With the finals about to begin, here’s a team-by-team look at why each side can and can’t win the flag.
Why they can: having the highest-scoring team in the league with many options up forward, such as Eddie Betts, Taylor Walker, Josh Jenkins and Mitch McGovern, will keep opposition sides wary of this mobile attacking unit. Playing at home twice also helps.
Why they can’t: Slow starts. The Crows have been jumped on early by opposition sides on a few occasions this year.
— FOX FOOTY LIVE (@FOXFootyLive) September 6, 2017
Why they can: Patrick Dangerfield. The great man can do anything and can single-handedly drag his side home in the tight contests, ahead of skipper Joel Selwood.
Why they can’t: Geelong simply have too many players go missing when the going gets tough and leave it up to too few to drag them over the line.
— Ten News Melbourne (@tennewsmelb) September 6, 2017
Why they can: The Tigers have an 8-2 record at the MCG this season. Add in the double chance and the form that Dustin Martin has been in, and the Tigers finally have someone who can take the game by the scruff of the neck.
Why they can’t: The lack of a true key-forward that can crash a pack if needed. Also the fact that half of the current side experienced the mental blows of losing elimination finals in 2013-2015.
— RSN927am (@RSN927) August 28, 2017
Greater Western Sydney
Why they can: The Giants are yet to hit full stride after slowly welcoming back important cogs. The fact that they finished inside the top four without having a fully fit side once this season indicates how deep the list runs.
Why they can’t: Midfield pressure disappearing at crucial times. GWS have let the foot off the pedal on a couple of occasions this season and have been burnt by quality sides.
— GWS GIANTS (@GWSGIANTS) September 6, 2017
Why they can: Having the best ruckman in the game in Paddy Ryder gives Port a unique advantage over everyone else. Add in power forward Charlie Dixon and the consistency he has added to his game this year and the Power have a duo that can break open a match.
Why they can’t: The Power’s record against the other finalists doesn’t sit pretty at 2-7.
— Collingwood FC (@CollingwoodFC) September 5, 2017
Why they can: The Swans are the form team in the competition after only losing to Hawthorn since the beginning of round seven. Add in Lance Franklin finding form at the perfect time and the Swans have every reason to believe they can go one better.
Why they can’t: Have they peaked too early? It might seem crazy given the form they have been in, but another four games on top of what they have given this season could be too much to ask for.
Saturday afternoon’s elimination final is officially a sell out with no further tickets remaining.
— Sydney Swans (@sydneyswans) September 6, 2017
Why they can: The forward line of Joe Daniher, Cale Hooker, Orazio Fantasia and Anthony-Mcdonald Tipungwuti will give Essendon every opportunity to find different avenues to goal when going forward.
Why they can’t: Clearance work. The Bombers are ranked last in clearances this season, and in September getting first hands on the ball is key in grinding contests.
— Essendon FC (@EssendonFC) September 6, 2017
Why they can: The return of Nic Natanui will transform how the Eagles can play in the middle, and the emotion of Matthew Priddis, Sam Butler, Drew Petrie and Sam Mitchell retiring means the Eagles have plenty to play for to send off some greats.
Why they can’t: Quite simply, the Eagles are too easy to score against when sides make a quick break over them. They push numbers forward too much which leaves them vulnerable. An away record of 3-7 also doesn’t bode well when their entire finals campaign will be on the road.
To prepare for Paddy Ryder, Nathan Vardy has practiced rucking against Nic Naitanui…
— West Coast Eagles (@WestCoastEagles) September 6, 2017