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Melbourne vs Western Bulldogs Tips - Back Demons to cover in AFL Grand Final

  • 2021 AFL Grand Final will take place at Optus Stadium in Perth on Saturday 
  • The Demons and Bulldogs split their two meetings in the regular season
  • Melbourne are back in the Grand Final for the first time since 2000
  • The Demons are aiming to win their first title since 1964
  • The Bulldogs last won the Grand Final in 2016

melbourne bulldogs
The Bulldogs and Demons square off for one last time this season. (Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
The Dees and the Dogs have been two of the top sides in the competition this year, and it’s only fitting that they should meet in this year’s Grand Final.

After clinching the minor premiership, Melbourne has cruised through the finals to arrive on the big stage in Perth, while the Dogs have gone about their business the hard way with a couple of upset wins after finishing outside the top four.

The Bulldogs won their first-ever premiership over Melbourne back in 1954 in front of a huge crowd at the MCG, and there will again be 60,000+ in attendance at Optus Stadium on Saturday.

These two sides boast a handful of the games top young talent, and there’s no question we could be in for a razor tight game to round out the season.

The Demons return to the Grand Final stage for the first time since 2000 following two convincing wins over the Lions and Cats leading in.

A perfect 9-0 start to the season saw the Dees into favouritism in our Premiership market, and it is Melbourne who will go into the decider as $1.73 favourites in Perth on Saturday night.

Simon Goodwin’s side has been one of the top goal-scoring teams all year, but perhaps more impressively, the Demons have been the toughest side to score against having allowed an average of only nine goals a game.

Melbourne got the better of the Dogs back in Round 11, largely due to a monster game from current Brownlow Medal fancy, Clayton Oliver.

Max Gawn dominated the ruck battle to help the Dees lead for the entirety, but things didn’t go quite as smoothly when the two sides met for a second time in July.

Big games from Marcus Bontempelli and Jack Macrae spurred the Dogs to a 20-point revenge win – two players Melbourne desperately needs to shutdown in the Grand Final.

Fortunately, the Dees have the defensive blueprint in place to limit the pair, much like they did against Geelong two weeks ago.

Oliver, Christian Petracca and Jack Viney were electric through the midfield, while Gawn went into ‘Mad Max’ mode with a stunning five-goal performance.

Aside from stats and individual performances, there’s a strong sense of belief among this Demons outfit that hasn’t been felt in a very long time.

The pressure of a 57-year premiership drought is immense, but there’s no reason to doubt the Dees based on everything we’ve seen this season.

The Dogs pulled off a remarkable 71-point win over Port in the Prelim, but just like in 2016, Luke Beveridge’s side will still head into the Grand Final as the +7.5 underdog on Saturday night.

The Bulldogs limped into the finals on the back of three straight losses, but a blowout Elimination win over the Bombers seemingly flicked the switch on the way to a memorable one-point victory over the Lions in the Qualifier.

The Dogs haven’t spent a lot of time as the underdog this year, but they should prove very dangerous if they can play with a chip on their shoulder like they did in Adelaide.

Even without star forward Josh Bruce, the Dogs still managed to kick seven goals in the opening term in what turned out to be another huge day for Bailey Smith.

The man with the mullet has played a huge part in each of the Bulldogs’ last two games, and there’s no doubt he’ll be called upon again to help combat Melbourne’s star-studded midfield.

On paper, the Dogs have enough talent to handle Melbourne’s ‘Big 3’ of Petracca, Olvier and Gawn, but they’ll need to win the ruck battle if they hold any hope of claiming the flag.

Tim English and Stefan Martin did a number on Port in the Prelim, but the jury remains out on whether they can dominate Gawn.

The Doggies’ biggest strength this year has been their goal-kicking and the way they move the ball forward inside 50, two areas the Demons have defended well all year.

That said, if the Bulldogs can put their nerves aside early like they did against Port, and also rely on some big individual performances from Smith and Marcus Bontempelli, they’ll be very much in this.

Verdict

The Dogs have adjusted beautifully to the Gabba and Adelaide Oval in recent weeks, but on a much wider ground in front of a packed house, you have to expect the Dees to handle it all a little better.

Best Bet: Melbourne -7.5 Line @100 at BetMGM - 1 Unit

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