Sep 01, 2022
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.
Brisbane vs. Richmond (G) 7:20pm Seven/Fox
Say goodbye to everyone for the next four weeks, because the finals are here, the most wonderful time of the year.
It’s the time of the year when you can say to your child ‘sorry, we’re moving your birthday to October, and stop crying.’
Seven top teams and the Western Bulldogs will compete for the premiership, and we begin in Brisbane and with a finals eve scandal.
The scandal is that the returning from injury Dustin Martin, was filmed groping an exotic dancer a few years ago and now the footage has emerged.
It’s always the people you least expect.
It’s apparently from 2017, which is fine, it was a different time back then.
Personally, I’m ok with groping, as long as it’s done in a classy, consensual manner.
I’m not sure if that was the case here but treating women like normal human beings is a bar many blokes find a difficult one to jump, especially athletes, which is weird as you’d think they’d be good at jumping.
The timing of the release of the footage is interesting, almost like a political campaign tactic designed to knock an opponent off balance before they get any momentum.
What an exciting development. We may soon get scandals ahead of every final, combining every football fans two favourite things.
Martin is returning despite being only 80 per cent fit, which is the best new the Lions have had recently.
Brisbane are coming off a match where they got belted by the Demons, had Cam Rayner suspended, and their captain Dayne Zorko had to spend the next week apologising to anyone who would listen, which wasn’t that many people.
This is not ideal preparation ahead of facing a team that has won its past four matches and ran all over you early in the year, despite being down 36-points at half-time.
The difference between the two sides is that when the pressure is on, Tom Lynch is one of the best in the game, while Brisbane fans have to proactively put up ‘missing’ posters for their key forwards.
The great thing about football is this can always be turned around, but in this case, I can’t see it happening, I’m tipping Richmond.
Melbourne vs. Sydney (MCG) 7:50pm Seven/Fox
If you’re an idiotic Demons nuffy like me, a person who values your Football Club’s achievements more than any of your own, playing the Swans in the first week terrifies you.
I was there in round twelve when the Swans, sans Buddy Franklin, out pressured the Demons and made them look as impotent as a man that wears a hat everywhere despite it going out of fashion decades ago.
My intense analysis of that game identified a weakness in the Demons gameplan, their decision to basically stop scoring after half time.
This to me seems to be something the Demons should consider not doing in this game.
Personally, my game plan would be for any team in these finals:
· Kick lots of goals;
· Kick them in each and every quarter;
· Never stop kicking goals;
· Limit the opposition to less goals than you; and
· Have more points than the other team when that last siren goes.
These are simple points, but teams forget them all the time.
Melbourne’s forward line has been its weakness all season, and while Brisbane helped them out by pushing their defence up the field so the Demons could run into an empty forward fifty repeatedly, it’s unlikely the Swans will be so helpful.
The Swans are certainly in good form, but it’s harder to read than it appears.
They’ve won seven games in a row, but it’s a mixed bag. Wins over the Bulldogs, Fremantle and Collingwood are in there, but so are victories over North, the Giants, and St Kilda.
And against St Kilda they struggled.
Plus, they lost to Essendon before that which is never a good sign for anyone.
But this is just wishful thinking from me, I think the Swans are going to get up, or at least I’m hoping my tipping them will jinx them, which works more often than you’d think.
Geelong vs. Collingwood (MCG) 4:35pm Seven/Fox
Collingwood travels to Geelong’s home ground for this enormous match-up, with both sides in great form.
The Pies have won 12 out of their last 13, which is good, but the Cats have won 13 out of their last 13, which my maths suggest is better.
Geelong of course are old, and like all old people, they probably spent the week worrying about parking at the game instead of focusing on their opponent.
But they’re also the best team at the moment by some margin. Collingwood are famous for winning the close ones, so the Cats manage that by often not letting the game get close. Clever.
Collingwood did get close back in Round 3, but lost, but that was a different Pies outfit.
Under Craig McRae, Collingwood has gone from being a source of joy for me to a terrifying force.
I guess all those black and white flags being flown from cars after a Pies win just reminds me too much of an ISIS convoy.
I never thought I’d say this but bring Eddie back.
While the Pies turnaround has been impressive, Geelong’s significant improvement this season has been less noticeable, but additions like Tyson Stengle have made a huge difference.
Stengle is a great example of how you can turn things around through hard work.
That example makes me uncomfortable. I prefer to blame others for my problems.
I’m tipping the Cats.
Fremantle vs. Western Bulldogs (OS) 8:10pm Seven/Fox
I hope the Western Bulldogs sent flowers to Carlton after round 23 because only the supreme efforts of the Blues got the Doggies into the finals.
But the Doggies know that once you’re on the finals starting grid, it’s a whole new race.
Fremantle would be less pleased, the Blues implosion cost them a top-four spot.
The Dockers haven’t been to the finals in seven years, meaning there are kids in primary school that are experiencing this for the first time.
These sides met as recently as Round 21, with the Dockers winning at Marvel Stadium.
Part of the Bulldogs problem will be their defence, which less tries to stop people and more waves at them as they pass by.
Fremantle doesn’t have that problem, but they peaked in the middle of the season, which is not the best timing.
Both teams announced key outs for this game, with the definition of dodgy hamstrings, Nat Fyfe out and Simpsons aficionado Tom Liberatore also unable to play.
Bailey Smith, the only man to combine a cocaine/headbutting suspension, is likely to play despite training away from the main team this week.
I can’t see the Dockers losing this at home, but then I remind myself that this is the Dockers, so of course, it’s highly likely.
But I’m going to tip Freo and ride the wave of emotion that follows.
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