Just four rounds remain until the 2023 AFL finals series and the contenders are starting to put their hands up.
From the finely-tuned Magpie machine to the stuttering Power unit, we look at the teams that can still win this year’s silverware.
Fit, firing and on top of the ladder, the Magpie Army is up and about for a reason.
Despite their surprise loss to Carlton over the weekend (who believes in well-timed losses?), Collingwood is still the short-priced favourite to take out this year’s AFL Grand Final after winning 16 of their 19 home and away games.
With games against Hawthorn, Geelong, Brisbane (in Melbourne) and Essendon to come, it’s hard to see the Pies giving up the top spot on the run home, ensuring a double chance and the home ground advantage in the money month of the season.
Nick Daicos is $1.72 to take home his first Charlie, their midfield of Daicos x2, De Goey, Mitchell, Pendlebury, Crisp, and Adams is A-Grade, and Darcy Moore leads an all-star cast in defense. While their forward line has been deemed their one and only potential weakness, they still rank fourth for points scored behind.
After finishing fourth in 2022, Craig McRae has this Pies unit healthy and operating on another level as they attempt to win their first piece of silverware since 2010.
Bet Now: Collingwood
Who else was getting nervous about the Dees? You know, when Clayton Oliver was injured, Brodie Grundy was struggling to work with Max Gawn, and they couldn’t kick more than six or seven goals in a game?
Well, that all seems to be a thing of the past – except for Oliver, who is still recovering from a hamstring strain – after Simon Goodwin’s men pieced together four consecutive wins and just about solidified their spot in the top four.
The 2021 premiers have worked out the kinks. Christian Petracca is helping to put more pressure on the scoreboard and opposition defenders with time in the forward half, Max Gawn is back to his best as a one-out ruckman, and Oliver is on track to return. Anytime now.
The Dees are one of the scariest teams when they’re up and going, with elite talent that can rip a game apart as quickly as you can say, ‘Gawn’s grabbed it out of the ruck, again’.
Bet Now: Melbourne
There’s no doubt that questions are being asked of Port Adelaide after three straight losses, but the fact remains they are sitting in second spot on the ladder and a game clear of both Brisbane and Melbourne.
It’s been a long three weeks since securing their 13th straight victory against the Suns in Round 17, with losses to Carlton, Collingwood, and Adelaide.
However, at $7 in the market, it’s hard to look past the tremendous value they present.
Led by Zak Butters, Connor Rozee and Dan Houston, the Power took down Melbourne, St Kilda, the Western Bulldogs, Geelong, Richmond, and Essendon during their 13-game run, proving they have the quality to dispose of top-eight rivals.
If their forwards can improve their efficiency inside 50, the sky is the limit for Ken Hinkley and his chargers. And it might just get the coach the contract extension we’re all waiting for.
Bet Now: Port Adelaide
Greater Western Sydney
I know what you’re thinking, but what about Carlton? Come and talk to me when they’ve notched seven in a row.
The Giants are absolutely flying and have serious claims as the form side of the competition, having worked their way into the sixth spot on the ladder with victories against the Dees, Crows, and the Western Bulldogs.
Their recent Round 20 performance against the Dogs pricked the ears of AFL pundits across the country, coming from 35 points down in the third quarter and overrunning the Dogs by five.
Toby Greene continued his incredible season with five majors in the second half, while Sam Taylor is on track for his second All-Australia jacket.
It took the players a while to come to terms with Adam Kingsley’s quicker and more chaotic game plan, but it’s safe to say they’re finally on the same page. Anything is possible with this group.
Bet Now: GWS
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