Sep 05, 2019

AFL

A highly unhelpful guide to Finals Week One

7 Comments

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 Finals Week One.

Thursday

West Coast vs Essendon (OS) Seven & Fox  8:10pm All Times AEST

The Eagles loss to Hawthorn was the equivalent of getting hammered the night before exams, it just makes everything that bit harder.

The Hawthorn game certainly raised a lot of questions about West Coast. It’s not that they lost, it was how they lost. Like me being forced to watch The Bachelor, it was hard for them to hide their disinterest.

Still, the Eagles still are a team used to finals and loaded with talent, so it’s hardly beyond them and luckily the Grand Final isn’t held in the one spot every year giving an unfair advantage to teams that use it as a home ground.

I’ve been to a West Coast home final and it’s terrifying. It’s incredibly loud and you’re in dangerous proximity to an alarming number of Eagles fans. 

My team went over there for a final and have never been seen since.

The Bombers haven’t won a final in 5479 days. It was all the way back on 4 September 2004.

Mark Latham was opposition leader when Essendon last won a final. Since then, both have mined the depths of new lows, the only difference is the Bombers show signs of coming out of it.

Essendon have already shown signs they’re on the right path, with Anthony ‘The only Essendon player I’ve ever liked’ McDonald-Tipungwuti re-signing recently.

A win here and it would be worth avoiding Bombers fans for all of next week.

Not that I’m too worried, I think the Eagles will win here.

Friday

Geelong vs Collingwood (MCG) Seven & Fox 7:50pm

First of all, I want to recognise Geelong’s stoicism in the face of this being at the MCG and not a Kardinia Park. They could have spent the week leading up to this complaining, distracting them from the job at hand, but that’s not Chris Scott’s style. He wouldn’t set up excuses in advance of a game, just in case things didn’t go well.

And why would you need to set up excuses when your team has such a wonderful record in finals recently?

The Cats started the season better than even the most optimistic Geelong supporter could have hoped. Then they met their arch-rival the bye and have since been about as consistent as Taylor Swift’s Reputation album.

Still, there’s no doubt when they’re on they can beat any side and if they get close to their early season form, they could win everything.

It’s hard to judge the Cats form, and before placing any wagers, I’d hoped to speak to Jaidyn Stephenson, but he hasn’t been returning my calls. 

The Pies are in the main in good health (for them, it’s all relative). You of course know it’s finals because there’s been more written about Darcy Moore’s hamstrings than any other issue occurring in the world at the moment.

This is a good sign the media know what’s important in life.

We spent the week learning how Nathan Buckley learnt to become an excellent coach in that documentary. A lot of people saw this as a heart-warming tale of the human ability to improve, to follow the better angels of our nature.

However, given this has led to Collingwood being a much-improved side, I saw it as more terrifying than the Saw movies combined.

I’m tipping the Pies here, but anyone could win this.

Saturday

Greater Western Sydney vs Western Bulldogs (GS) Seven & Fox 3:20pm

These two already have history in the finals, but they both bring very different form.

The Giants seemed more lost than a middle age man in a department store in the second half of the year, while the Bulldogs were on fire.

The Doggies making the finals in red hot form has been welcomed by the other finalists like a case of chlamydia. You’d much prefer to be facing one of the Adelaide sides.

Greater Western Sydney have at least signed Stephen Coniglio, a massive vote of confidence in the club. Coniglio said he felt like he was cheating on his girlfriend when he spoke to Alastair Clarkson about going to Hawthorn.

Which raises the question, how does he know what that feels like?  

There’s never been any doubt about the Giants’ talent but their ability to deliver under pressure is in question. They need to win here, or more questions will be asked, or worse, they’ll end up with Ross Lyon.

The Bulldogs are still a bit of an unknown quantity with their youth, but their ability to pour on goals unanswered was frankly terrifying at times.

