If last week’s finals games have taught as anything, it is that the top 4 teams are more consistent and therefore more predictable than the bottom 4. Hawthorn and Sydney flew to Perth and predictably lost their matches. In th bottom 4 we unpredictably had two upsets (depending on who you talk to). First 7th placed Adelaide continued their winning form to sadly beat the the crowd favourite the DOGGIES =(
Then 8th placed North’s proved that they were onto a winner when making the decision to rest half their team in the last round, beating 5th placed Richmond to put Tigerland in to their annual spiral of misery. It’s now been three years in a row that the Tigers have bowed out in the first round of the finals.
It will be interesting to see if the more consistent sides of Hawthorn and Sydney can hold off a challenge from the ‘sometimes good, sometimes bad’ North Melbourne and the ‘only now fulfilling their full potential when they’re about to lose their best player’ Crows.
Hawks V Crows Friday 7:50pm MCG
Adelaide showed great composure early as THE DOGGIES =( seemingly had a dream start to the game only to be reeled in quarter time. They again showed great composure to turn a one kick victory into a two kick victory. With 2 minutes to go in the final quarter, Crows captain Taylor Walker showed why he makes the big bucks with one of the best displays of kicking accuracy this year which would make and plasterboard walls in close proximity to Alastair Clarkson nervous.
It was fairly impressive kicking
Hawthorn, coming off a loss in Perth, will have to break the ‘returning home and losing the next game voodoo’ which is completely true because a mate told me after he had a few beers. Hawks made a mistake playing Isaac Smith who was next to useless against the Eagles and will probably be not fit enough for this week’s game to have any impact if he gets on the field. Frawley was wasted in the middle, Josh Gibson was nowhere to be seen when the ball needed to be punched (putting an end to the Hawks official twitter hashtag #playyourrole, a budget knock off of the New England Patriots 2014 motto “do your job”) and the whole team went and played a round of golf during the 2 quarter – not scoring a single goal.
With Adelaide having to travel back to Melbourne for a second week (unless they just hung around the South Melbourne bars and ‘accidentally’ missed their flight) the Hawks will be better place to win this game, although Rioli and Breust will have to step up in the forward line with Gunston missing this game. And for god’s sake, Billy Hartung should be on the field for more than a few laps after the game is done and dusted.
Sydney V Norths Saturday 7:20pm (Not the SCG)
8th placed North Melbourne will have a hard time this weekend even against an injury plagued Swans. Even if they win this game, they won’t go all the way to send off Boomer Harvey in style – as much as he probably deserves it. This week they won’t have a half rested team and will have to summon a black swan in some other way to win – pun intended.
Last weekend for the Swans was always going to be hard against Fremantle in Perth and they did well to only lose by 9 points with all their injuries.
Buddy Franklin has been confirmed to miss the rest of the finals but to be honest I think this is a good thing for Sydney. As good a Buddy can be he is often be a liability. He gives away needless free kicks through frustration. His main skill is being a sucker target, drawing the attention of the key defenders and opening up space for his team mates (come back Buddy, we need you!……. no!…. we can win without you). Sydney already had a someone to hashtag play that role and that someone is Tippett and he is not injured.
Sydney were showing the Goodes last week (zing!) and should continue this week. Even with their injuries their list is still pretty impressive. Kennedy, Hannebery, Goodes, McVeigh, Jetta, Tippett might sound like the starting lineup against the Irish in International rules but you would be misstaken. Barring a North’s magically summoned black swan, Sydney will romp it home.