Road warriors Fremantle can press Collingwood all the way in the second semi final on Saturday night at the MCG.
The Dockers did an enormous job to come from behind and beat the Dogs last week at home, and in doing so they appeared to find a new formula – including fast ball movement – that is capable of troubling the Pies.
Justin Longmuir’s team will take plenty of heart from their interstate record this season. It sits at seven wins and a draw from ten matches, with a percentage of 125, and includes upsets of both Geelong and Melbourne.
Freo have been an outstanding betting play away from home, covering nine of eleven. This is only their second visit to the MCG, but they did upset the Demons there, and have won 10 of 20 at the home of footy in the last decade for a +50% ROI.
The West Aussie side also have a surprisingly good record against Collingwood. They did lose badly earlier this season at home, but they have won three of the last four and covered four of the last five against the Pies.
Collingwood have not been blowing sides out in the second half of the year. Their biggest margin of victory since the bye is 11, over GWS. The Pies have also lost Taylor Adams for the season with injury, and while they have been able to win without him, they are unquestionably a better side with him in it.
Plenty of Pies games have gone down to the wire this season, and while they have an excellent record in them, backing Freo with the points covers this eventuality as well.
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Freo are a pretty settled side in terms of winning the footy. Caleb Serong, Will Brodie and Andrew Brayshaw should be good for 25 or more. Michael Walters is coming off his best game of the season, kicking 3.3, and has two more in four of his last five games.
It couldn’t, could it? The Pies have won five of their last six at the G by a single figure margin, and it wouldn’t shock if it happened once again.