Personally, I worry about the Bulldogs winning a premiership so soon after the last one. Most Doggies supporters haven’t even sobered up from 2016, another premiership and they could explode on the spot.

I’m tipping the Doggies here.

Brisbane vs Richmond (G) Seven & Fox 7:25pm

Richmond handled the Lions relatively easily in Round 23, showing the gap the Lions need to make up to be true premiership contenders.

The Tigers are Premiership favourites, at least that’s what I’ve been telling every Richmond supporter I’ve spoken to, just to watch them get all nervous and annoyed.

It’s the little things that make life bearable.

Worryingly for the Lions, Dylan Grimes hasn’t let go of Charlie Cameron since that Round 23 game. Cameron had to drag him to the shops and to training over the last fortnight. I’m told the flight back to Brisbane was especially uncomfortable.

The Lions haven’t played in a final for ten years, but I’m not sure that means what people sometimes say it does. You either win finals or you don’t. No one knows how a team will go until they’re in it.

Brisbane have so much talent it all comes down to how they handle the pressure. I’ve no advice here. I handle pressure by staying in my house surfing the web and hoping everyone forgets my existence.

In a job interview once, the pressure got to me so much that when they asked me if I wanted water, coffee or tea, I said ‘good thanks.’

What the Lions do have is confidence. Get a group of twenty-year-old men together and you have so much confidence you could power several large cities, no need for any other sustainable energy solutions.

I’m tipping the Lions.

Titus has shows coming up in Hobart and Brisbane. Tickets available here: http://www.frontiercomedy.com/titusoreily   

Titus’ new book Please, Gamble Irresponsibly: The rise, fall and rise of sport gambling in Australia will be out on 5th November 2019. You can pre-order it now.

COMMENTS

Fellow Demons Tragic

Sep 05, 2019

Great show in Perth last week. The golden nugget from the night - "Sport doesn't watch itself!"

Mikey

Sep 05, 2019

Quite liked the concept of free agency for couples. Good show, Titus.
Hate the prospect of playing the Bombers almost as much as the Hawks.

Shania Twain

Sep 05, 2019

Glad you picked up on Chris Scott's weird attempts at positioning and deflecting over the past 2 weeks. The latest is talking about how well he reckons they'll do next year! It does seem a bit like strange attempts at trying to set up excuses in case they flop again. Whatever he's trying to do, I don't think any coach has wandered down that path and it does not project confidence.

Capt’n Cook

Sep 06, 2019

With the Endeavour in dock and on the slip for the next six months, I
Spent yesterday morning rowing the tender from Fremantle upriver to Optus Stadium taking in the sights then anchoring at the Matagarup Bridge to watch some dolphins frolic and catch up on the news care of the West.
Then there is was, front page, a full size picture of Nicnat’s right ankle with boot and sock. This morning, his hair at full stretch!
Also, I hear a poly did a bunk in the middle of the debate on euthanasia to attend last night’s game.
Couldn’t help thinking that Bryce Courtney had true insight when he penned:
”you may think poetry should be more important than football, the fact is it is not.”

Lucy

Sep 07, 2019

I’m going to suggest that you have never, in fact, been forced to watch The Bachelor. If you had, it wouldn’t be disinterest you were displaying it would be horror at the sheer evil that program represents.

Flank Rroyd Wlight

Sep 07, 2019

@ LUCY: There's a difference between disinterest(ed) and uninterest(ed).

The first describes impartiality (what judges are supposed to embody). The second describes finding the subject dull and unlikely retain one's attention.

Frosty from Collingwood

Sep 09, 2019

Titus - thank you for "Which raises the question, how does he know what that feels like? "
Too many so-called writers and commentators reach for the misunderstood cliche "begs the question" when in fact it does not - it raised the question. Begging the question is when you ask a question based on an assumed but unproven premise - the classic being "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?", or "Mr Titus, now that Melbourne are out of the finals, will you be barracking for Collingwood again?".

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