Former Fremantle midfielder Michael Barlow is tipping Melbourne to beat the Western Bulldogs “quite comfortably” in Saturday’s Grand Final.
The Demons qualified for their first Grand Final in 21 years and are aiming to break a 57-year premiership drought when they take on the Bulldogs at Perth’s Optus Stadium.
Melbourne easily beat Brisbane and Geelong to make the Grand Final, while the Dogs are full of momentum having won three straight finals over Essendon, the Lions and Port Adelaide in three different states.
Barlow thinks Melbourne’s “formidable” defence can restrict the Bulldogs to a low score.
“I see Melbourne winning,” the ex-Docker and Sun told SEN.
“I think Melbourne win quite comfortably, in terms of what they’ve got in their back half and how they set up behind the ball compared to what the Dogs have got.
“The Dogs are fairly unpredictable in the front half, they’ve had seven goals over two games from Bailey Smith. They need to find a score. They need to find an avenue to goal.
“Josh Schache has been lauded to come in and play the role on (Jake) Lever, I’m just a little bit concerned that that’s a negative approach to an opposition you need to score against.
“You’re going to need to score 80 to 90 points to win the Grand Final. (Cody) Weightman got loose in the first final, can he do it again?
“They (Bulldogs) need someone to stand up and kick a big amount (of goals). Josh Bruce is out, and a lot of responsibility falls on Aaron Naughton’s shoulders.
“It’s a very formidable back six for Melbourne.
“At the source is going to be incredibly important and both teams have got electric and tough midfields.
“I think Melbourne can hang in there in that midfield battle, break even in the contest, but then I feel like they set up a lot better behind the ball.
“They (Melbourne) are an irresistible side at the moment.”
Barlow also predicted Melbourne star Clayton Oliver to win the Norm Smith Medal.