Finals Week 1 AFL Preview - Qualifying & Elimination Finals
AFL FINALS WEEK 1
Here we are at the pointy end of the season. Not quite the tip of the spear, but the long handle and grip of the spear is behind us now and we are at the bit where the spear widens into a blade like structure before compressing to a tip, and this is exactly the part of the spear that leaves us wondering why we chose spears as an analogy for the season in the first place.
Perhaps if we consider the Phalanx, which hold the spears…nope. That’s no good either.
The season is a lot like a Trireme as we
row towards the
In any event, the season is over and just as spears have been replaced by more exciting weaponry, the regular season has been replaced by a more exciting and cut-throat version we call finals.
The All-Australian team was announced in the week off and was met with the usual joy and derision that accompanies it every year. It’s a great idea in principle. Name a team of players that will never play a game and let everyone tell you that you got it wrong because someone they liked wasn’t in there or someone they don’t like was in there, or that you got it right for the same reasons. It’s a story that writes itself. Sometimes I feel like the AFL media industry operates in much the same ways as PwC writing Tax policies or KPMG consulting to Defence departments. A single initial piece of work can, by its very nature, spawn hundreds more consulting/editorial hours. Even this is a prime example. Now that I’ve opened the door, next week I can write all about Pikes, Halberds, Tridents and even Britney’s.
Turning our eye to the footy and we have four tantalizing match ups to dive into as we look to turn 8 teams into 6 by weeks end. Some dubious scheduling sees us start on a Thursday Night which I’m not all that impressed about and no Sunday action either which is like a double blow. But I’ll get over it and the excitement of the games within the games will make for compulsory viewing.
Collingwood vs Melbourne MCG Thursday Night
Minor premiers Collingwood will get a
chance to prove their worth against 4th place
One End of the Ground
May and Lever are the Key posts and then
the floaters in defence are
The Other End of the Ground
Van Rooyen and Fritch are the main targets
up forward, but Melbourne have a host of other support acts in Spargo, Schache,
McDonald, Neal-Bullen, and Pickett to name a few with excellent support from a
midfield that knows how to score.
Collingwood will rely on Moore and Murphy to try and shut down the main
targets and be supported by Quaynor, Maynard, Noble and Howe. The remaining small defenders in the
Collingwood arsenal are more like attaching half-backs so this is a point that
Both teams have talented midfields all with
Collingwood have won 3 of the last 5 over
The consequences for this match are polar
opposites. Win it and you get a week off
and (likely) face Port Adelaide in a Prelim at the MCG. Lose it and you (likely) will face
I’ve looked at the stats, rubbed the lamp
and consulted the Magic Mirror. All I
found was that stat’s lie, Genie’s don’t exist and I’m not the Fairest of them
all. So, I’m left with a blind stab in
What crazy machinations the season threw up
for us. Were it not for a dodgy
‘touched’ call for that Petracca goal,
The Coleman medalist plus some minor support staff go up against a rag-tag team of defenders held together by a bit of craft glue and some duct tape. Duct tape is strong stuff, but Curnow is a one-man wrecking ball. Which way will that go?
The Other End
Weitering and Marchbank trying to contain a
rag-tag team of forwards who lost their key post along the way to the scourge
of all footballers – old age. But this
For this match, the game will be won or
lost right here. Cripps, it would seem
is a man who operates at Finals level match.
When recording centre clearances, the record keeper needed take his
finger off the button…just hold it down.
Nimbly supported by a classy group of names like Walsh, Acres and Cerra
and this is a very difficult unit to stop.
Saint Kilda vs Greater
Another day, another tantalizing contest. Footy is better with Ross Lyon in it and he has made great inroads to get Saint Kilda back to finals immediately. Meanwhile Kinglsey’s men have had a powerful finish to the season and, not to big-note myself, but you may remember as far back as 9 weeks ago I said GWS would make the finals and I was right. I shouldn’t big-note myself. Really, it was my statistical leviathan that made the call. Anyway, the main point of interest here is that these two teams have never met on the hallowed turf of the MCG. With no real history to go on, lets look at the field.
The All-Australian Full back (Wilkie)
versus the All-Australian Forward and Captain (Greene). It could be said that Wilkie benefits from
The Other End
GWS have a handful of great defenders who will have their hands full with the likes of Phillipou and Caminiti.
Saint Kilda are the highest possession team of them all, averaging 34 possession per goal whereas GWS averages 30 which is also very high. Will this be the biggest game of keepy-off yet seen in all of space and time? We will see.
The home ground advantage for Saint Kilda has been taken away from them with the need to hold this match at the MCG. They’ve only played there twice this year, but that’s one more time than GWS and that was not a pleasant experience for them, but in the later part of the year they certainly seemed to have more of an anywhere/anytime attitude, and I think their brand stacks up better than Saint Kilda’s in a final. GWS by 9 points.
Brisbane vs Port Adelaide Gabba Saturday Night
They got there in the end.
Daniher, McCarthy, Hipwood, Cameron versus Jonas, Houston, Aliir and Bergman. It’s a tantalizing match up but I don’t think pivotal to the outcome.
The Other End
Rioli, Finlayson, Marshall, Powell-Pepper
(not sure if
This is the battle we are waiting to
watch. Both teams have elite midfields
with a host of names that could be reeled off; Rayner, Rozee, Neale, Butters
(really spreads well), McCluggage, Horne-Francis. This midfield battle is dripping with
intrigue. On a humid
The consequences for this match are Win and
it’s a home preliminary final in