Real-estate guru John McGrath has judged every room on The Block, alongside Belle magazine editor-in-chief Neale Whitaker, but the ultimate winner isn't up to them. That decision will be made by buyers at the upcoming auction — but John has shared his inside tips on which couple might win.
John's top picks are Josh and Jenna, who've won four room reveals — more than any other couple in the history of The Block.
"They have an outstanding sense of style and design which fits well with the target market," says John. "The house has a clearly retro theme and I'm amazed at the quality and professional level of their design."
Josh was impressed with the execution of their garden and says it will appeal to young professionals wanting to buy into up-and-coming Richmond. However, the couple haven't been without fault.
"They screwed up the presentation of a couple of rooms, and they know that," John says.
John believes Polly and Waz may have played it too safe. "I'm not sure that this was the right way to go. They were slightly more conservative, despite trying a few things," he says.
"They have created a good 'steady eddy' property, but it would surprise me if they won. The other three couples are more likely to end up the best."
John adds that Polly and Waz were responsible for what he reckons is one of the biggest shockers of the season, calling their wall graphics of a microphone and a bird on a wire "terrible".
John says sisters Katrina and Amie could also take out the title, despite making a mistake with their second bedroom.
"Making the second bedroom into a full-on study was a mistake," says John. "Having flexibility would have been a safer way to go."
But he believes the sisters finished on a high after a shaky beginning.
"Their living room and kitchen is as good as any and they have a fantastic back area," he says. "They've got an eclectic style that may not suit everyone, but there are going to be a couple of people that like it. I think they've done a great job despite the fact that they didn't win a lot of rooms."
According to John, Josh and Jenna's stiffest competition comes from Rod and Tania, who he's dubbed the "dark horses" of The Block.
"They have gone quite a different way by being slightly suburban, and I'm not sure the entire marketplace will be attracted to their style, but you only need two people who like it," he says.
John adds that Rod and Tania executed their property better than anyone else. They scored 18.5 out of 20 in the judge's final verdict, the highest score of the season.
But John knows all the couples are still in the running, because the reserve prices of the houses are yet to be revealed — and the couple who makes the most above their reserve will be the winners.
The betting at online bookmaker sportsbet.com.au suggests that punters agree with John McGrath's prediction. Josh and Jenna are the short-priced favourites at $1.90, slightly in front Rod and Tania at $3.00, with Polly and Waz and Katrina and Amie bringing up the rear at $5.50 and $6.00 respectively.