Sep 19, 2022
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Preliminary Finals
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.
Geelong (120) v Brisbane (40)
This was less a game of footy, and more a chance for Cats fans to get together and have a chat while their team practised some light circle work.
The only nerves for Cats fans came from the fact they’d lost four of their past five Prelims, but there was no chance of that happening here.
Patrick Dangerfield took the opportunity to remind people he hadn’t retired, gathering 28 disposals and kicking two goals, assisted by the Lions applying less pressure than a feather duster.
The Cats are a different side this season; Tyson Stengle’s three goals were a clear sign that they now have far more options than in previous years.
This was Geelong’s 15th consecutive victory, a winning streak that stretched back to May 14th, meaning their last loss was back when Scott Morrison was Prime Minister and most of the Cabinet.
After running all over the Demons last week, it was the Lions that got run over this week.
Brisbane was the platonic ideal of a team that had played their Grand Final last week.
They failed to keep pace, with Joe Daniher, Eric Hipwood and Dan McStay not making it to the ground until the second half.
Joe Daniher could at least hold his head high, finishing Geelong’s best defender after Tom Stewart.
There weren’t many other Lions who could hold their heads high. Lachie Neale finished with a team-best 20 possessions, while everyone’s favourite opposition player, Dayne Zorko, only got the ball 11 times, but he looked angry while doing so.
For Brisbane, it was a bitter end to a season that looked to be in trouble but was rescued by a good finals campaign before whatever this was happened to them.
You could say this shows how far the Lions are off the pace, and you should to Lions supporters; it will annoy them no end.
This result leaves many Victorians with a difficult decision, support a team from Sydney, or a team with Joel Selwood, Patrick Dangerfield and Tom Hawkins in it.
Sydney (95) v Collingwood (94)
Collingwood’s year of living dangerously has come to an end in what was a classic Preliminary Final.
There was a moment in this game when it seemed the only highlight was going to be Brayden Maynard wiping oil off Buddy Franklin's arms, making me question things I’ve never questioned before.
Collingwood were in the game in the first half but couldn’t stop the Swans from strolling forward and scoring with a regularity so alarming it had Pies supporters running to the boundary to voice their displeasure.
I’m not sure why the Pies didn’t want to defend, but it turned out to be a tactical mistake.
The result was that early in the second half, the Swans led by 36 points and the Pies looked done. But this is Collingwood, who make the T-1000 look a bit lazy.
Desperate to turn things around, Craig McRae figured out a way to get Mason Cox off the ground, and suddenly the Pies were surging more than Uber.
Sydney seemed less enamoured with the Pies newfound intensity, and they tensed up worse than I do in a social situation.
As the minutes ticked by, the Swans supporters sensed the danger; what had gone from a lovely stroll in the park had changed into being chased down an alley by members of the Collingwood Football Club.
Then came a key moment that divided opinion, Tom Papley appeared to push Darcy Moore in the back before taking the mark and kicking a vital goal.
For Pies supporters, it seemed another hometown call from the umpires and cost them a place in the Grand Final.
Papley himself says it was a fair mark, and he disposed of Moore legally.
I get the angst; this could have cost the Pies a chance to lose to Geelong in a Grand Final, and while losing to the Swans by a solitary point in a Prelim was great, a Grand Final loss would have been good to watch too.
I did think the Swans got some handy calls, but they also completely outplayed the Pies for large parts of the game and finished higher on the ladder, which is why a home-field advantage is such a big deal.
Personally, just for the record, I thought it was a push in the back, but looking for consistency in umpiring is like looking for informed debate on Twitter; you’re setting yourself up for a lot of disappointment.
Plus, I think the 36-point lead the Pies let the Swans get out to probably had more to do with this result.
Pies supporters complaining about the umpires are like a uni student complaining the internet is down when they didn’t start their essay the night before it was due.
In the end, the Pies had an amazing season and got more out of themselves than any other team, while Sydney held on to secure the greatest honour, a chance to see Robbie Williams perform.
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