Patrick Cripps and Matthew Cottrell celebrate Carlton's semi-final win over Melbourne on September 15, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

THIS year's finals series has well and truly delivered.

With just Saturday's Grand Final between Collingwood and Brisbane to come, September has been full of thrillers.

Of the eight finals played so far, four have been decided by a single-figure margin.

That is the most through the preliminary final weekend since the current finals format was introduced in 2000.

But where this year's Toyota AFL Finals Series has been even more immense is that the average margin has been just 15.9 points, which is the lowest.

The previous best was last year (18.5), with both 2022 and 2023 featuring one-point preliminary final margins.


Drama has been at the forefront during this year's finals, opening with Collingwood holding off Melbourne by seven points in a qualifying final before Carlton beat Sydney by a goal the following night.

Week two featured the Blues' incredible upset of the Demons, thanks to a Blake Acres goal in the final minute.

While the Lions have avoided the dramatic so far, winning their finals by 48 and 16 points, the Magpies edged Greater Western Sydney in a one-point thriller, a year after falling by the same margin at the same stage.


However, a thrilling finals series offers no guarantees for the last Saturday in September.

The last Grand Final to be decided by less than five goals was in 2018, when West Coast famously beat the Magpies thanks to Dom Sheed's goal.

Since 2000, only five deciders have had a single-digit margin, including the famous draw between the Pies and St Kilda in 2010.