CONTEST: Lachie Whitfield of GWS Giants marks against Richmond Tigers in round 17 at the MCG.
CONTEST: Lachie Whitfield of GWS Giants marks against Richmond Tigers in round 17 at the MCG. MARK DADSWELL

BEHIND THE DESK: Who will win the 2019 AFL grand final?

SHORT HISTORY, GIANT AMBITIONS

Mitchell Keenan

JUST seven and a half years ago the Greater Western Sydney Giants were gearing up for their first year in the Australian Football League. The rest is history.

As expected, it took the Giants a few years to truly find their feet with just two wins in their first year and a woeful one the next, but once they got going it only seemed a matter of time before they claimed a first AFL premiership.

Two straight losses in preliminary finals after fourth-place finishes in 2016 and 2017 may have hurt at the time but it showed Australia that GWS meant business and they weren't going away any time soon.

2019 has been a difficult year for the side with a number of injuries but they have bounced back to claim some big scalps in the post-season.

While the Western Bulldogs seemed a walk in the park in the opening round of finals, top-two side Brisbane Lions were no mean feat at the Gabba but a Brent Daniels bomb sunk Lions' hearts to put the Giants into another preliminary final.

The final hurdle into the side's first grand final came against the Collingwood at the MCG and, boy, it was ugly but they scraped through for a four-point, 56-52 win.

Richmond and GWS have shared a good rivalry with the Giants having beaten their opponents in every home game since 2016 but there's one problem - they have never beaten them at the MCG.

Richmond will be tough to beat but GWS's time at the top of the AFL starts on Saturday.

TIGERS FAVOURITE TO WIN FLAG

Jarrard Potter

WHILE it's great to see the Greater Western Sydney Giants make their grand final debut after just eight seasons in the AFL, I think they'll have to wait at least another year before they can claim a premiership.

The Richmond Tigers will start the match as clear favourites to earn their second flag in three seasons.

Coming into the grand final following 11 straight wins, it's easy to see why they'll be extremely hard to beat, however the Giants have defied the odds for the past three weeks with wins over Collingwood, Brisbane and Western Bulldogs.

This is a grand final though, and in big games like this experience counts for a lot, which is where I think the Tigers will have the edge.

A staggering 17 players have the opportunity to be dual premiership winners with Richmond, including 2017 Brownlow and Norm Smith medalist, Dustin Martin, who will be looking to overcome the torrid time Giants' Matt De Boer gave him in their round three clash earlier this season.

Another thing in favour of Richmond is the advantage of playing at the MCG, and the relatively poor record GWS has at that ground. Richmond have lost just three of their past 37 games at the MCG, and have never lost to the Giants there.

Something tells me though the Tigers are going to be too strong for the Giants and take out this year's grand final.

They're not going to do it easy though, and the Giants will make them earn it, but I'm tipping the Tigers to claim their 12th AFL premiership.



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