplayed Collingwood in Round 9 to earn the minor premiership and crushed the Western Bulldogs, St Kilda and Gold Coast in the final stretch.

Objectively, Melbourne has had a tougher road to finals and their wins are more impressive on paper.

Particularly when you consider they defeated Adelaide in Round 7 at Casey Fields, holding them to just two goals for the game.

Erin Phillips, Ebony Marinoff and Anne Hatchard have been a dominant midfield trio all season, but were beaten by Melbourne’s on-ball unit who controlled the territory game all night.

Of course, this game is being held at the Adelaide Oval and not Casey Fields, which is a very different playing field.

The Crows return to the site of their 2019 Grand Final victory, but the Demons will be equally suited to the cleaner stadium conditions.

This Adelaide incarnation, while strong, is not the unstoppable juggernaut that last stepped on the Adelaide Oval and the Dees won’t be daunted by the challenge.

Tip: Melbourne by 6 points.

Brisbane versus Collingwood (Gabba)

Brisbane will host Collingwood at the Gabba with a spot in the Grand Final on the line.

It’s only the second time the Lions have played at the Gabba, meaning the home-ground advantage factor is significantly lessened.

The Magpies earned their way through to this encounter with a come-from-behind win over North Melbourne last weekend.

Their strengths were on full display in that final quarter, with Brianna Davey and Jaimee Lambert taking over in the middle, Ash Brazill back to her intercept marking best and Chloe Molloy the x-factor inside 50.

Brisbane took the chocolates when these sides met in Round 7. It was an impressive win considering the game was relocated from Queensland to Melbourne at the last second.

The Lions dominated the first three quarters before Collingwood fought back into the game and probably should have overrun them.

Cathy Svarc put an effective tag on Davey, keeping her to her quietest performance of the season.

It was a classic Brisbane performance, with an even performance across the board, while the Magpies’ main ball-winners all influenced the game.

Collingwood has more experience playing on the wider expanses and cleaner conditions that come with playing in stadiums and we saw them pick North Melbourne apart at Marvel Stadium earlier in the year.

Couple that with the Gabba essentially being new territory for Brisbane and it is certainly a hard game to get a read on.

Collingwood’s x-factor forward of centre and the return of Ash Brazill might just be the difference.

Both teams were eliminated from finals in the first week last year and both have made it one step further this year.

Tip: Collingwood by 5 points.

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