THE 2021 Toyota AFL Finals Series kicks off on Friday and the eight contenders for the flag are primed for the final month of the season. 

Our experts predict the ins and outs for all four games in week one. Did we get it right? Check out our teams below. 


Second qualifying final
Port Adelaide v Geelong at Adelaide Oval, 7.20pm ACST


B: Tom Jonas, Trent McKenzie, Darcy Byrne-Jones
HB: Ryan Burton, Aliir Aliir, Riley Bonner
C: Miles Bergman, Ollie Wines, Karl Amon
HF: Xavier Duursma, Todd Marshall, Connor Rozee
F: Orazio Fantasia, Charlie Dixon, Robbie Gray
Foll: Scott Lycett, Travis Boak, Zak Butters
I/C: Peter Ladhams, Steven Motlop, Willem Drew, Dan Houston
Emerg: Sam Mayes, Sam Powell-Pepper, Tom Clurey, Jarrod Lienert 

In: Orazio Fantasia
Mitch Georgiades

UNAVAILABLE: Mitch Georgiades (hamstring), Hamish Hartlett (knee), Trent Burgoyne (hamstring), Kane Farrell (knee), Taj Schofield (hamstring)

NOTES: Selection is clear cut for the Power, assuming Georgiades does not come up from a hamstring complaint in time for Friday night. The Power remain hopeful after the tall forward pulled up well, but a swap for small forward Fantasia appears likely. If Georgiades is available, a difficult decision between Fantasia and Motlop could be required. Lachie Jones is available but it would be a massive call to bring the first-year defender straight back for a final. Mayes and Powell-Pepper are the likely medical substitutes, with Mayes proving effective in the role repeatedly. - Nathan Schmook  

Port Adelaide's Mitch Georgiades looks on after injuring his hamstring against Western Bulldogs in R23, 2021. Picture: Getty Images


B: Jed Bews, Lachie Henderson, Jake Kolodjashnij
HB: Tom Atkins, Mark Blicavs, Jack Henry
C: Isaac Smith, Cameron Guthrie, Sam Menegola
HF: Luke Dahlhaus, Jeremy Cameron, Gryan Miers
F: Gary Rohan, Tom Hawkins, Patrick Dangerfield
Foll: Rhys Stanley, Joel Selwood, Mitch Duncan
I/C: Brandan Parfitt, Mark O'Connor, Shaun Higgins, Brad Close
Emerg: Sam Simpson, Esava Ratugolea, Zach Guthrie, Max Holmes

In: Mitch Duncan, Shaun Higgins
Max Holmes, Sam Simpson

UNAVAILABLE: Tom Stewart (foot), Zach Tuohy (hamstring)

NOTES: The last two spots came down to Close, Miers and Simpson with the latter missing out marginally based purely on the fact he's played just two games back from injury. Coach Chris Scott indicated that Higgins – last week's medical sub – was "likely" to return to the starting side, meaning someone needs to make way. Stanley is a confirmed starter, while Duncan replacing Holmes appears the most obvious like-for-like change. The only other questions come down to whether Mark O'Connor moves into the midfield and the Cats need another defender (Zach Guthrie) to play the seventh backman role, and if Ratugolea is required to play as a genuine second ruck and keep Blicavs in defence with the Power to enter with the Scott Lycett/Peter Ladhams combo.

00:58 Mins
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Second elimination final
Sydney v GWS Giants at University of Tasmania Stadium, 3.20pm AEST


B: Harry Cunningham, Dane Rampe, Lewis Melican
HB: Jake Lloyd, Tom McCartin, Jordan Dawson
C: Justin McInerney, George Hewett, Oliver Florent
HF: Will Hayward, Isaac Heeney, Errol Gulden 
F: Hayden McLean, Lance Franklin, Tom Papley 
Foll: Tom Hickey, Chad Warner, Luke Parker
I/C: James Rowbottom, Sam Wicks, Braeden Campbell, Robbie Fox
Emerg: Colin O'Riordan, Sam Reid, Dylan Stephens, Ryan Clarke

In: Chad Warner, Robbie Fox
Out: Callum Mills, Colin O'Riordan

UNAVAILABLE: Nick Blakey (leg), Josh Kennedy (hamstring), Logan McDonald (cheekbone), Callum Mills (Achilles), Sam Naismith (knee)

