Oct 01, 2020
A Highly Unhelpful Guide to AFL Finals Week One
The only guide to the round that admits it’s completely unhelpful. What it lacks in insight, it makes up for with wild theories and detours onto unrelated topics.
It’s your unhelpful guide to AFL Finals Week One.
Port Adelaide v Geelong (AO) 7:40pm Seven
Against all odds, we’ve finally made it to finals. It’s testimony to what a country can do which puts sport above all other things.
Credit also goes to the clubs, the league and the players for disrupting their lives. I can’t imagine what it’s been like. The rest of us been having a great time.
Extra credit goes to the players as a group, who have only broken quarantine rules on about a weekly basis, throwing the entire industry and season in danger. That’s a much lower average than we thought they’d do it when this all started.
As for Port, finally, after a year more consistent than bad news has been in 2020, they get to prove they can mix it in the finals.
There’s a lot to say they can. They have a great structure, and they’ll get to play finals at home in front of fans.
Playing the Cats is never easy though, although, in recent years, Geelong have treated finals as a warmup for their wacky Mad Monday costume party, an event they’ve sometimes put more effort into than winning finals.
Port come into this with some scars however from their Round 12 belting at the hands of the Cats, when Tom Hawkins made their defence look like a group of seven-year-olds playing keepings off with an adult.
On the back of that, I’m tipping Geelong, but this year makes no sense so at all, anything could happen.
Brisbane v Richmond (G) 7:50pm Seven
I like to say this is Richmond’s premiership to lose, as it annoys Tigers fans immensely, which is always fun, but it also probably true.
I’ve rung a few Richmond friends to tell them this week, and they’ve responded angrily. You have to create your own fun in lockdown.
Richmond has come good later in the season and thrashed Brisbane earlier in the season, but they will be going into this without Tom Lynch.
Lynch is out with a hamstring injury, reinforcing my view that AFL players should just not have hamstrings, they get injured too much.
Now, I’m no doctor, but I can’t see having no hamstrings affecting how you play football.
Lynch being out certainly helps the Lions, whose own forward line is as intermittent as the NBN.
One thing the Lions could do to improve their chances is kick straight. In their previous encounter with Richmond, they managed to boot 4.17 in the biggest act of self-destruction I’ve seen outside of my love life.
If I was Chris Fagan, I would tell them not to do that again. It astounds me I don’t get asked to coach.
I’m tipping the Tigers, but if the Lions get their forward line working, there’s no reason they can’t pinch this.
St Kilda v Western Bulldogs (G) 4:40 pm Seven
Previewing a final with St Kilda in it. What an astounding year.
Both these teams will have the ‘Cinderella’ tag applied to them by the Melbourne media if they win this due to them being Victorian and low in the eight.
Collingwood is the only other club to meet that criteria, but being Collingwood, no one ever attaches hopeful, positive terms to them.
St Kilda has made such strides this season that any Saints fan would leave this season happy, but you get the sense Brett Ratten isn’t the type to go home happy with a finals’ loss.
The Saints have been good at times this year, but during their run home, they’ve been patchy. In their last five games, they’re 2-3 but during that time they lost to Melbourne, which counts as two losses in my book, so they’re really 2-6.
The Bulldogs have had a better run into the finals, but they’ve got some injury concerns. They’re rushing back Aaron Naughton from a fractured cheekbone.
That seems intense. If I fractured my cheekbone, which could only really happen to me in some snack related incident, I wouldn’t do anything for a year at least.
Partly that would be physical, but also mental. The idea my modelling career could be over would devastate me.
I’m tipping the Bulldogs.
West Coast v Collingwood (OS) 8:10 pm Seven
The Perth media have been getting stuck into the Pies already, with The West Australian calling them ‘the dirty Pies’.
That sort of thing would never happen in Melbourne’s media towards the Eagles.
I mean, unless you count all the times they’ve bought up the 2006 West Coast Eagles being on drugs, but in fairness, they only do that every single year West Coast are threatening to win the Premiership.
I can’t see Collingwood winning this, the only thing they have on their side is 2020’s love of hurting us.
The Pies style of footy is questionable. I can only assume the players are getting paid per handball, they seem to love overusing it and that would be the most logical explanation I’ve heard of why they do so.
West Coast is certainly good enough to win this before losing next week, that’s how highly I rate them.
Their injuries are not only a concern, but at times this year they’ve been, what’s the word? Awful.
Yet against the Pies, who have for some reason decided having a forward line isn’t necessary, the Eagles should be fine.
My new book Cheat: The Not-so-subtle Art of Conning Your Way to Sporting Glory is now available for pre-order.
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