It’s September in Melbourne and that can only mean one thing; AFL finals are here, and it’s time for the footy to get serious.
Eagles 100 def Crows 71
This one was a shock. With Naitanui out injured, I didn’t expect the Eagles to be able to put one over on the Crows – who had a top 2 spot and home final to play for. Adelaide’s much vaunted forward line really didn’t fire a shot, as their midfield couldn’t provide them the service they needed – out worked by the likes of Priddis, Gaff, and Shuey – while journeyman ruckman Jonathan Giles, in just his third game for the season, gave big Sam Jacobs a touch up in the ruck. The Crows will now have to win 4 games in a row to win the flag – slipping to fifth, and an elimination final against the Kangaroos. The Crows have been the form team of the comp – but maybe they’ve had us all fooled. The Crows record against top 8 teams this season is not great. They’ve won 4 and lost 6 – and conceded more points against top 8 teams than all the other finalists except North Melbourne. There will be some who say this is the loss they needed to have before the finals – but I disagree. You would much prefer finishing second to fifth.
Just a quick review from me this week, as I start tapering for finals action. The 8 should now be set – with just final positions to be determined, though there is one Mathematically Possible chance remaining. I’ve done a few quick sums, and if North lose to the Giants by around 150 points and the Saints beat the Lions by about the same, the Saints can leapfrog the Roos into 8th spot.
Just two home and away games to go, and the clustermuck at the top of the ladder is still no closer to sorting itself out. As we’ve postulated for weeks here at Holding Steadfast – percentage looks ever more likely to be the difference between your side having a double chance, or potentially having to take on the Eagles in Perth in an elimination final. An intriguing couple of weeks await us, and the big names of the competition are starting to really dial in – match winners like Franklin, Betts and Rioli are really starting to hit peak form, and we’re going to get a good look at some of the young GWS stars in a finals atmosphere. I’m looking forward to the finals this year – even if my team looks desperately unlucky to make the cut despite winning on the weekend. Just percentage and 10 wins short… there’s always next year I guess. But more on Essendon later.
I’m back from my 2 week self imposed sanction – and after a relaxing ten days in the South Pacific, isn’t it great to be back in the beautiful state of Victoria enjoying cold weather and footy? That’s rhetorical – I really don’t need you to answer that.
Round 19 was full of milestones, broken records and Jack Watts playing well.
Round 18 saw some horrific injuries, some great footy, and much needed win for the struggling Lions.
It felt like a long weekend of footy this weekend. We started on Thursday night, again, when 42,000 plus showed up to watch the Swans bottle it against #freekickhawthorn at the SCG. Big Horse Longmire cleverly alluded to his sides “lack of discipline” when he raised the free kick differential in the post match press conference – pointing out a 13 to 3 difference at three quarter time. TV umpires around the country once again took great delight in pointing out the number of goals received from free kicks and 50 metre penalties to the Poos and Wees as they try and find reasons for Hawthorn winning that don’t contain the words “better than the other team”.
Hawthorn 11.9.75 def
Two thirds of the way through the season, and while we’re still pretty tight at the top as far as the ladder goes, I think we’re a bit closer to deciding on our premiership contenders.
AFL Round 15 Review
All teams have now completed their byes, and the log jam on the ladder continues. The Hawks top the tree – but waiting for a slip up right behind them are 6 teams – just a game back, separated only by percentage. This shapes to be the most exciting finish to a season in many years – and there is still no clear premiership favourite. Incredibly – early season ladder leaders North Melbourne could be in 8th place next week if they lose to West Coast, and we look on course for the first ever September Battle of the Bridge.