NOTES: The Swans are sweating on the fitness of Mills and Kennedy who are both in serious doubt for the knockout final. The call on Mills might be left until the pre-game warm-up to find out how his Achilles responds. Young gun Warner is ready to return for his first game since round 12 after starring in his fourth scratch match since recovering from injury, while Stephens is another option to boost the midfield. Forward-ruck McLean has done enough to hold his spot ahead of veteran Reid but it will be a close call on whether Fox or O'Riordan starts in defence or as medical sub. - Martin Pegan

Chad Warner celebrates a goal during the round 10 match between Fremantle and Sydney at Optus Stadium on May 22, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos


B: Phil Davis, Sam Taylor, Isaac Cumming
HB: Lachie Whitfield, Nick Haynes, Harry Perryman
C: Adam Kennedy, Callan Ward, Lachie Ash
HF: Toby Greene, Harry Himmelberg, Matt de Boer
F: Daniel Lloyd, Jesse Hogan, Tim Taranto
Foll: Shane Mumford, Jacob Hopper, Josh Kelly
I/C: Stephen Coniglio, Tanner Bruhn, Connor Idun, Zach Sproule
Emerg: Sam Reid, Jake Riccardi, James Peatling, Bobby Hill

In: Stephen Coniglio, Shane Mumford, Phil Davis
Out: Xavier O'Halloran, Kieren Briggs, Jake Stein

UNAVAILABLE: Jack Buckley (knee), Brent Daniels (hamstring), Jeremy Finlayson (managed), Matt Flynn (shoulder), Tom Green (hamstring), Lachlan Keeffe (knee), Xavier O’Halloran (calf) 

NOTES: Captain Coniglio is ready to return to the starting line-up after coming on as medical sub for the final term against Carlton then backing up to play a full scratch match the next day. Young midfielder O'Halloran strained a calf against the Blues and will miss at least one week. Mumford was rested for the last round to be fit for finals so will replace emerging big man Briggs or forward-ruck Sproule. Key defender Davis has been overlooked for two matches since recovering from concussion but could be recalled in place of an unlucky Stein. Veteran Reid would be a versatile option as sub. - Martin Pegan

00:39 Mins
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First qualifying final
Melbourne v Brisbane at Adelaide Oval, 7pm ACST


B: Michael Hibberd, Steven May, Harrison Petty
Jake Bowey, Jake Lever, Christian Salem
James Harmes, Christian Petracca, Ed Langdon
Kysaiah Pickett, Tom McDonald, Angus Brayshaw
Alex Neal-Bullen, Ben Brown, Bayley Fritsch
Max Gawn, Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney
Luke Jackson, Charlie Spargo, Trent Rivers, Tom Sparrow
James Jordon (sub), Joel Smith, Jake Melksham, Nathan Jones

IN: Michael Hibberd
OUT: Joel Smith

UNAVAILABLE: Jayden Hunt (ankle), Marty Hore (knee), Aaron Nietschke (knee), Adam Tomlinson (knee)

NOTES: Melbourne has a decision to make down back. The club is hesitant to officially put a line through Hunt, who is ahead of schedule following an ankle injury. Having initially been expected to miss a month, Hunt has been sidelined for just two games and remains an outside chance to feature against Brisbane. Should he miss, the Demons would need to decide between Smith or Hibberd for the last defensive spot. Smith has been in good form since coming into the side over the past fortnight, but Hibberd has been the man trusted to handle Brisbane livewire Charlie Cameron in the past. The veteran might get the nod this week to blanket Cameron's impact again. Elsewhere, Melbourne needs to make a call on whether Jordon returns to the midfield. Sparrow would appear his likely replacement, but has earned his place recently. Expect Sparrow to hold his position. Melksham and Jones are also in the frame. – Riley Beveridge

Michael Hibberd chats with coach Simon Goodwin at Melbourne training on August 23, 2021. Picture: Getty Images


