Sep 11, 2017
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Finals Week One
Footy is a passion, not some cold hearted, spread sheet dominated rational exercise.
On a Monday, you want irrational reaction. You want emotion to trump reason.
What you really want is idiotic hysteria.
You’ve come to the right place.
Adelaide (84) v Greater Western Sydney (48)
There’s nothing like an exciting weekend of finals, and this was certainly nothing like an exciting weekend of finals.
Instead, the AFL decided to cram four games worth of excitement into just the last twenty minutes of the Port Adelaide-West Coast game, leaving the rest devoid of any.
This one was over by half time, with the Giants scoring just 1.5 in the first half, while also losing Jeremy Cameron to a hamstring.
Much was made of Adelaide standing apart during the national anthem, but given how the Giants played, the Crows could have stood around smoking and drinking UDLs and still have won.
It was so one sided that Rory Sloane's appendix caused the Crows more problems than the Giants.
Much like the appendix, the Giants players didn’t seem to do anything particularly useful.
This is what happens when you start an expansion team and don't give them any support.
In reality, the gap between GWS’ talent and their results is wider than the Pacific Ocean.
Immediately after the match, the AFL announced a new 'triple chance' for this year's finals.
For the Crows, this was as perfect a night as it gets, with one major exception, Brodie Smith injured his ACL, ending his year. Footy can be cruel.
Eddie Betts provided the only entertainment of the night, booting three goals, as the Crows made the Giants look like the Suns.
Immediately following the game, the general media consensus was that Adelaide were the team most likely to win the premiership.
Geelong (40) v Richmond (91)
Happy Richmond fans. It’s not something I’m used to seeing and being surrounded by them on Friday night was unsettling.
I’m used to angry Richmond fans, despondent Richmond fans, drunk Richmond fans (sorry for the tautology), but happy?
I felt a lot like Alice in Wonderland, and it wasn’t all just the copious amounts of pharmaceuticals I’ve been taking since Melbourne lost to Collingwood.
Before the game, there was no euphoria, in fact, the MCG was the tensest place in the world, easily beating out the Korean Peninsula.
Unlike on the Korean Peninsula, the Tigers fans knew if the worst happened, they’d remain alive to see it.
Things weren’t helped by a terrible first half of footy that had people describing it as ‘a real arm wrestle’, always code for an awful game.
The Tigers had dominated but weren’t in front by anywhere near what they should have been.
It meant it was a nervous crowd in the third quarter as Geelong started to show signs of waking up.
Unfortunately for the Cats, instead of coming back, it became evident they weren’t up to the task. Joel Selwood looked like someone rushed back far too quickly and the Cats had more passengers than the Richmond bandwagon.
The Tigers though showed no signs of their previously horrendous finals form, in fact, every player with a question mark over their ability under pressure answered it.
There’s no doubt about it; this was easily the best Richmond finals victory I've seen since 2001.
Immediately following the game, the general media consensus was that Richmond were the team most likely to win the premiership.
Sydney (121) v Essendon (56)
Despite Richmond winning the Premiership the night before, the AFL decided to go ahead and allow Sydney to conduct an open training session.
In the opening moments, Joe Daniher took a spectacular mark and slotted a goal; little did Bombers fans know that would be their only highlight of the game.
Ten goals in the second quarter from the Swans made this game about as interesting as Cameron Ling providing ‘insights’.
Buddy Franklin unleashed four goals in the second quarter despite a corked thigh, in a display more terrifying than a clown.
So bad did the second quarter get for Essendon, that the support staff quietly hid the pretzels.
Not since a certain Excel spreadsheet has Essendon lost something so important.
For the Swans, their second quarter dominance meant the second half was almost pointless. In effect, this game means they’ve had two bye weeks in a row.
Immediately following the game, the general media consensus was that Sydney were the team most likely to win the premiership.
Port Adelaide (76) v West Coast (78)
Finally, we got an exciting game after a weekend of blowouts.
Charlie Dixon played an amazing game; he was arguably Port’s best player while also managing to be West Coast’s top defender. Kicking 3.6, Dixon kept the Power in the game early on as he waited for his teammates to show up.
He had to wait a while as the Power decided to forgo the first quarter, which was a strange tactical move.
From then on, the game became a lot closer, with Port slowly pegging back the Eagles lead.
One problem that slowed Port’s comeback was them constantly kicking it to Jeremey McGovern who had 15 marks.
The Eagles were certainly getting the best out of their players, for example, Drew Petrie, who retired in the 90s, played a great game.
At full time, scores were tied, and we were off to extra time.
As in the previous three-quarters, Port somehow manage to dominate much of extra time and still not win.
In fact, the footy gods seemed to keep handing the game to Port, only for them to fumble it.
The key moment was when Luke Shuey got a free kick from 30 metres from goal, with 22 seconds remaining in extra time. It was for a high tackle.
Was it a free? It probably was, although there wasn’t much in it and Shuey has a reputation for making sure tackles become frees, second only to Joel Selwood.
It was borderline enough for Port fans to be disappointed it ended like this.
That said, Port had every chance and not playing the first quarter and kicking for goal like they played for Collingwood were greater reason for the loss.
Immediately following the game, the general media consensus was that West Coast wouldn't win the premiership.
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