Palmerbet Sports Team looks at whether the in-form Dees are the only club that can truly cause Richmond issues this AFL Finals series.

If there was an enduring image from the first week of the finals, it had to be Nathan Jones’s celebration after kicking a last quarter goal – effectively sealing his club’s first finals win in 12 years. Not just for the fact that it was a great goal, or even the huge fist pump that followed, which undoubtedly elicited the biggest noise from the Dees faithful. Rather, it was the fact that no player represents the ‘thick and thin’ aspect of the club as much as the skipper. The player who has been there through all the tough, dire times, and the only player who was there when they won their last final (before the Cats win) in 2006.

The noise after the siren and feeling around the MCG was eerily familiar. In the last two years, both the Bulldogs and Richmond have completed drought-breaking premiership wins. From the start of the finals campaign, both clubs rode a wave that took them to the ultimate success. There is a feeling that Melbourne could be that club this season. And on the face of it, they look the only club capable of causing an upset over the indomitable Richmond. Currently, the Dees sit at $6.50 in Palmerbet’s premiership market.

Bring the heat

Richmond have dominated the competition for almost two years now on the back of a fairly simple game plan when broken down. They are structurally perfect, and force teams coming out of the backline to go along the wings. When the ball is broken down, their pressure is so immense that they win the ball back, then go forward at break-neck speed.

Melbourne, it seems, are modelling their game on Richmond, who are the outright premiership favourites at $1.90. And who can blame them?

High-intensity, tackle-focused game plans have won the last two premierships, and it looks for all money that that will again be the case in 2018. Melbourne at present are the only side that can match Richmond in the pressure-stakes. If they can continue producing the heat like they did against the Cats, it’s likely they could make it to the big dance. If you fancy both to make it, a Richmond/Melbourne matchup is currently paying $4.25 in our AFL Quinella market.

A mountain to do

For all the brilliance of Melbourne’s win over Geelong, it was merely one finals win. That is not to downplay the importance of the victory, rather to reflect on the fact that – should they go want to go all the way – there’s another three to go. Firstly, a win over Alastair Clarkson’s Hawthorn side is required on Friday night. The Hawks are looking to avoid consecutive straight-sets exits out of the finals, and their motivation couldn’t be higher. For the record, the Dees start as $1.47 favourites in that one. Then, a trip to Perth to face a refreshed Eagles outfit, then back to Melbourne for a Grand Final. It’s all speculative at this stage, but Melbourne fans dare to dream. The Dees are currently paying $2.70 with Palmerbet to be there come September 29.

A look ahead

Yes, yes, it’s getting a bit ahead of ourselves. But say the Dees were to make the AFL Grand Final, who would stand out on the day? There’s two that instantly stand out. Max Gawn and Clayton Oliver are built for the big occasions, and it’s no surprise they are the best-priced in Palmerbet’s early Norm Smith markets. Both are currently at $29 – is it worth a pop?