Guide to each AFL team’s finals keys

KEY TO YOUR AFL CLUB’S FINALS SERIES SUCCESS:

SYDNEY

Strength: Defence and midfield. The Swans have conceded the least scores of any club. And a hard-edged midfield thrives in the packs. Have also laid the most tackles of any team.

Weakness: Overly-reliant on Lance Franklin to kick a winning score. He’s booted 74 goals this season with Isaac Heeney next-best with 26 majors.

Ace: Franklin. A peerless match-winner who loves the big stage.

Wildcard: Kurt Tippett. Is two games back from an eight-match injury absence, but can lead the rucks and snag a goal or two when resting in attack.

GEELONG

Strength: Midfield. Led by Patrick Dangerfield and captain Joel Selwood, the Cats are ranked second in the league for winning centre clearances.

Weakness: Defence. While statistically sound, can renowned backmen Corey Enright, Harry Taylor, Andrew Mackie again turn it on? And can Zac Smith rule the rucks?

Ace: Dangerfield. The Brownlow medal favourite is unstoppable on his day.

Wildcard: Steven Motlop. A gifted forward who can change a game in a twinkling, but can also go missing for large chunks.

HAWTHORN

Strength: Been there, done that. Seeking a fourth flag in a row, the Hawks boast an experienced midfield core led by Sam Mitchell, Luke Hodge and Jordan Lewis who rarely flounder in finals.

Weakness: Form. The Hawks haven’t been overly impressive yet still finished third, getting over the line in a series of close games.

Ace: Cyril Rioli. Best-afield in last year’s grand final win, if Rioli has an impact his side rarely lose.

Wildcard: James Sicily. Has kicked 29 goals in a breakout season but how will he respond to the finals pressure?

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

Strength: Pace. The Giants’ speed is their biggest weapon

Weakness: No finals experience. This is the Giants’ first finals campaign and much rests on how the young guns handle the September heat.

Ace: Toby Greene. Has more inside 50s than any Giant this season – and third-most in the league – and has also booted 39 goals.

Wildcard: Stevie Johnson. The Geelong premiership star can turn a game on its head within minutes, but has he got the legs left in him?

ADELAIDE

Strength: Attack. The league’s highest-scoring outfit boast enviable riches in attack headlined by Eddie Betts, Taylor Walker and Josh Jenkins.

Weakness: Midfield depth. While the Crows are top-ranked for winning centre clearances, their midfield lacks pace and relies heavily on Rory Sloane and Scott Thompson.

Ace: Betts. The mercurial goalsneak has kicked 66 goals in a sterling season and must be closely tagged by opponents.

Wildcard: Brodie Smith. Much of Adelaide’s defensive rebound relies on the dasher, but the Crows struggle if he has minimal output.

WEST COAST

Strength: An attack led by Josh Kennedy (80 goals) and featuring Jack Darling and Mark LeCras demands respect.

Weakness: Rucks. Can they adequately cover the loss of Nic Naitanui when the heat is on?

Ace: Kennedy. The Coleman medallist can win a final off his own boot.

Wildcard: Lewis Jetta. The former Swan can run like the wind, but also can go missing.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

Strength: Team defence. Ranked behind only Sydney and Geelong in terms of scores conceded, the Dogs are a tough nut to crack.

Weakness: They’re the lowest scorers of any finalist. And they have a host of injury concerns entering the play-offs.

Ace: Winger Lachie Hunter tops the club for disposals, and is the conduit of most Bulldog attacking sorties.

Wildcard: Jake Stringer. Out of touch, but a potential game-breaker if he can return to form.

NORTH MELBOURNE

Strength: Rucks led by Todd Goldstein. And boast considerable aerial power in attack through Drew Petrie, Ben Brown and Jarrad Waite.

Weakness: Poor form – winners just twice in their past 11 games. And has the pre-announced delistings of favourite sons Brent Harvey, Petrie, Michael Firrito and Nick Dal Santo sucked some spirit?

Ace: Goldstein. He’s the most influential ruckman in the finals.

Wildcard: Brown. If the mop-topped attacker gets off the chain, he can swing a game in the Kangas’ favour.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!