This is going to be without a doubt the game of the round.
West Coast against Hawthorn. The two teams tipped by many to be battling it out on the MCG September 29 for the coveted premiership. Look for this game to have everything. It will be hard. Fast. Defensive. Attacking. Running. Stagnant. Both teams will try everything in their arsenal to try to get the upper hand over their opponent.
I expect this to be a battle of the forward lines. Both teams have exceptional talent in their front half, with the likes of Josh Kennedy, Quentin Lynch and Jack Darling up against what has been touted as the most potent forward duo in Buddy Franklin and Cyril Rioli.
By extension, the onus of the game will fall on the midfield of both teams. Whichever midfield can get the ball from the square to the forward line more effectively and efficiently will win the game. Having Dean Cox in the ruck is sure to help the Eagles, with the Hawks not having a ruckman that can create the numbers that Cox can. If he can continue his dominance, the Eagles midfielders will get first use of the ball at just about every stoppage. And at the risk of me sounding like a complete idiot, despite the huge task that the midfielders and the forward line have, you would think the biggest job would fall in the hands of the respective defenders. How well the Eagles defenders can control Buddy and Rioli and how well the Hawks defenders can take Kennedy and co might just prove to be the deciding factor over who will take out this massive game.
This has been one of the harder games for me to analysis and be able to pick a winner. I can see both teams coming away with a win here, and in the absence of not liking to pick a draw, I think I will pick the Eagles to win, with their familiarity with the turf to give them the upper hand.
My Prediction: West Coast by 9.