AFL Finals Wrap - Week 1
We reveal the key points to come out of all four week 1 finals games!
CROWS V GIANTS
The Adelaide Crows certainly didn’t let the 55,000 fans at Adelaide Oval down. The Crows went into the first final without key midfielder, Rory Sloane, but he wasn’t missed. The Giants kicked the first goal but that would be the only time they saw a lead.
The Crows kicked three in the opening term to GWS’ one goal but it was the second quarter where the damage was done. The Crows kicked 5 goals to the Giants one behind. From there, the match was all over with the Crows maintaining a similar margin throughout the night.
Key Point: The Giants were out muscled and outplayed, the will need to improve significantly if they’re to win the flag. GWS star forward, Jeremy Cameron, sustained a hamstring injury ruling him out for the rest of the season. He will certainly be missed as the Giants trademark run off half-back broke down when reaching the half-forward line.
What’s next: The Crows have a week off before facing Geelong or Sydney at Adelaide Oval. The Giants head back to Western Sydney where they’ll take on West Coast Eagles at Spotless Stadium.
GEELONG V RICHMOND
The history was well and truly against Richmond going into week one of the finals. The game was technically a Geelong home game however for logistical reasons it was played at the MCG (Tigers home ground). The Yellow and Black Army were out in force with 95,000 making it to the ‘G.
It was scrappy footy in the first half due to a dumping of rain. The Tigers took a two-goal lead into the first break which was reduced to nine points at half time. Richmond seemed to control the match but couldn’t capitalise.
The third quarter is called the ‘premiership quarter’ for a reason, and the Tigers came out firing. Dustin Martin showed why he’s worth the millions he’s payed, keeping calm and setting up several goals. From there the Tigers ran rampant, kicking 10 second-half goals to the Cat’s three.
Key Point: Were Richmond good or were Geelong just bad? Geelong face another tough task in week 2 of the finals, could they be knocked out in straight sets? Cats’ star, Joel Selwood, played his first game since an ankle injury. The midfielder had a sound enough game, getting 19 disposals.
What’s next: Richmond have a week off before facing the winner of GWS v West Coast. The Tigers may very well find themselves contesting the last game of the season. For Geelong, they face an in-form Sydney side at the MCG on Friday. They’ll certainly need to sort out their game before that match.
SYDNEY V ESSENDON
The Swans went into the game short priced favourites but the talking point was these two teams last encounter. The two sides met in round 14 with the Swans winning by one point after coming back from three goals down in the last quarter. If the Bloods were concerned by that result, they certainly didn’t show it.
The Swans held an 11 point margin at quarter time and that’s the closest the Bombers got. Swans superstar and Coleman medal winner, Lance Franklin, came out firing by kicking the first three goals of the second quarter. The Swans maintained that momentum kicking 10 goals in the second term. The night was done from there, with the Swans eventually running out 65-point winners.
Key Point: Can Sydney go all the way? The Swans demolition of Essendon certainly sent a warning to the top four sides that they are genuine contenders for the Premiership.
What’s next: Essendon’s finals campaign has come to an end. One thing this game showed was that the Bombers are still a class behind the top AFL teams. They’ll lose key player, Jobe Watson and will need to have a solid preseason in order to have finals success in 2018.
For Sydney, they head to the MCG on Friday night to face Geelong. Markets have opened in Sydney’s favour – they’re paying $1.38 to beat the Cats ($3.10).
PORT ADELAIDE V WEST COAST
What an exhausting match of footy to watch! The Eagles only just scrapped into the finals whilst Port finished a solid fifth.
The Eagle maintained a lead throughout the game despite only kicking one behind in the third quarter. Port Adelaide had the wind in their sails in the last quarter despite missing several opportunities.
At full time, the teams were even, meaning two periods of extra time. Port simply could not capitalise on their shots at goal, kicking two goals and four behinds in extra time. West Coast were four points down with seconds left on the clock and the ball deep in their forward line. Luke Shuey got a free kick for a contentious high tackle, went back, and kicked the goal after the siren for a two-point win to the Eagles.
Key Point: Was it a high tackle or not? Shuey appeared to rise his arm in the hopes that the tackler would slip high. You could debate the decision all day… Port Adelaide simply missed too many opportunities. Kicking 16 behinds doesn’t win an elimination final.
What’s next: Port Adelaide’s season comes to an anti-climactic end whilst the Eagles manage to keep the dream alive. Eagles will take on GWS in Sydney on Saturday night. Bookmakers don’t give much chance to the Eagles, pricing them at $3.10 to beat the Giants.
West Coast: $23