Why Adelaide can win it:
The Crows have a team that, even when their stars are not at their best, will step up and contribute across the whole ground. With 8 of their best 22 making the All-Australian Squad, the Crows prove that their team is not relying on one star to carry them through. Sloane, Atkins, Betts and Walker are just some of the best that the Crows will continually use to their strengths in September.
The X-Factor: Josh Jenkins. ‘Kicks a bag and kill ‘em all.’
Why Geelong can win it:
A combination of new and old will prove favourable come finals, as the Cats more experienced will continue to assist their young, coming into their ninth finals series in 10 years. The Cats ability to use the wings and make quick breakthroughs up the ground will be vital if they want to dominate. Zach Tuohy has a chance to prove his worth in the backline in his first finals series, along with Wylie Buzza, who gets a chance to step up in the big time. Chris Scott has a poor finals record, so now is the time for him to make his mark.
The X-Factor: Nakia Cockatoo. ‘Great mark and hard at the ball.’
Why Richmond can win it:
Combine head strong Martin, Rance and Cotchin with an energized Riewoldt and Rioli and you’ve got a team with the capability to dominate, at a quick pace. High intensity players, like Caddy and Prestia have been vital for Richmond’s success in 2017, so their aim is to extend this pressure and build on it in September. This is Harwick’s chance to prove that the Tigers are a serious contender.
The X-Factor: Daniel Rioli. ‘Super speed, agility and mercurial foot.’
Why GWS can win it:
The most talented young list in the competition, with a sprinkling of experienced premiership players, the Giants have plenty to prove after their 2016 failed finals campaign. All-Australian nominees Dylan Shiel, Josh Kelly and Tom Scully lead a midfield that will give Cameron and Patton multiple opportunities in front of goal. Fast-paced and high intensity football is the way Leon Cameron’s men can make something of their 2017 season.
The X-Factor: Toby Greene. ‘Goal-kicking game breaker’
Why Port Adelaide can win it:
Although heading into the finals with little hype, the Power have a team that has the ability to play high intensity football. Robbie Gray has proven himself this season as a paced middle man, along with All-Australian nominees Tom Jonas down back and a consist season from key big man Paddy Ryder. A high scoring team, Hinkley’s men can capture the ball inside their 50 and dominate games in a fast-moving quick scoring shoot out, forcing opposition to take chances to match them.
The X-Factor: Ollie Wines. ‘Fearless and ferocious on-ball competitor.’
Why Sydney can win it:
A midfield like no other, the Swans have the ability to pressure teams into turnovers which result in goals. With a forward like Franklin, there are little defenders who can stop the giant from dominating in front of goals. Heeney, Papley, Rohan, Hannebery and Parker are just a few of the middle men who can open and use space, as well as press up and cause costly turnovers for opposition. Longmire’s men have been here before and will be learning from their previous finals mistakes.
The X-Factor: Sam Reid. ‘Mr Versatility, can play at both ends.’
Why Essendon can win it:
A young team full of pace, the Bombers can hit teams where it hurts on the rebound. With the experience of Kelly and Hurley in the backline, Heppell and Merrett in the midfield, they can lead their young in Parish and Daniher to their first finals series since the drug saga of 2012-2016. Coach John Worsfold has been here before and knows exactly what’s required to take his team all the way.
The X-Factor: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti. ‘Guts and determination mixed with ruthless speed and pressure.’
Why West Coast can win it:
They showed they can hold their own against the top side Adelaide in round 23, securing their top-8-spot by 0.2 percent. With a pleasing mix of experience and determination, the Eagles have plenty of upside when they put it all together. Jack Darling brings versatility when needed, along with a reinvented Nathan Vardy, they may just trouble a few sides along the way.
The X-Factor: Lewis Jetta. ‘Blinding pace, pressure and can kick a clutch goal.’