Thursday, September 8, 2016, 8.10pm AEST, Domain Stadium, Perth
West Coast Eagles: Sixth
Western Bulldogs: Seventh
West Coast Eagles: 16-6
Western Bulldogs: 15-7
Last five match results:
West Coast Eagles: LWWWW
Western Bulldogs: LWWWL
West Coast Eagles: ($1.21 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Essendon Bombers: ($4.50 with Sportsbet.com.au)
West Coast Eagles: -27.5 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Essendon Bombers: +27.5 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)
A battle of the westerners kicks off this year’s finals series on Thursday night as the Eagles host the Bulldogs in Perth.
The West Coast Eagles head into the match as the $1.21 favourite at WilliamHill.com.au on the back of a terrific final month of football which saw them register four consecutive wins against Fremantle, Hawthorn, GWS and Adelaide.
Eagles’ coach Adam Simpson believes the winning run his men have gone on has given the group tremendous confidence heading into Thursday night, but he was also wary of the dangers of looking too far ahead.
“To get the wins in the past month interstate against top four sides gives us belief that we are on the right path,” Simpson said.
“I think we have hit the right form at the right time of the year.
“But for us to assume we start thinking about Grand Finals now is wrong.”
The Western Bulldogs have given their medical staff plenty to worry about this season.
The Dogs have six of their starting 22 unavailable due to injury, but may be able to welcome back All-Australian duo Easton Wood and Tom Liberatore.
Prolific on-baller Jack Macare is also putting his hand up to play.
If Wood is unable to make the final side, young gun Marcus Bontempelli will most likely be the captain in the do-or-die clash.
The 20-year-old became the youngest captain ever in VFL/AFL history in 2016 when he stepped in for injured pair Robert Murphy and Easton Wood, and the 2016 All-Australian said the title would not be an extra burden on Thursday night.
“I’m not too sure (if I’ll be captain), hopefully Woody gets up, he’s trained throughout the week and looking likely so, I take that as it comes,”
The match looks like it is the Eagles to lose; so rather than focusing on a match that looms as a formality we took a look at the player exotic markets to make some cash.
Player exotic markets for Thursday night
Just like the head-to-head markets, the Eagles dominate the exotic frames for Thursday night.
Going through the form and the market we were surprised at the price a pair of the Eagles’ thoroughbred players were paying and we have identified these guys as our best Thursday night bets for our readers.
All odds were provided by Sportsbet.com.au
First goal scorer – Josh Kennedy
A first goal scorer bet on back-to-back Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy is our best exotic wager for Thursday night’s elimination final.
The West Coast spearhead has kicked the first major in their last two matches, and in three of their last four games Kennedy has booted the first goal for his side.
The Bulldogs have no obvious match up for the former Blue.
Dale Morris has the ability to quell him if it becomes a one-on-one wrestling duel, but Kennedy will be able to beat him in just about every other facet of the game.
Kennedy’s form is great and we are suggesting that anyone who wants to invest in the first goal scorer market look no further than the reigning Coleman medallist.
Disposal markets – Andrew Gaff
Possession gathering machine Andrew Gaff is our selection for just about all the disposal markets on Thursday night.
The 2015 All-Australian finished 2016 as the tenth best midfielder in terms of pure numbers, but his recent fortnight of football is what will get punters very excited.
Gaff has amassed an incredible 79-disposals across the last two weeks off football, and he has only failed to get over 22 touches once since round nine.
No player in the AFL works harder than Gaff to create space for his teammates and gather uncontested possessions (a statistic he leads across the entire league), and if he gets off the chain early there is no player in the Bulldogs’ side who is capable running alongside him.
Gaff to get the most possessions in the game looks to be a lock, and we are backing him to not only cover his disposal line, but we anticipate he will amass in excess of 35 disposals on Thursday night.
Andrew Gaff to get 35 touches or more: $2.88
Andrew Gaff over/under disposal market: Over 30.5 – $1.90