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Dangerfield & Mitchell bets, AFL qualifying final: Cats vs. Hawks

Friday, September 9 from 7.50pm AEST at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Ladder position:
Geelong Cats: Second
Hawthorn Hawks: Third

Season record:
Geelong Cats: 17-5
Hawthorn Hawks: 17-5

Last five match results:
Geelong Cats: WWWWW
Hawthorn Hawks: WLWLW

Head-to-head odds:
Geelong Cats: $1.67 with CrownBet.com.au
Hawthorn Hawks: $2.25 with CrownBet.com.au

Line betting:
Geelong Cats: -6.5 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Hawthorn Hawks: +6.5 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)

THIS is the one we have all been waiting for.

What a ripping qualifying final we have in store between storied and bitter rivals Hawthorn and Geelong.

The Cats and Hawks have become modern day foes, with their hatred of each other stemming back to the 1989 grand final, but forged in the late 2000s up to the present day.

These are two clubs that hate each other.

With a passion.

And that makes for a mouthwatering finals clash.

The Cats finished the season second, but will be seriously depleted down back, missing boom recruit Lachie Henderson and running machine Jake Koladjashnij.

But the Hawks have some serious issues of their own, with ruckman Jonathan Cellar gone for the season with a knee injury and his team mate Ben McEvoy in a race against time to be fit – a race that some are saying he is losing.

That means the ruck division could be led by 20-year-old Marc Pittonet and Melbourne castaway Jack Fitzpatrick.

Those two have played three games between them this season.

Not exactly A-Grade material to go against the Geelong rucks, who will have the likes of Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood at their feet.

Ben Stratton, forever holding the backline together, also faces a race against time to be fit from a pectoral muscle injury.

It looks more than likely that Sam Mitchell will cop a tag from scraggier Scott Selwood, who should come into the side with the view to getting the job done on him.

The inspirational Hawks extractor is a key to the game and, if the Cats can shut him down, that will of a long way toward winning the match.

As his years advance, Mitchell has struggled against the hard tag, especially this season. He has been shut down by both Carlton and the West Coast, but ran riot against the Cats in round one, amassing 36 disposals.

Despite that, even if he is tagged, we expect the little star to find something special in this one.

He is bred for the rough and tumble of finals football.

Just so you know, in last year’s finals series, he had 35 against West Coast, 33 against Adelaide, 35 against the Dockers and then 34 in the the rematch against the Eagles in the grand final.

Expect him to eclipse the 30 disposal mark again against the Cats, which is paying $1.67 with sportsbet.com.au.

While Mitchell is the man for the Hawks in the guts, there is a pair at Geelong who form the most devastating two man combination in the game.

Both Dangerfield and Selwood are at the peak of their powers and the Hawks would be wary of their ability to both win the hard ball and get on the outside and use it well.

We can’t go past Dangerfield in the possession market.

He had one of the great debuts for a new club of all time, racking up a stunning 43 possessions in round one against the Hawks and, given that Hawthorn coach Alistair Clarkson isn’t big on tagging opponents, we expect him to go nuts again. He is $2.88 to have 35 or more possessions and we reckon that is a massive chance. He’s only done that four times this season, but the Hawks were on the receiving end of it one of those times and we reckon he will have serious fire in the belly in his first final at Cat-land.

Player props predictions

Disposal tips – Geelong Cats:

Patrick Dangerfield to have 35 or more possessions ($2.88 with Sportsbet.com.au)

Disposal tips – Hawthorn Hawks:

Sam Mitchell to have 30 or more possessions ($1.67 with Sportsbet.com.au)

First goal scorer – Geelong Cats:

Josh Caddy ($21 with Sportsbet.com.au)

First goal scorer – Hawthorn Hawks:

Paul Puopolo ($15 with Sportsbet.com.au)

Match predictions

Match result: Hawthorn to win ($2.25 with CrownBet.com.au)

Line betting: Hawthorn +6.5 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)

Bonus winning margin: Hawthorn to win by 1 point ($56 with Sportsbet.com.au)

Hawthorn to win by 1-9 points ($8 with Sportsbet.com.au)

Either team to win by under 15.5 points ($2.50 with Sportsbet.com.au)

The Cats got the better of the Hawks in round one on the MCG and it would surprise no one if they managed to repeat the dose in the first final, consigning the Hawks to a tilt against either West Coast or the Western Bulldogs in week two. But plenty of people have written the brown and gold off before – and come unstuck doing it. This is Hawthorn, in September, at the home of football. There is no side with more finals experience than this team – and they have not lost on this ground in a final since the grand final defeat to Sydney – way back in 2012. Everyone is barracking for the Cats, but this Hawks dynasty still has some life left in it yet and we’re backing them in to book a preliminary final stoush and a week off with a win over the Cats – by one point.

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