Adelaide coach Don Pyke suspects Geelong may face Greater Western Sydney in the AFL grand final, suggesting the week off still holds a lot of value. The Cats host Sydney at the MCG on Friday night, while GWS are up against Western Bulldogs at Spotless Stadium on Saturday.
Pyke is in agreement with bookmakers, who have installed Geelong and GWS as favourites.
Geelong and GWS both earned a week off following qualifying-final wins over Hawthorn and Sydney respectively.
The addition of a pre-finals bye this year means both clubs will be short of match practice, having played one game in the space of almost four weeks.
There has been speculation that might hurt the two leading premiership contenders but Pyke doesn’t subscribe to that theory.
“I’d look at the two teams that have had the week off in Geelong and GWS and say they’re probably the two leading ones to head into the grand final,” Pyke said, when asked who will win the flag.
“They’ll be really interesting games I would have thought next weekend.
“The Bulldogs, the way they’re travelling they are certainly choc full of confidence. It’s set up now for a pretty big preliminary final weekend.” Pyke also praised the contested-ball work of the Swans, who ended the Crows’ season with a 36-point win in Saturday night’s semi-final at the SCG.
“We knew Sydney would be keen to make amends (after losing to GWS),” he said.
Crows defender Rory Laird admitted his side were overwhelmed by Sydney in the opening quarter, when the hosts booted seven goals. “They’re a really quality side. There’s a reason they are minor premiers and we always knew after a disappointing loss that they’d come out firing,” Laird said.
“They’ve got a very good midfield and their forwards went to work early and unfortunately we couldn’t keep up at the start. That really hurt us in the long run.”