At long last, finals are here. Almost six months after the Tigers kicked of their premiership defence with a victory over the hapless Blues on a Thursday night at the “G”, they trudge back out onto the hallowed turf with the in-form Hawks firmly within their cross hairs.

Naturally, finals are a different beast. 1) Carlton aren’t in them, obviously, and 2) The Tigers now sport the reigning Coleman medallist, Brownlow medallist and four current All Australians. The Hawks, on the other hand, have grown into 2018 to be a surprise top four finisher. This ascension came on the back of a combination of veterans and youth, the emergence of James Sicily as an out-and-out star, the dominance of Brownlow medallist in waiting, Tom Mitchell, and the sustained greatness of one of the best coaches of all-time, Alastair Clarkson.

The air is thick tonight. The sense of finals lingers just above the line of our nostrils, as dense as Alex Rance’s biceps. As we anticipate the start of the first final of 2018, a sense of nerves and anxiety rush over us. Our blood drives itself to sit near the surface of our skin and our hair bristles on the nape of our neck. Our hands are clammy. Is it the probability the match between the Tigers and the Hawks, the first finals in their respectively storied histories, will be an instant classic? It’s Melbourne in spring. It’s finals footy. It’s everything.

Embrace the excitement. Burn off the winter stomach by getting your heartrate up as you play off for $50K, with a grand prize of almost $5,000, in Draftstars Tigers v Hawks competition. This is what it’s all about. Download the app, login online. Do what you need to do. Embrace it.


Here is a team you may consider for the AFL $50,000+ Saturday competition


Dustin Martin ($13,880)

He is arguably the most enigmatic superstar to have played the game. Last year, the Tigers won the flag based on his emergence as an irrepressible force. And this came to the fore in the first final against Geelong last year. Owning a fend off more powerful than Thor’s hammer, a two game average of more than 116 and proven finals ability, Dusty has to be in your team.

Josh Caddy ($10,190)

Being a mainstay in the second most potent forward line of 2018 has resulted in Caddy booting 44 goals so far this season. Easily the most he has kicked in his career. And he’s put through multiple big hauls on his way there. He’s another guy that proved his mettle last year in their flag tilt. Also, considering the forecast for Melbourne this evening, his strength over the pill and his ground ball ability means Caddy looms as a major player in the game tonight.


Trent Cotchin ($10,570)

After backing up a superb 2017 with an arguably better 2018, Cotchin was voted as the best captain in the competition this season at the recent AFLPA awards. A guy that never says die, his attitude translates into success in finals footy. After dusting off the cobwebs with a score of just 56 last game when returning to the side, Cotchin will have readied himself for a huge game tonight against the Hawks.

Jack Graham ($10,160)

In the 2017 finals series, Graham emerged as a blue collar, body on the line, all-or-nothing, ready-made finals campaigner. In the Grand Final he booted three goals and was among his sides best in just his fifth AFL game. With another full season under his belt, it is scary to think what the big bodied midfielder could bring to this finals series. Factor in his season high 112 DS points in the last outing and you just get the sense Graham is steeling for a key role in defending the Tigers’ flag.

Shane Edwards ($9,850)

Edwards has been the sweetheart of AFL commentators Australia wide this season. The increased dialogue around his name, and exposure to the more unsung elements of his game, culminated in him being named an All-Australian for the first time in his career. He is the second highest score assist player in the league and is integral in every Tigers forward foray. They use him to deliver the ball inside 50, as a result, he tends to gain a healthy number of possessions for someone valued under $10K.

Jarman Impey ($9,780)

Impey has come on in leaps and bounds in 2018 after defecting from the Power at the end of last season. Blessed with elite pace and skills, the Hawks have employed him as a ball deliverer and link up player from the back half to the forward half. His three game average of a whisker over 70 indicates he is in some of the best form of his career.


Shaun Burgoyne ($12,800)

Burgoyne just keeps chalking up finals games. Tonight he will appear in his 34th final, a number that moves him to just 5 games behind the legendary Michael Tuck. And, if Burgoyne has anything to say about it, don’t be surprised to see him playing in at least two more finals this year. A favourite of this blog in 2018, Burgoyne has proven time and time again that silk reigns supreme in the big moments. For a man not short on class and quality, Burgoyne will have an impact on this game.

Ryan Burton ($9,510)

Burton finished runner-up in the rising star last year, with a number of punters thinking he should have taken the award home. Despite that, he backed up his debut season with a similarly impressive sophomore year and sustained his position in the Hawks back six. With the third lowest tally against in 2018, and a particularly stingy back half of the season, tonight’s DS team speaks to the Hawks’ defensive dominance, of which Burton plays a key role.


Ben McEvoy ($13,240)

After returning to the side after an injury lay-off, McEvoy has staked his claims as being the “best-of-the-rest” ruckman in the competition. His large aerobic capacity, coupled with his aerial ability, makes McEvoy difficult to go past despite being the most expensive ruckman available tonight. It’s worth it though, his three game average is easily over 100 and he should have no trouble maintaining that.


Written by Brin Duggan

The Line Up

FWD: Dustin Martin ($13,880)

FWD: Josh Caddy ($10,190)

MID: Trent Cotchin ($10,570)

MID: Jack Graham ($10,160)

MID: Shane Edwards ($9,850)

MID: Jarman Impey ($9,780)

DEF: Shaun Burgoyne ($12,800)

DEF: Ryan Burton ($9,310)

RUCK: Ben McEvoy ($12,850)

Salary Remaining: $610




Kick = 3 points

Mark = 3 points

Handball = 2 points

Goal = 6 points

Behind = 1 point

Tackle = 4 points

Free Kick For = 1 point

Free Kick Against = -3 points

Hitout = 1 point

By AFL, Latest