Melbourne in September is like New York at Christmas time. Everyone is happier, the weather starts to reflect the footy energies and every man, woman and their dog pledges their allegiances to a side still remaining in the finals.

Late September just amplifies this. I’ve met more proud Collingwood and Demons fans over the past month that I have at any stage in the past five years. Not to mention how many Tigers fans I met this time last year!

Now, tonight, we see two of the largest clubs in the league face off in what shapes to be an instant classic. The G will be brimming with close to 100 thousand of the AFL’s most parochial fans as the Tigers and Pies go toe-to-toe for a spot in the decider.

Packed full of stars, the game will come down to whichever sides top three dominates. Dusty, Cotchin and Rance or Pendlebury, Sidebottom and Treloar? We sit in waiting to find out who will step up.

But before that, get out your phone, open your browser, do what you need to do and open Draftstars. Click the AFL $40,000+ Tigers v Magpies contest, select your side and give yourself a chance to take home over $5,100, a huge first prize.


Here is a team you may consider for the AFL $40,000+ Tigers v Magpies competition


Daniel Rioli ($9,660)

Last year, in just his second season, Rioli made his biggest statement in the preliminary final victory against the Giants. Booting four goals and applying his trademark forward pressure, he stamped his mark on the finals. Being a Rioli, he will rise to the challenge of finals again. He’s in great form as well, three of his highest scores of the year have come over the past four weeks.

Travis Varcoe ($7,220)

A harrowing backstory, Varcoe has inspired the Pies through this finals series through his determination to play despite the heartbreaking passing of his sister, Maggie. Over the first two weeks of finals, Varcoe has lifted his side back into the game with huge moments of play. His final quarter goal against the Giants gave the Pies the spark they needed to go on to victory. Preliminary final victories are built on the efforts of guys like Travis Varcoe.


Steele Sidebottom ($14,380)

Despite picking up 27 disposals in his sides loss to the Eagles two weeks ago, Sidebottom had an uncharacteristically disappointing outing. Putting that behing him, he backed up the following week with 31 touches and a starring performance. A first time All-Australian in 2018, Sidebottom is a true star of the AFL and rarely plays a bad game. He also dominates on the big stage and will relish a prelim in front of 100 thousand. A competitive beast, expect big things as he goes head-to-head with the star power of the Tigers.

Dustin Martin ($14,270)

After (another) week in the headlines, Dusty will be itching to make a statement early tonight and prove the injury concerns were but a storm in a teacup. As he did in the final against the Hawks, the reigning Brownlow medallist will shift up a gear to ensure victory for the Tiges. He’s exhibited his best form of 2018 over the past month, expect him to continue it. Don’t be surprised if he comes out and plays one of the all-time great games and etches his performance into finals folklore.

Trent Cotchin ($11,860)

While his mate Dusty might be the oil tycoon in their relationship, Cotch is the guy at the bottom of the well that strikes the pickaxe into the burgeoning land, causing the oil to explode to the surface. And everyone knows and respects it. As such, more opposition attention goes to Martin and Cotchin can get off the leash. He worked his way back into form against the Hawks in the qualifying final with 89 DS points and will be champing at the bit to mark his mark on the prelim.

Will Hoskin-Elliott ($8,480)

The man known as hyphen had his best game for some time last week against the Giants. Cracking the magical three figure mark for the first time in 13 games, and for just the second time in 2018, he stated his finals intentions. Consider his score against the Eagles as well (78 DS points), and it’s clear, for the first time in his career, Hoskin-Elliott lifts for finals.


Tom Langdon ($9,790)

After a lean 2017, Langdon has come back to the fore in 2018 to be one of the Pies most reliable defenders. Lst week, against the Giants, he thwarted countless attacks at pivotal moments of the game and played a huge role in the victory. He averages over 70 on the season but scored 89 in his last outing and threatens to repeat that outburst as he continues to rack up high intercept possession and mark numbers.

Alex Rance ($7,760)

There was a time in the not too distant past where Rance would rack up possessions and marks as the Tigers battled to get the ball out of their defensive fifty. That time is gone, however, with the superstar side opting for those with more dash and disposal nous to propel their attacks. That being said, the famous saying goes “cometh the moment, cometh the man,” and, referencing his typical heroics, Alex Rance in the living embodiment of “the man”, expect him to cometh.


Brodie Grundy ($17,380)

An unbelievable season for the South Australian big man has already seen him named an All-Australian and he sits as a genuine Brownlow chance. A preliminary final win would be just desserts in a stellar season for Grundy. Despite his enormous price tag, the advantage he holds over the other two ruck choices is too large to ignore. Last time these two sides faced off he helped himself to 147 DS points while Nankervis managed only 94.


Written by Brin Duggan

The Line Up

FWD: Daniel Rioli ($9,660)

FWD: Travis Varcoe ($7,220)

MID: Steele Sidebottom ($14,380)

MID: Dustin Martin ($14,270)

MID: Trent Cotchin ($10,560)

MID: Will Hoskin-Elliott($8,480)

DEF: Tom Langdon ($9,790)

DEF: Alex Rance ($7,760)

RUCK: Brodie Grundy ($8,890)

Salary Remaining: $530



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

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