B: Darcy Gardiner, Harris Andrews, Brandon Starcevich
HB: Daniel Rich, Marcus Adams, Grant Birchall
C: Hugh McCluggage, Jarrod Berry, Mitch Robinson
HF: Lincoln McCarthy, Dan McStay, Dayne Zorko
F: Charlie Cameron, Joe Daniher, Tom Fullarton
Foll: Oscar McInerney, Lachie Neale, Jarryd Lyons
I/C: Keidean Coleman, Zac Bailey, Callum Ah Chee, Nakia Cockatoo
Emerg: Ryan Lester, Rhys Mathieson, Tom Berry, Connor Ballenden 

In: Mitch Robinson, Harris Andrews
Jaxon Prior, Ryan Lester 

UNAVAILABLE: Cam Rayner (knee), Eric Hipwood (knee)

NOTES: With Andrews and Robinson coming back from minor niggles, the biggest headache for Chris Fagan and his match committee is who makes way at the defensive end. Melbourne generally plays with three tall forwards, Bayley Fritsch as a hybrid and a small brigade led by Kysaiah Pickett. Although the Lions play a zone, they need a balanced backline to combat this. In Andrews, Adams and Gardiner, the three talls are in place, meaning either Ryan Lester or Keidean Coleman are likely to be the unlucky omission. Lester is a nice match for Fritsch and would be a worthy retention, but Coleman's combination of creativity and the lockdown ability he's shown in recent weeks might just add a touch of flexibility. It's a line-ball call. - Michael Whiting

03:37 Mins
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First elimination final
Western Bulldogs v Essendon at University of Tasmania Stadium, 3.20pm AEST


B: Taylor Duryea, Alex Keath, Bailey Williams
HB: Easton Wood, Zaine Cordy, Bailey Dale
C: Josh Dunkley, Adam Treloar, Lachie Hunter
HF: Caleb Daniel, Tim English, Bailey Smith
F: Tom Liberatore, Aaron Naughton, Cody Weightman
R: Stefan Martin, Jack Macrae, Marcus Bontempelli
I/C: Jason Johannisen, Mitch Hannan, Laitham Vandermeer, Roarke Smith
Emerg: Anthony Scott, Lewis Young, Josh Schache, Lachie McNeil

In: Stefan Martin
Out: Lewis Young

UNAVAILABLE: Josh Bruce (knee), Hayden Crozier (concussion), Toby McLean (knee), Ed Richards (shoulder

NOTES: Predicting the Bulldogs line-up is tough at any point, let alone in a knockout final after three successive losses. Does Luke Beveridge back in his men or spin the magnets again for a roll of the dice? He has spoken cautiously about bringing in Stefan Martin but the Bulldogs need some ruck firepower against Essendon's Sam Draper. Crozier and Richards have been ruled out after injuries in last week's scratch match. Anthony Scott seems best placed to be the Dogs' medical substitute if they stick with Hannan and Roarke Smith– Callum Twomey

Stef Martin at Western Bulldogs training on June 16, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos


B: Mason Redman, Jayden Laverde, Tom Cutler
HB: Dyson Heppell, Jordan Ridley, Nick Hind
C: Kyle Langford, Zach Merrett, Nik Cox 
HB: Will Snelling, Aaron Francis, Dylan Shiel
F: Jake Stringer, Peter Wright, Devon Smith
R: Sam Draper, Darcy Parish, Andrew McGrath
I/C: James Stewart, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Archie Perkins, Alec Waterman
Emerg: Sam Durham, Jye Caldwell, Matt Guelfi, Andrew Phillips

In: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Nik Cox, Kyle Langford
Out: Dylan Clarke, Sam Durham, Matt Guelfi

UNAVAILABLE: Michael Hurley (hip), Harrison Jones (foot), Zach Reid (back)

NOTES: There will be some desperately unlucky players at Essendon if the Bombers make changes this week for the clash with the Bulldogs. The club is still weighing up McDonald-Tipungwuti's readiness to return after personal issues while Langford needs to pass the required fitness tests to be given the all-clear after his hamstring setback. Cox should be back after being managed in recent weeks and last week being the medical substitute. Guelfi has had a strong run of games while Durham, too, has impressed since coming into the side as a wingman but Essendon might have to make some hard decisions at the selection table. If it went this way Guelfi would be the ideal substitute. – Callum Twomey

07:32 Mins
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