The AFL (Australian Football League) Grand Final is set to be played this Saturday, Sept. 25th as the Melbourne Demons will battle the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium in Perth, Western Australia. However, the match could be moved if Perth enters a last-minute lock down due to Covid-19. This showdown between two of the top Premiership sides in the country is officially known as the most popular sporting event of the year in Australia.
This will be Melbourne’s first appearance in the Grand Final since 2000 and they’ll be missing Nathan Jones as he returned home this week to as his wife gave birth to twins and then announced he was retiring. The status of defender Steven May isn’t clear as he was injured in the preliminary final triumph over Geelong. For the Bulldogs, head coach Luke Beveridge could be without defender Alex Keath and youngster Laitham Vandermeer due to injuries.
The Grand Final winners will take home the AFL Premiership Flag and Premiership cup with each player on the winning club being awarded a gold Premiership medal. In addition, the man of the-match will be presented the Norm Smith Medal in honor of the former Melbourne coach and player.
This will be the 125th Grand Final with Melbourne winning it 12 times in the past and finishing as runners-up on five occasions. Their last appearance came in 2000 with their last victory being in 1964.
The Western Bulldogs have captured the Grand Final in two of three attempts with victories in 1954 and 2016 while finishing as runners-up in 1961. The Bulldogs were known Footscray back in 1954 and beat Melbourne by 51 points in the Grand Final.
Melbourne played 22 premiership games this season with a record of 17-4-1 for 70 points with 1888 points for and a league-low 1443 points against. The Western Bulldogs went 15-7-0 and earned 60 points while scoring 1994 points and allowing 1501 against. Melbourne reached this year’s Grand Final by thumping Geelong 125-42 while the Western Bulldogs easily handled Port Adelaide by 71 points in the Preliminary Finals.
Melbourne head coach Simon Goodwin has seen his team score plenty of goals this season but they’re also the toughest defensive squad in the league as they averaged just nine goals against per outing and were the league’s top-tackling side. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs greatest strength this campaign has been their goal-kicking and ball movement and they’re also a fine defensive team.
Melbourne beat the Western Bulldogs 87-59 away in round 11 of the league this year but were beaten 85-65 eight rounds later. This of course is their biggest game of the year as they attempt to end a premiership title drought of 57 years, which is currently the longest dry spell in the league and fourth longest in league history.
Eight of the past 12 meetings between the teams gone over the betting line points total. The Western Bulldogs have entered their last four games as underdogs and won them all with the underdog covering the line in 14 of the team’s last 19 games. In addition, five of the past six AFL Grand Finals finished under the total-match betting line.
The bet365 bookmakers list Melbourne as the favorites to win the AFL Grand Final at -154 with the Western Bulldogs at +125. The over/under is 155.5 points at -110 each while Melbourne is -7.5 points and Western Bulldogs +7.5 points at -110 each in handicap wagering.
Several other Grand Final wagers can be made with bet365 including the first goal kicker, the winner of the Norm Smith Medal, total points and most goals etc.