Free Picks: Hawthorn vs. Geelong AFL Preliminary Finals

Richard O'Hagan

Monday, September 16, 2013 7:37 PM GMT

Friday sees the first of the Preliminary Finals, the penultimate round of the Aussie Rules playoffs, as Hawthorn Hawks take on the Geelong Cats in an all-Melbourne playoff.

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The Aussie Rules playoffs have gone pretty much according to the script, with the four sides who occupied the top of the ladder taking on one another in the final two games. Friday’s game pits first against second from the regular season, with Hawthorn the hosts as they take on Victorian rivals Geelong.

The two sides have met twice already this season, in rounds 1 and 15, and Geelong shaded both of those games (by 7 and 10 points respectively). The big difference here, though, is that Hawthorn have had a week off, whilst Geelong had to spend last Friday night slugging their way past a determined Port Adelaide side.

That bye week for the Hawks should be crucial here. A week off can be detrimental during the regular season because it disrupts a team’s momentum, but in the post-season it can be invaluable, giving much needed time for players to rest up after six months of attrition and a chance to work on injuries to key members of the squad, too.

Despite this, the Cats are likely to be without veteran defender Corey Enright, who also sat out that victory over Port. They will miss his experience, despite carrying into this tie the euphoria of overcoming a 24-point half-time deficit in that game.

The Hawks are priced at 2/5 by William Hill in the betting odds and will be keen not to come away from another season of domination with nothing for the second year running. Coral make Geelong 13/8 shots, which is actually pretty generous for your sports picks.

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