Thursday, October 1, 2015

5 Grand Final 'Sleepers'

Stars, always steal the spotlight going into Grand Finals, with the irony being the lesser lights are often the games decisive figures.

The 2015 AFL finale is no different with all the focus on the likes of Nic Natanui, Sam Mitchell, Matt Priddis, Luke Hodge, Josh Kennedy and Cyril Rioli amongst a whole constellation of stars.

One cannot deny the role these players will play, but, look for the following to be the games dangerous sleepers.

Jordan Lewis ( Hawthorn )

Before mistaking Todd Goldstein's head for a punching bag, Jordan Lewis was in Brownlow Medal winning form. He has been workmanlike since, never reaching the dominant heights he ascended too in the early season. One gets the feeling that he is the joker in the deck going into this Grand Final. With little or no attention shown to him, despite him being one of the best-performed midfielders in the last two years.

He is crucial to Hawthorn's hopes due to WCE being the masters of contested football giving them a distinct advantage going into a game that will be decided by who holds sway in the midfield. Look for him to have a huge game, eliminate this advantage and win the Norm Smith Medal.

Matt LeCras ( West Coast Eagles )

If not for several injury setbacks,  LeCras would be viewed amongst the top ten players in the game. He is very like Robbie Gray from Port Adelaide, so clever and dangerous with his skill and decision of the highest caliber. With Hawthorn's attention likely to focus on stopping Luke Shuey and Andrew Gaff, he is likely to run free and be decisive. Whether setting up play from midfield or being a forward capable of kicking game breaking goals, he looms large.

James Frawley ( Hawthorn )

It bemuses me the flack Frawley has got from so-called experts and fans alike. With it easy to dismiss when you attach the naivety of their viewpoints centreing around Frawley's decision making and skills. Overlooking his ability as a high calibre defender that can mark both monster forwards because of his size and strength or smalls because of his pace. As well as ignoring the bevvy of high skilled players surrounding Frawley meaning his role is to defend, rather than be the master of rebound or transition. He plays very much the same role that Tom Lonergan played in the great Geelong teams.

After him being switched to Josh Kennedy in the second half of the qualifying final, he has had two goals kicked on him in the ten quarters since. Look for him to stitch up one of West Coast's forward guns once more.

Andrew Gaff ( West Coast Eagles )

Beautiful player, keeping in line with WCE's tradition of great wingmen. He is a serious player with a lovely combination of pace, skill and accumulation of the pill. The Hawks will mark him and how he deals with the extra attention shown to him will go a long way to deciding this match. If he is as decisive as he usually is, despite the tag, it could prove decisive in what looms as a close match

Taylor Duryea ( Hawthorn )

The young defender played his best game for the club last week, combining his noted courage and toughness with moments of game breaking skill. It gave a glimpse of his future belonging in the midfield, and it would not surprise if he played further up the ground in the grand final.

He is a real warrior made for the cut-throat nature of a winner takes all finale.


Experience and the know how that goes with it means everything in Grand Finals. The game being played at the MCG, a venue Hawthorn owns as well as one that the Weagles have only played at once this year will also be a huge factor

Hawks by six goals

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