2018 AFL Grand Final Preview: West Coast vs Collingwood

The footy season comes to a crescendo this Saturday as the Pies and Eagles do battle

AFL Grand Final Preview Collingwood West Coast

AFL Tips experts Daniel and Stephen weigh in on the 2018 AFL Grand Final.

The 2018 AFL Grand Final sees a rematch of the Qualifying Final of a few weeks ago, where West Coast put Collingwood away playing at home in Optus Stadium.

This time they will have a tougher task however, playing on the other side of the country at the MCG.

It is probably a match up that would not have been highly expected even a few weeks ago, with Collingwood left with a lot of work to do after going down to West Coast in that qualifying final.

However, after taking down last year’s premiers, the Tigers, last week they showed the extent of the potential that we have seen glimpses of all year, meanwhile West Coast looked absolutely untouchable against a strong Melbourne side at home.

 Public opinion seems to be fairly evenly divided in regards to the predicted winner of this won, with some polls even leaning in the favour of West Coast.

The Teams

Having a look at the teams, both have their own game styles and strengths.

West Coast has some of the better key position players in the game, giving them a huge advantage at both ends of the ground.

With book ends like Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling in the forward half and Jeremy McGovern and Shannon Hurn in defence, they are extremely well placed to provide a strong contest to any team in the competition. They, of course, have showed this on numerous occasions this year.

Collingwood has elite talent spread over the park, but their strength is more in their smaller players, such as Jordan De Goey, Steele Sidebottom and Adam Treloar, making an elite and dangerous trio who are well supported by Brodie Grundy, who has emerged this year as an elite ruckman

Of course, you can’t forget about Mr. Consistent and captain Scott Pendlebury either.

It will be an interesting battle between the elite big men from the west and the speed and skill of the Collingwood midfield and small forwards.

The Numbers

Taking a deeper dive into the numbers, we can see from the table below that based on our aggregate player ratings calculated for each team, these teams match up quite evenly across the park.

The first table below compares player quality by position, based on the aforementioned player ratings. Collingwood has the edge over West Coast in defence and the midfield, whereas West Coast boast the better forward line, as expected.

AFL Grand Final Preview

Our player ratings are organised into 5 categories, ranging from a minimum grade of D grade, to a maximum of elite. The next table compares how Collingwood and West Coast stack up by the number of players which fit into each skill category.

AFL Grand Final Preview

Collingwood barely has a weak link across the entire park, as demonstrated by having only one player rated in the D category. West Coast, on the other hand, have 3 more players in this rating category, suggesting they have a few potential weak points across the oval.

Collingwood also boasts more elite players than the Eagles outfit, most of which are based around the centre of the park in the mids.

As can be derived from the above player rating analysis, our model favours Collingwood as favourites in this one. The market is currently of the same opinion, making the Melbourne side a little over a one goal favourite.

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