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Guide to each AFL team's finals keys

AAP logoAAP 7/09/2016

KEY TO YOUR AFL CLUB'S FINALS SERIES SUCCESS:

SYDNEY

Strength: Defence and midfield. The Swans have conceded the least scores of any club. And a hard-edged midfield thrives in the packs. Have also laid the most tackles of any team.

Weakness: Overly-reliant on Lance Franklin to kick a winning score. He's booted 74 goals this season with Isaac Heeney next-best with 26 majors.

Ace: Franklin. A peerless match-winner who loves the big stage.

Wildcard: Kurt Tippett. Is two games back from an eight-match injury absence, but can lead the rucks and snag a goal or two when resting in attack.

GEELONG

Strength: Midfield. Led by Patrick Dangerfield and captain Joel Selwood, the Cats are ranked second in the league for winning centre clearances.

Weakness: Defence. While statistically sound, can renowned backmen Corey Enright, Harry Taylor, Andrew Mackie again turn it on? And can Zac Smith rule the rucks?

Ace: Dangerfield. The Brownlow medal favourite is unstoppable on his day.

Wildcard: Steven Motlop. A gifted forward who can change a game in a twinkling, but can also go missing for large chunks.

HAWTHORN

Strength: Been there, done that. Seeking a fourth flag in a row, the Hawks boast an experienced midfield core led by Sam Mitchell, Luke Hodge and Jordan Lewis who rarely flounder in finals.

Weakness: Form. The Hawks haven't been overly impressive yet still finished third, getting over the line in a series of close games.

Ace: Cyril Rioli. Best-afield in last year's grand final win, if Rioli has an impact his side rarely lose.

Wildcard: James Sicily. Has kicked 29 goals in a breakout season but how will he respond to the finals pressure?

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

Strength: Pace. The Giants' speed is their biggest weapon

Weakness: No finals experience. This is the Giants' first finals campaign and much rests on how the young guns handle the September heat.

Ace: Toby Greene. Has more inside 50s than any Giant this season - and third-most in the league - and has also booted 39 goals.

Wildcard: Stevie Johnson. The Geelong premiership star can turn a game on its head within minutes, but has he got the legs left in him?

ADELAIDE

Strength: Attack. The league's highest-scoring outfit boast enviable riches in attack headlined by Eddie Betts, Taylor Walker and Josh Jenkins.

Weakness: Midfield depth. While the Crows are top-ranked for winning centre clearances, their midfield lacks pace and relies heavily on Rory Sloane and Scott Thompson.

Ace: Betts. The mercurial goalsneak has kicked 66 goals in a sterling season and must be closely tagged by opponents.

Wildcard: Brodie Smith. Much of Adelaide's defensive rebound relies on the dasher, but the Crows struggle if he has minimal output.

WEST COAST

Strength: An attack led by Josh Kennedy (80 goals) and featuring Jack Darling and Mark LeCras demands respect.

Weakness: Rucks. Can they adequately cover the loss of Nic Naitanui when the heat is on?

Ace: Kennedy. The Coleman medallist can win a final off his own boot.

Wildcard: Lewis Jetta. The former Swan can run like the wind, but also can go missing.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

Strength: Team defence. Ranked behind only Sydney and Geelong in terms of scores conceded, the Dogs are a tough nut to crack.

Weakness: They're the lowest scorers of any finalist. And they have a host of injury concerns entering the play-offs.

Ace: Winger Lachie Hunter tops the club for disposals, and is the conduit of most Bulldog attacking sorties.

Wildcard: Jake Stringer. Out of touch, but a potential game-breaker if he can return to form.

NORTH MELBOURNE

Strength: Rucks led by Todd Goldstein. And boast considerable aerial power in attack through Drew Petrie, Ben Brown and Jarrad Waite.

Weakness: Poor form - winners just twice in their past 11 games. And has the pre-announced delistings of favourite sons Brent Harvey, Petrie, Michael Firrito and Nick Dal Santo sucked some spirit?

Ace: Goldstein. He's the most influential ruckman in the finals.

Wildcard: Brown. If the mop-topped attacker gets off the chain, he can swing a game in the Kangas' favour.

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