Sep 20, 2018
A highly unhelpful guide to AFL Finals Week Three
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 Three.
Richmond v Collingwood (MCG) 7:50 AEST
The last time these two met in the finals was the 1980 Grand Final when the Tigers belted the Pies to the tune of 81 points.
Richmond enjoyed that premiership so much they forgot to win another premiership until last year.
A lot has changed in 38 years, but some things have not. In 1980, you couldn’t buy tickets on the internet, and you still can’t today.
With such a long gap since they last met in the post-season, anticipation for this is off the charts, to the point where I had people ringing me for tickets.
It’s a sign of how desperate people are. People normally go to enormous lengths to avoid speaking to me; even telemarketers get off the phone pretty quickly once they realise it’s me.
I even had a Jehovah’s Witness ask if he could leave the other day.
But in came the calls, like I was the Immigration Minister and a bunch of au pairs had got stuck in detention again.
The only thing as big as the anticipation for this match will be the police presence.
These two clubs play the MCG as well as anyone, Richmond because they never lose there anymore, and the Pies style is design for it.
Richmond spent the week denying that Dustin Martin had a serious injury, instead referring to it as a ‘significant corkie’.
He’ll probably be fine, and it wouldn’t be a prelim without intrigue surrounding an injury.
Dusty on one leg is better than most players anyway.
Collingwood has got this far with everyone underestimating them. It’s time we stopped that. Perhaps if we start treating them seriously, they’ll wilt under pressure.
We can only hope because things are getting pretty desperate. The Pies are one win from a Grand Final and two wins from a premiership.
Not since we found a couple of Japanese mini-subs in Sydney Harbour have I felt so under attack.
Collingwood has got here by being not only a highly motivated team but also filled with criminally underrated players.
And yes, that is the first time ‘criminally’, and ‘Collingwood’ has been used in a sentence positively.
That said, I’m tipping Richmond here, they’re Premiers for a reason, they’ve had a great season, and quite frankly, they terrify me.
West Coast v Melbourne (OS) 1:20 AWST
While Collingwood has been underrated all season, they Eagles have been disrespected for a team that finished second and won away from home too.
Yes, I’m partially talking them up in the hope of jinxing them, but it’s also true.
The Eagles only got mentioned in Victoria this year when Andrew Gaff got suspended and even then, it was opinion pieces along the lines of ‘How will this affect his trade back to Victoria?’
If the Eagles win this, they’ll get mentioned in the Victorian media a lot, with headlines like ‘EXCLUSIVE: The Eagles took drugs ages ago, and we’re bringing it up again to try and distract them.”
Melbourne, on the other hand, are being hyped beyond belief which is driving me mad.
Let’s not forget, the Eagles finished second and playing at Optus Stadium isn’t easy, let alone when a Grand Final on the line.
There have been complaints in Melbourne that West Coast has a huge advantage playing this at home, but then, that’s the way it’s meant to work, with the top two sides getting home field advantage. I hadn’t realised this was news to people.
I’m not sure why you’d complain about the team that finished up getting home field advantage. I mean, what are you going to complain about next? That MCG-based teams get a home Grand Final no matter where they finish on the ladder?
Despite not having home-field advantage, Melbourne is playing a ‘brand of football that stands up in finals’. At least, that’s what I’ve heard a lot of footy commentators say, so it must be true.
Either way, this is going to be a great game.
Both sides attack. The Eagles forwards present any defence with problems, while Melbourne’s midfield is so full-on they’re like the person at the party who has just downed two Martini Espressos and is now insisting everyone must dance.
Personally, having my own team involved is freaking me out. Since I started writing, my team has never been in the finals, let alone a Preliminary Final, so this is all new to me.
Is it normal to have a dream one night that we win and one when we lose the next night?
Is it also normal for your heart to start beating really fast all of a sudden and then you have to calm yourself by watching the replay again but then you get too excited, and you start pacing around the house like a crazed gym instructor? Asking for a friend.
I’m tipping the Eagles here. This was close the last time they played, and that time Darling was injured early, and Kennedy didn’t play.
Even so, I’m excited for wheels up on the Gulfstream and to head west, chasing glory in the land made famous by Cosima De Vito.
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