SYDNEY has opened at $1.52 to win the AFL grand final against the Western Bulldogs at the MCG on Saturday.
Despite a thrilling victory over Greater Western Sydney in Sydney, the Dogs face an uphill battle against the red-hot Swans, who smashed the Cats on Friday night.
The Dogs are $2.50 outsiders with the AFL’s official betting partner Crownbet, but will fancy their chances of continuing their fairy-tale run, which has seen them come from seventh on the ladder to reach their first grand final since 1961.
A clearly ecstatic Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said his team deserved to enjoy the moment, but vowed to ground his team pretty quickly, before trying to keep the week as normal as possible.
“How could I not be (proud). I’m ecstatic. I don’t look it but I am,” he said.
“You’ve got to enjoy the moment. You’ve got the enjoy the week. Make sure you don’t play the game over and over. If you stray from what you know, you’re in a bit of strife.”
Remarkably the Bulldogs had played in eight preliminary finals since 1961 without tasting success, but that was all forgotten on Saturday evening, as the Bulldogs defied being priced as a $3.40 outsider to topple their more fancied rival.
Both teams have injury concerns ahead of the decider with the Swans sweating on the fitness of Jarrad McVeigh, Callum Mills and look almost certain to be without Aliir Aliir, who suffered a knee injury early against the Cats.
The Bulldogs suffered an eye injury to ruckman Jordan Roughead and he must be in serious doubt to recover in time after sitting out the second half. While Marcus Bontempelli spent time in the rooms, but was pivotal in the thrilling final quarter.
But no one was more important for the Dogs than small forward Clay Smith, who finished with four goals and was instrumental in their ability to curb the Giants running power, with ferocious tackling and his ability to cover space when required.
“I’ve been through some dark times but it’s all worth it. We’re into a Grand Final,” Smith, who has had a horror run with injury, said.
Crownbet has set the line at 12.5 for the grand final with it paying $1.92.
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