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Sydney leads 2016 AFL premiership market as focus turns to finals

THE AFL regular season is done and dusted and we have eight teams left to vie for the coveted premiership cup.

And week one of the finals is shaping up as a doozy – even if we do have to wait a fortnight for it.

It all kicks off on a Thursday night in Perth where the limping Western Bulldogs take the long trip to WA to take on the might of West Coast at Domain Stadium.

Then the mouthwatering blockbuster, bitter rivals Hawthorn and Geelong go toe to toe on the hallowed turf of the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday night.

The other two games are both played on Saturday, giving Sunday a clean slate.

The Sydney derby is sure to be a rip snorter between Greater Western Sydney and the Swans on Saturday afternoon, before the Adelaide Crows welcome North Melbourne into the cauldron at Adelaide, finishing off the first week of finals.

The Swans are absolutely cooking at the right time of the season and are the team to beat according to the bookies.

They are the $3 favourites with and it’s not hard to see why, a miserly backline sets it up, with the engine room fuelled by the likes of Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker and Daniel Hannebery, setting up the gun forwards Lance Franklin, Kurt Tippett and Isaac Heeney.

They are a formidable force and will be hard to topple in September.

But, if anyone can do it, the bookies think Patrick Dangerfield… we mean Geelong, can.

The Cats are $3.75 second favourites and, while they have at times struggled to produce at the highest level, their best is as good as any club’s in the game and that means they will be very dangerous on their day.

Dangerfield has been the obvious difference for the men from Geelong, but the re-emergence of Tom Hawkins as a force, plus the sterling work of captain Joel Selwood, and that ageing backline of messrs Tom Lonergan, Harry Taylor, Corey Enright and Jimmy Bartel, has the Cats in prime position for an assault on the flag.

Are we forgetting about Hawthorn?

Premiership favourites for much of the season, a stinking past month has the Hawks out to $5.

But they have won the last three flags and you simply cannot write them off in September.

The ageing, weary, but battle hardened bodies of the likes of Sam Mitchell, Luke Hodge and Jordan Lewis are still a force to be reckoned with. They might have struggled – just getting over the line by a point against the lowly Magpies on the weekend – but the fortnight off will do them a world of good and you would expect them to be primed for a red-hot crack at the Cats.

The baby Giants are the only other team in single digits, rated a $7.50 chance.

They argue that the likes of Heath Shaw and Stevie Johnson add premiership clout to their squad, but there is no doubt they are packed with youth and might need more time to produce on the biggest AFL stage.

Adelaide is the out and out smokey in this one.

They are way out at $12, due to the fact they finished outside the eight and it is very hard to win flags without the double chance or the week’s rest.

But they possess perhaps the best forward line in the game, with giants Josh Jenkins and Tom Lynch joined by mobile captain Taylor Walker and gun small forward Eddie Betts.

The backline is a tight unit that gives no quarter, but it’s the midfield where the Crows are perhaps not up to par.

Rory Sloane is elite, but he has not quite lived up to the capacity of the departed Dangerfield – who could? – and the ageing Scott Thompson, along with the Crouch brothers, Matt and Brad, will need to be at their absolute best.

AFL finals week one schedule

Elimination final: West Coast Eagles vs. Western Bulldogs

Thursday, September 8, 8.10pm AEST, Domain Stadium, Perth

Qualifying final: Geelong Cats vs. Hawthorn Hawks

Friday, September 9, 7.50pm AEST, Melbourne Cricket Ground

Qualifying final: Sydney Swans vs. Greater Western Sydney Giants

Saturday, September 10, 3.20pm AEST, ANZ Stadium, Sydney

Elimination final: Adelaide Crows vs. North Melbourne Kangaroos

Saturday, September 10, 7.40pm AEST, Adelaide Oval

Markets for finals games

Elimination final: West Coast Eagles vs. Western Bulldogs

West Coast Eagles: $1.22

Western Bulldogs: $4.35

Line: +/- 26.5 ($1.90)

Qualifying final: Geelong Cats vs. Hawthorn Hawks

Geelong Cats: $1.63

Hawthorn Hawks: $2.28

Line: +/- 7.5 ($1.90)

Qualifying final: Sydney Swans vs. Greater Western Sydney Giants

Sydney Swans: $1.41

Greater Western Sydney Giants: $2.94

Line: +/- 16.5 ($1.90)

Elimination final: Adelaide Crows vs. North Melbourne Kangaroos

Adelaide Crows: $1.18

North Melbourne Kangaroos: $4.95

Line: +/- 30.5 ($1.90)

All odds provided by

AFL premiership markets

Sydney ($3)

Geelong ($3.75)

Hawthorn ($5)

Greater Western Sydney ($7.50)

Adelaide ($12)

West Coast ($13)

Western Bulldogs ($51)

North Melbourne ($101)

Odds provided by

Brownlow medal markets

Not much to see here. It will be a massive boilover if anyone other than Patrick Dangerfield is wearing Chas around his neck after Brownlow Medal night. He is one of the shortest-priced favourites in history.

Patrick Dangerfield ($1.28)

Dustin Martin ($8)

Marcus Bontempelli ($11)

Luke Parker ($11)

Dan Hannebery ($13)

Joel Selwood ($15)

Josh P. Kennedy ($21)

Sam Mitchell ($26)

Luke Shuey ($41)

Matt Priddis ($51)

Jack Steven ($51)

Robbie Gray ($67)

Max Gawn ($101)

Stephen Coniglio ($101)

Lance Franklin ($101)

Others quoted

Odds provided by

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