We had four games with all Eight teams playing and two teams going home. Lots happened. Let’s get right to it!
Welcome to Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat!
Finals Week One started with the first of the two Elimination Finals to be played: Essendon Bombers at West Coast Eagles.
Last week, I mentioned that I thought this would be a close and exciting contest that would be fun to watch. So much so that Rikki Tikki Deadly woke up super early and got to my house at 3:00 AM on Thursday morning to watch it with me.
The game started well, with Essendon putting on pressure and neither team getting much of an advantage. However, little by little, the Bombers started making small but crucial mistakes. For example, they would get the ball on a turnover and then, instead of maintaining possession with careful passes, they would kick it high to a contest where the taller Eagles invariably took possession back.
It was a small detail, but it took all the momentum away and it made it very difficult for the Bombers to get quality scoring chances. However, they stayed within reach up until the fourth quarter where the bottom dropped out and the Eagles started scoring at will. The final score did reflect the Eagles’ statistical dominance, but it wasn’t the story of the entire game.
RTD and his Bombers went home and I went to work. Here are the highlights:
The next morning, I again woke up early to catch the second half of the Qualifying Final between my Geelong Cats and the Collingwood Magpies. It’s a good thing that I had not watched the first half as the Cats were down by 19. The Pies extended their lead to 25 at Three Quarter Time.
And then a curious thing happened. It’s like the Cats woke up and decided to play. They held the Pies scoreless in the final term but it was too little too late as they could only bring the final margin back to 10.
And so the stories of the post-bye blues will continue. At least they live to play another game… Here are the highlights:
On proper Friday night, the GWS Giants were hosting the Western Bulldogs in the other Elimination Final. As I noted in the preview, the Giants had been thoroughly beaten two weeks ago by the same Doggies in the same venue. I thought things would change this time around and I was right.
The Giants played a lot better from the start and build up a handy 11 point lead at Quarter Time. Things stayed about the same for another quarter and a half until the Giants put their foot on the gas and pulled away from the Doggies.
All of the Giants’ stars had great games although Toby Greene will be hoping he doesn’t get suspended for next week’s game after some confrontations with Western’s Marcus Bontempelli. (UPDATE: $7,500 fine. NO SUSPENSION!)
Here are the highlights:
The last game of Finals Week One had the rematch of Round 23’s clash between Top Four rivals Brisbane and Richmond. Richmond won the first game, but this one was in Brisbane and it was expected that the Lions would have learned from the first game and possibly win.
In reality, it went the other way. The Tigers showed they were the superior felines as they pulled away in the second half to take a bigger victory than they did in Round 23. The Tigers have now showed they can win at the MCG or away from the MCG with equal ease. These are your Premiership favourites.
Here are the highlights:
The Lions and Cats have multiple lives as they will play again next week thanks to the Double Chance. In the meantime, the Bombers and Doggies go home and start thinking about how to improve next year.
Footy Tipping Contest
Here is where we are after Finals Week One:
|Total Tips||Total Margin|
|3||Son Of Spam||2||45||131||714|
|8||Why Eagles Why||0||55||114||743|
|9||Game Time Decision||3||33||113||767|
|10||Joliet Jake Delhomme||2||24||113||821|
Big congratulations to BC Dick for a perfect week of 4 for 4! With that score, he’s now tied with me on tips for 4th place. We also had movement elsewhere with Yeah Right taking over 7th place from WhyEaglesWhy after he had an o-fer week. 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!
DONT FORGET TO PUT THE FOOTY TIPS IN!
AFL Finals Week 2 (Semi Finals) Preview
Here is the schedule for Finals Week 2 (all times Pacific):
Friday, September 13, 2019
2:5 AM (Late Thursday Night!) – Geelong Cats v West Coast Eagles at the MCG
From this point, all games are elimination. Winner of this game goes on to play the Richmond Tigers in a Preliminary Final at the MCG.
It is not known if Eagles star Nic Natanui will be healthy enough to play. If he does, he will cause nightmares for the Cats as they really have no good options at ruck. The Eagles won the Grand Final last year, so they feel very comfortable playing at the MCG.
As for the Cats, you can re-read my preview from last week to see what I think about them playing “home” finals at the MCG. Total bullshit.
Prediction: I think it will be the end of a frustrating season for the Cats. Winning the regular season championship and then losing two straight final games is not a good look. I hope I’m wrong, but that’s the way I see it.
Saturday, September 14, 2019
2:25 AM (Late Friday Night!) – Brisbane Lions v GWS Giants at The Gabba
Winner plays the Collingwood Magpies in the other Preliminary Final at the MCG next week. Loser goes home.
The Giants are red-hot and the Lions are playing their first finals series in over a decade. Their lack of finals experience showed in last week’s loss to the Tigers.
On the other side, you have a Giants side that has been through multiple finals games in the last few years and have learned some lessons. They applied those lessons this week as they handled a foe that had beaten them badly just two weeks ago.
Prediction: I say the Giants continue their run and take advantage of their finals experience to set up a Preliminary Final against the Pies.
That’s all for this week! Next week, we’ll have recaps of all the games and a preview of the Preliminary Finals. See you next week!