Saturday, October 1, 2016 from 2.30pm AEST at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
THE best player in Saturday’s AFL grand final between Sydney and the Western Bulldogs will be awarded the Norm Smith Medal.
Named after former Melbourne player and coach Norm Smith, who coached six Melbourne premierships from eight appearances, Sportsbet.com.au has inspiring Bulldogs midfield Rolls Royce Marcus Bontempelli as the $7 favourite to claim the award on Saturday.
He is the man most likely to bust open the game for the Bulldogs, but it is a surprise to see a player in red, white and blue as favourite, given the Sons of the West are the underdogs in this game.
Normal transmission is resumed after The Bont, with Sydney players occupying the next five lines of betting.
Josh Kennedy and Dan Hannebery share favouritism for the Swans, at $8 each, while Dan Hannebery and the mercurial Lance Franklin are one point behind them at $9.
The next Dog is all the way out at $16, in Luke Dahlhaus.
Rolled gold Norm Smith Medal predictions
There is something special about this bloke. He accumulates a mountain of footy, uses it well and loves to get forward and kick a goal. When he fires, the Swans usually win – although, when he doesn’t they tend to win too. Expect him to be right at the pointy end if the Swans win the flag and, by sheer weight of public and media love, he will be at the forefront of the minds of Norm Smith voters. Finished second in the Brownlow last night, so hopefully the votes will come in for Norm as well.
Jack Macrae ($23)
It’s hard to call a guy paying $23 rolled gold, but this kid is something special. Had a remarkable 39 disposals agains the Hawks and then backed it up with 25 against the Giants. Doesn’t seem to get the accolades of the likes of Bontempelli and Dahlhaus, but is more than deserving of them and, at long odds, this bloke is a midfield star in the making.
Last week’s stars
Dan Hannebery ($8), Lance Franklin ($9), Isaac Heeney ($14)
Hannebery has had a remarkable season and he continued that last week against Geelong, reeling in 29 disposals – most of them contested – and generally wreaking havoc in the midfield. His mate Heaney also had a mountain of it and his strong form is holding up. And the voters can not miss his boyish good looks and shock of blond hair. Big Lance is always one of the favourites for this award on grand final day and his first half on the weekend was among his best. But he has never truly picked apart a grand final. Will this be the first time?
Luke Dahlhaus ($16), Clay Smith ($34)
Dahlhaus was in absolutely everything for the Doggies on the weekend and it all turned to gold. Bounced back from a quieter one against the Hawks to lead the way with 32 disposals to go with nine marks against the Giants. The little gun is spending a lot more time on the ball lately and that puts him front and centre for the voters. Speaking of getting noticed, Clay Smith made the whole footy world stop and admire. He picked apart GWS, collating 26 possessions and booting four goals in a dominant performance. It was later revealed he lost a close friend in the days leading up to the match and he could well be inspired to do the job in the grand final for his fallen mate.
Jake Lloyd ($41)
Ordinarily, a bloke who amasses 613 disposals in a season would be considered in the best couple of mids in your side. But this Swans side is anything but ordinary. This kid has talent to burn and an ability to find plenty of the footy, as evidenced by the tear he went on from rounds 20-23 where he had three games of 31 or more. Has had a solid finals series with 25 or more in each match. Could he be the one that proves the difference? At $41, he’s worth a flier at least.
Libba has done what his old man failed to do – get the Dogs to a grand final. And he won’t want to stop there. He seems to have fallen back in the pecking order at the Dogs, with the likes of Bont, Hunter, Dahlhaus and Macrae leaping ahead of him. But the midfield stopper is very capable of racking up huge numbers and, if it’s wet – as forecast – his ability to get the footy in the clinches could come to the fore and give him a shot at winning Norm.
Caleb Daniel ($34)
It’s hard not to love this kid. The smallest bloke in the AFL, he might also be both the toughest, and the cleanest. He just does not waste the footy. Whether it is by hand or foot, he absolutely spears it to teammates and usually hits them laces out. Sports a helmet on the field, which obviously makes him stand out and, given he will spend just about all his time on the ball, he’s a can’t miss prospect at long odds.