AFL Preview – GRAND FINAL – 2013

AFL Preview – GRAND FINAL – 2013

AFL Preview – GRAND FINAL – 2013
AFL Betting Results – Year To Date
2013 Bets Winners % Units Bet Units Return Profit / Loss ROI %
YTD 162 88 54.5% 164 182.67 18.67 11.39%

Check out TAB’s updated AFL Finals betting page here



This Grand Final is a fascinating match up of the two best coaches in the AFL. The Two Coaches who have built systems that are radically different, but linked to each other.

After the Hawks success in 2008 with Clarksons Cluster or the ‘Rolling Zone’ that they employed, the strategy collapsed in 2009 when the Hawks missed the finals and were exposed by teams that used run and carry with long kicking to break lines. At this point St Kilda under Ross Lyon was using with great success a variation of the defensive schemes he used as an assistant coach under Paul Roos as Sydney in the mid 2000. He shut down space and forced turnovers which resulted in quick transitions to the forward line where Reiwoldt, Koschitzke, Milne and Schnieder kicked over 200 goals between them in 2009. Collingwood was using their forward press with great success as well and Sydney was having continued success under the defensive system of Roos.

St Kilda won 20 of 22 games in the 2009 home and away season (including 19 straight) before famously losing the Grand Final despite leading for the whole game until the 24 minute mark of the final quarter. If not for the infamous Matthew Scarlett ‘toe poke’ the Saints may have prevailed over Geelong. In the 2010 season the defensive Strategies of Collingwood (won 17 games) and St Kilda (won 15 games) were dominant and led them to play off in the Grand final – a low scoring draw before the Pies prevailed in the replay.

Clarkson was rebuilding his team at this time and after losing 6 of the first 7 games in 2010 moved towards a game plan that would hopefully bring success against the defensive pressure brought by the likes of St Kilda, Collingwood and Sydney.

By 2011 the season Clarkson had a game plan of using a high number of uncontested possessions to move the ball with precise disposals, using runners in open space and moving the ball quickly to an open forward line that contained the likes of Lance Franklin and Jarred Roughead. Repeat inside 50s means repeated shots on goal. On large grounds like the MCG and Aurora stadium the open spaces brought much success. Issues with a back line that struggled to contain big forwards existed, and the game plan has continued to be refined (it is less reliant on uncontested possessions now) however this was the makings of the offensive juggernaut that they Hawks have become.. They have a 59-15 record in the 2011/12/13 seasons with losses to just 6 teams – of course 7 losses to Geelong and 2 each to the Pies, Swans and Tigers. Geelong have the 2nd best record through the same period at 56-17.

Despite the 2012 Grand Final loss to Sydney, Clarkson has Built a great record against defensive schemes. He is 6-2 against Longmire & 5-3-1 against Lyon including 4-1-1 the last 6. The Media is raving about the Dockers like it is something they have never seen before. This is absolute nonsense. The 2009 Saints allowed less points per game and scored more points per game than the 2013 Dockers. The 2009 Saints absolutely destroyed teams with their defensive pressure, squeezing the life out of them and kicked bigger scores than the current Freo team. In successive weeks in R16 and 17 2009 they dismantled the Bulldogs (3rd on ladder) and Adelaide (5th on ladder although = 3rd on percentage) by 57 and 45 points. That is not to say this Freo team is not their equal, they have developed into Lyons plan rapidly and as the season has progressed and players returned from injury they have looked plain scary.

The 2009 Saints were good, But Geelongs run and carry ultimately won them the prize that year. The Saints were unable to maintain there pressure for 4 quarters, scoring just 3 behinds in the final term as Geelong ran over the top. The 2013 Dockers are good, however they have been exposed this year by Richmond at the MCG, the Hawks at Aurora and almost lost to the Tigers at Subiaco. Their win over Geelong in the final was not all that surprising, the skinny venue suited Freos game plan far more than the Cats – the Cats traditionally make use of that directing play through the corridor ad transitioning with devastating effect. However against Lyon this became a gauntlet they had to run with no space and when they went forward, it kept coming straight back out. In Round 8 this year Freo drew with Sydney at the SCG, The Dockers smashed the Swans in inside 50s (61 to 47) and had 10 more shots on goal, however a wasteful 9.16 to an extremely efficient 11.4 meant the Swans escaped with a draw. In the return bout last week, Lyon made sure that the Swans, who rely on winning the ball in their back half then rebounding with hard link running and long kicking to move the ball fast into their forward line, were restricted in their options when they won the ball in defence. On the long Subiaco ground, they had no hope. Late in the game the Dockers faded, they took their foot off the pedal after maintaining an enormous intensity all game and the swans kicked 6 last quarter goals to make the score line a little more respectable.

Did they stop due to fatigue or just let up? Against Essendon in R3 the Dockers were run over after leading by a big margin early – The Dons kicked 9 second half goals to 2. In Round 4 the Hawks kicked 5 of the last 7 goals to run out 42 point winners. In Round 4 Richmond kicked ahead with 3 goals in a row in the last quarter before a late Hayden Ballantyne goal won the game for Freo.
Their loss to Geelong saw an enormous 6.12 to 3.0 2nd half for the Cats. They have performed well in last quarters all year, but take on a team that is the best in the AFL at the end of games will be a challenge. The Hawks are 19-5 in 4th Quarters. Scoring 112.75 – 757 points for and allowing 76.47 – 503 points against, with a 4th quarter percentage of 150.5% – it is #1 in the AFL in both scoring and percentage. However Freo are 14-10 in 4th Quarters with 93.59 – 635 points for and allowing 63.66 – 444 points against for a 4th quarter percentage of 139%. their 4th quarter D is #1 in the league, however it is #1 in every quarter except the 3rd (Geelong #1) where they rank #2 in scores against.

Maybe it is nothing, but maintaining pressure at this level for 4 quarters is very very tough. The Swans had assistance in the 2012 Grand Final from the wind in last quarter and wasteful Hawthorn kicking earlier in the game.

The early season meeting between these teams doesn’t provide any great insight. No Sandilands, Pavlich or McPharlin for Freo. Best Defender, forward and the leagues dominant Ruckman. The Hawks will need to play Bailey in a negating role on Sandilands (like he did on Mumford in the Qualifying final) and Cyril, Roughead and Franklin will need to have bigger contribution than they did last week.

This is Clarkson’s precision kicking, quick moving, repeated forward entry system that generates high scores against Lyons defensive set up that cuts off ball direct ball movement, creates massive pressure and causes skill errors and turnovers. Both teams are elite at what they do. The MCG looms large here, it will enable the Hawks to execute their plan better than the Dockers, the number of avenues to goal should be what results in a Hawks win. However I think the line and total are about right. The Hawks by a goal or two as they finish stronger.

I cant recommend a bet here, however for anyone looking to have a bet, I gave strong consideration to the following, I thought there was value in:

15.5 Point Tribet (either team under 15.5 points or draw) – $2.60 Tab
24.5 Point Tribet (either team under 24.5 points or draw) – $1.67 Sportingbet
Hawthorn -2.5 4th Quarter line $1.95 Sportsbet

The 1-39 Margin bets for either side are not a bad option for those who are definitive on a side.

For the Norm Smith I would fancy: Burgoyne for the Hawks and Barlow for Freo.

TIP: Hawks to win it late.

BETTING ADVICE: No Bet advised.


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