AFL Beat 2019 Round 23

This week,

Here we go!!
Who’s #1?
And who got the last spot in the Eight?

Welcome to Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat!

Round 23 Recaps and Highlights

We’ve come to the end of the Home and Away Season! Next step: Finals!

Who is in? Who is out? Who plays who? Lotsof things happened this week. Let’s get right to it!

The first game had major finals implications as the Collingwood Magpies met the Essendon Bombers at the MCG. Both teams were firmly locked into finals, but Collingwood could still get a Top Four spot and the Double Chance that goes along with it with a win.

In the beginning, the Bombers played well and got themselves a nice lead at Quarter Time. However, the Pies had a much better Second Quarter and things were virtually tied at the half.

It went back and forth the rest of the game until the Pies pulled ahead for good in the fourth. Here are the full game highlights:

Collingwood Magpies 76 Essendon Bombers 65

The proper Friday Night game had the already-eliminated St. Kilda Saints visiting the already-eliminated Sydney Swans for a little bit of pride and momentum going into next year. In addition, many players were having milestone games such as Buddy Franklin playing his 300th game and former Sydney captains Jarrad McVeigh and Kieran Jack playing their final matches for the Swans.

Ultimately, it was a Swans afternoon as Buddy kicked 4 goals and the rest of the Swans played a very good game in a comprehensive win over the Saints.

Here are the full-game highlights:

Sydney Swans 109 St. Kilda Saints 64

Later, the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Melbourne Demons met in Tasmania to wrap up their seasons out of finals contention. While the Roos fired their coach and seemed to improve throughout the year, the Demons started promisingly and have gone downhill since.

The pattern continued as the Roos played well and the Demons lost. Credit to Melbourne, the Demons did not phone it in and it was a relatively close game.

Here are the full-game highlights:

North Melbourne Kangaroos 88 Melbourne Demons 83

Even later on Friday night, my Geelong Cats were hosting the Carlton Blues in a game they had to win in order to have any hope of finishing in the top spot that they occupied for most of the year.

The Cats took full advantage of the opportunity in beating up the Blues by 68 points. If the Tigers were to beat the Lions the next day, the Cats would be on top.

Here are the highlights:

Geelong Cats 129 Carlton Blues 61

The first of the two late late Friday night games had the reeling GWS Giants heading up the east coast of Australia to take on the Gold Coast Suns in Queensland.

This was a game the Giants absolutely had to win in order to have any kind of confidence going into finals. To their credit, they did what they had to do and dispatched easily with the lowly Suns.

Here are the full-game highlights:

Gold Coast Suns 55 GWS Giants 127

The last game of the night had the Hawthorn Hawks visiting the West Coast Eagles desperately trying to keep their season alive. They needed to beat the Eagles at home (no small task, mind you) and then have the Western Bulldogs lose to Adelaide the following day.

Surprisingly enough, they managed to accomplish their end of the task! They went into Optus Stadium and dominated from the start. Only a short spell late in the first quarter in which the Eagles took the lead would distract from what became a massive win for the Hawks. Now, their finals fate would be up to the Doggies and Crows.

Here are the full-game highlights:

West Coast Eagles 67 Hawthorn Hawks 105

The first North American Saturday Night game became the biggest game of the weekend, given Hawthorn’s upset win over the Eagles in Perth. If the Doggies won, they would not only be in finals, but they would leap-frog the Bombers into 7th place on the ladder.

Conversely, if the Doggies lost, the Hawks would take the 8th and final spot in the Eight.

The Doggies made sure there was no doubt, storming out of the gates with the first 40 points in the game. The final margin ended up being smaller, but the match had already been decided.

Here are the full-game highlights:

Western Bulldogs 121 Adelaide Crows 87

The second of the Saturday night games was also compelling as it was the Top Four contest between Richmond and Brisbane. If Brisbane won, they would retain the #1 spot in the competition and send the Tigers to 5th place and an Elimination Final. Conversely, a Tigers win would give Geelong the minor premiership and ensure a rematch with the Lions in a Qualifying Final in Brisbane.

It was a good game with the Tigers surging ahead in the first, but the Lions coming back and keeping the game close. In fact, it got to within 7 points in the third, but the Tigers pulled away late and got the four points.

