What a fitting finale to the season.  The buildup was wonderful, the parade was delightful, the pre-game entertainment was on point and the match itself was absolutely riveting.  Of course, all of this is now lost.  The AFL used to be great.  A team would win the big match and that success could be reveled in for months.  Here we are, merely two days after what was described as the greatest grand final in recent memory and the AFL top stories have already moved on to trade news.  Reading articles today, I’m wondering if the 2023 season even happened at all?  I often wonder what the point of it all is if the success can’t be enjoyed with a bit of clear space for at least a week.  It’s a bit like sitting through the visual delight of a Kiss concert and not seeing the trademark guitar smash…!

The match was a pulsating display and certainly worthy of a great season.  With 10 lead changes during the game, the largest margin being 13 points and the result not a certainty until the final 10 seconds, you couldn’t have asked for more.  Whether you were an invested supporter or a neutral observer you would have to say it was an epic encounter.  Admittedly if you’re a Brisbane supporter you would feel a bit of a sting to come so close and yet fall short. 

In the post-match Fagan said they were just entering their window, even though they have been at Semi-Final or better for the last 4 seasons.  I actually agree with him.  The likelihood is that there was some over-achievement in 2020/2021 due to the Covid situation and the additional games played in Brisbane so I think Lions supporters could take some confidence that they can reload next year with some additional experience under their belts.  Sorry, Brisbane supporters…not much I say here is going to help.

Collingwood supporters will be happy, and their company is probably best avoided for the next week or two.  At least wait until the redness around their tattoo subsides.  The reality of the match was that it was a pretty dominant performance during the Grand Final by the Pies.  30 scoring shots to 21 will tell you that.  Inaccuracy from the Pies and uncanny accuracy from the Lions kept the game closer than perhaps it should have been.  I’ll avoid umpire controversy but needless to say there are always calls that you can scrutinise.  If you’re hanging your hat on a bad decision costing you the match, you probably need to find a different sport to follow because AFL will do that to you on a weekly basis…just ask Ben Keays.

Bobby Hill was a deserved winner of the Norm Smith although Coleman definitely had it in his hands at half time.

So, that’s a wrap on 2023.  We saw Gather Round officially kicked off, the lights turned off at the Gabba, countless dubious goal reviews, a lot of tackling suspensions, the second best ruckman in the league unable to get a game, a hum-dinger of a battle for both the cup and the one for the spoon, the retirement of one of the greatest players the game will see, a surge from the big big sound in the west, an unstoppable train meet an immovable object and a coach without any sizzle in his sausage, suddenly find 6 more years of sizzle when the money was right.  Gil leaves the game after the longest succession plan in AFL history and a season that continued to build to a fantastic crescendo not seen since Beethoven.

It's been a pleasure bringing you the previews for the year and hopefully imparting some dubious wisdom interspersed with the odd groan or guffaw.  See you next year for Round 1.


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