AFL grand final: Melbourne Brownlow medallist Shane Woewodin backs Demons to defeat Western Bulldogs

Erin HarwoodThe West Australian
Shane Woewodin for Melbourne sheds a tear after losing the 2000 AFL grand final for Melbourne.
Camera IconShane Woewodin for Melbourne sheds a tear after losing the 2000 AFL grand final for Melbourne. Credit: GSP Images/AFL Photos/GSP

Brownlow medallist Shane Woewodin was playing the last time Melbourne made a grand final, but the former Demons star has backed his old club to do what he couldn’t, and break a premiership drought that now extends to 57 years.

The Perth-raised Woewodin, who played in the Demons’ grand final loss to Essendon in 2000, the same year he won the Brownlow, thought this year’s team looked well prepared and labelled them “the best defensive team in the competition”.

“I’ve been really impressed with what Melbourne are doing without the ball and what their defence looks like across the ground,” Woewodin told The West Live.

“When the opposition have it and how they strangle and deny the team, I certainly think that, along with the contest, will be really important for them.”

Sunday night’s Brownlow Medal count highlighted the upcoming rivalry between Bulldogs skipper Marcus Bontempelli and Demons midfielder Clayton Oliver, polling second and third to Port Adelaide’s Ollie Wines with 33 and 31 votes respectively.

Speaking from experience, Woewodin said finals footy comes down to experience, class and physicality.

“No doubt, finals are built on the contest and how good you have to be in that area,” he said.

“That’s one of (Melbourne’s) strengths. But that’s also one of the Western Bulldogs’ strengths as well.”

On the two occasions these sides have met during the year, the Demons were triumphant in Round 11, and the Bulldogs got up in Round 18, albeit in an empty stadium due to COVID restrictions.

There is one thing both teams will have in common on Saturday — no home crowd advantage.

While Woewodin described himself as an “old-fashioned type”, who generally respects the grand final being hosted at the MCG, the East Fremantle product is looking forward to a once-in-a-lifetime big dance in the West.

“We’re very privileged to have this showcase game here,” he said.

“Two great teams, in great form, we couldn’t ask for a better spectacle I reckon.”

To hear Shane Woewodin’s full preview of the game and score prediction, listen to The West Live link above.

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