This elimination final between Adelaide and Fremantle is going to be tight.
Adelaide has had an outstanding year and regardless of what people say about their easy draw they have won enough games to finish second and get that second chance in the finals.
And that is a good thing seeing as some of their young guys looked a bit over-awed against Sydney last week.
Adelaide had nine guys playing their first ever final and you could tell. But they will be a lot better for the run, they will now know what to expect, the increased intensity, that comes with finals football.
Our first finals campaign in 2004, we finished top four and got smashed the first week of finals because we were overawed. But we bounced back and I can see Adelaide’s young crew doing the same.
Adelaide will be disappointed in the way they played against Sydney but the beauty of the top four is you can lick your wounds and get on with it and critically analyse where you let yourself down and move on.
The Crows have had the wood over Freo this year as well, have beaten them pretty easily both times.
I know most people say that that is history and does not matter but it is important, especially for preparing for finals.
You know where you have got the advantage before and I am sure coach Brenton Sanderson will be looking at the two previous games and formulating a plan from those two wins.
Fremantle are in as good a form as anyone in the competition though at the moment.
It goes without saying as well that Matthew Pavlich is as damaging as anyone in the competition at the moment.
He pretty much single-handedly beat Geelong last week with an incredible performance.
Pav shapes as the Crows’ biggest hurdle and it has been made even more difficult with the injury to the 2012 Rising Star defender, Daniel Talia.
He is a huge loss for Adelaide and finding a match up for Pav will be giving Brenton Sanderson all kinds of headaches.
He might go with someone experienced like Ben Rutten but he does not quite have the mobility to go with Pavlich so they might be forced to look outside the box and even pick someone who didn’t play last week.
Speaking of defence it seems strange for some people to give Ross Lyon some grief over the style of football he has Freo playing.
All great sides have a defensive mindset, it is what provides the springboard for your attack and that is what Ross has done. He has instilled a steely resolve and that is how they have got on a roll. They have tidied up their defensive efforts, denying the opposition the ball and keeping it in their own hands.
They are starting to see the fruits of the labour and have notched up some big scores lately and there is no way Ross Lyon will change anything at all at the moment.
A quick look at some of the other key personnel running around there brings us to Kurt Tippett.
He did not have a great game last week but the calls from some to drop him are silly. They won’t drop him nor should they.
He is a potential match winner who has had an interrupted second half of the season with concussion. He had one bad game against Sydney, is a bit down on confidence but he will want to make up for it.
He is a competitive man who will want to take more responsibility this week so look for a much improved effort.
The other match winner for Adelaide is Patrick Dangerfield. You would expect Ross to send run-with maestro Ryan Crowley to him this time.
Last time the two teams played Crowley went to Scott Thompson and Dangerfield ripped Freo apart with 34 touches and two goals.
They won’t let that happen again this time.
As always though it is going to come down to the mids.
If Freo are to win they have to win that battle so they can surge forward and use the advantage they have in Pavlich. The Crows will need someone extra back there to help out whoever is given the job on the Dockers’ captain.
But Fremantle have just done so much travel recently and it will start to take its toll this time of the year.
So I am going to pick Adelaide to win this by seven points.
ADELAIDE CROWS V FREMANTLE (AAMI STADIUM)
SECOND SEMI FINAL
8.30pm LIVE on Channel 7
8pm LIVE on Channel 7
6.30pm LIVE on Channel 7
8.30pm LIVE on 7mate
8.30pm LIVE on 7mate