The two teams will meet again in Brisbane in two week’s time.

Here are the full-game highlights:

Richmond Tigers 82 Brisbane Lions 55

The last game of the Round had the now-eliminated Port Adelaide Power hosting the already eliminated Fremantle Dockers.

As has been their pattern all season, the Power again frustrated their fans by showing them how well they could play. Unfortunately, the inconsistency has cost them a chance at finals. If they can fix that, they’ll be tough next year.

Here are the full-game highlights:

Port Adelaide Power 110 Fremantle Dockers 67

Let’s take a look at the final ladder, shall we?

1Geelong Cats166064135.7
2Brisbane Lions166064118.3
3Richmond Tigers166064113.7
4Collingwood Magpies157060117.7
5West Coast Eagles157060112.5
6GWS Giants139052115.4
7Western Bulldogs1210048107.2
8Essendon Bombers121004895.4
9Hawthorn Hawks1111044108.7
10Port Adelaide Power1111044105.4
11Adelaide Crows1012040100.9
12North Melbourne Kangaroos101204099.5
13Fremantle Dockers91303691.9
14St. Kilda Saints91303683.9
15Sydney Swans81403297.7
16Carlton Blues71502884.5
17Melbourne Demons51702078.6
18Gold Coast Suns31901260.5

Here is the final Balls Graph of the season:

Download (PDF, 264KB)

There was a LOT of movement in the standings in the last week, which is something I’m sure the AFL is happy about. No one wants meaningless games at the end of the season.

With the Home and Away season completed, we are now ready for finals. Here is how the bracket shapes up:


Footy Tipping Contest

Here is where we are after Round Twenty Three:

Total TipsTotal Margin
2Son Of Spam814129669
5BC Dick74120794
6Dolph Ucker65117685
7Why Eagles Why738114688
8Yeah Right517114868
9Joliet Jake Delhomme710111797
10Game Time Decision728110734

Almost everyone had a strong week this week, so there wasn’t as much movement as before. Son of Spam did take over second place as BFC fell one tip short of Spam’s total and is now behind on margin amount. Similarly, Why Eagles Why overtook Yeah Right for 7th place on percentage.

Remember that we go all the way through to the Grand Final. There is still time to catch the leader and the person in front of you in the standings!



AFL Finals Week 1

Keep in mind that there will be a one week break until finals begin. Next week, I’ll have a detailed preview for each game. In the meantime, here is the schedule for Finals Week 1 (all times Pacific):

Thursday, September 5, 2019

3:10 AM (Late Wednesday Night!) – West Coast Eagles v Essendon Bombers at Optus Stadium

This is the First Elimination Final. Winner goes on to meet the loser of Geelong v Collingwood on the road. Loser goes home.

Friday, September 6, 2019

2:50 AM (Late Thursday Night!) – Geelong Cats v Collingwood Magpies at the MCG

This is the First Qualifying Final. Winner gets a bye into the Preliminary Finals. Loser faces the winner of West Coast v Essendon at home.

10:20 PM – Greater Western Sydney v Western Bulldogs at Giants Stadium

This is the Second Elimination Final. Winner goes on to meet the loser of Brisbane v Richmond on the road. Loser goes home.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

2:25 AM (Late Friday Night!) – Brisbane Lions v Richmond Tigers at The Gabba

This is the Second Qualifying Final. The winner gets a bye into the Preliminary Finals. The loser faces the winner of GWS v Western at home.


That’s all for this week! Next week, there will be a Finals Preview with predictions. I will also recap how I did with my team predictions at the beginning of the year. See you next week!


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Whoa whoa whoa, there was more afoot in that GWS-Gold Coast game than the Giants getting a confidence boost beating a shitty team. Jeremy Cameron scored 9 goals, outscored the entire Suns team, and overtook Ben Brown for the Coleman despite entering the game trailing by (I think) 6 goals. The whole team was all in on finding Cameron shots, and he was awesome.


Woo hoo! Eighth seed!

Have to wonder if that % is one of the lowest ever for a playoff team.

yeah right

Thirteenth seems an absolutley perfect finish to the season. Jesus.