Geelong fans had to wait 44 years before breaking through last season…now they can barely wait one full week for the next flag!
Yes, we know – anything can happen in a game of football and nothing should ever be taken for granted. And we haven’t had any major shocks in this finals series thus far so a big surprise might just be around the corner. But, really, come on…Geelong and Hawthorn are going to play each other in the Grand Final next Saturday, right? That is clearly the most attractive outcome from this weekend’s preliminary finals…sorry Saints and Doggies fans.
Buddy is inspiring Hawk fans of all ages with his awesomeness…and they all expect him to boot Hawthorn into a grand final!
In fact, the only time that this finals series really came to life was when Buddy kicked eight to sink the Dogs and Geelong crushed St Kilda back in week one! There was a nice attempt from Jason ‘Cocky Cats’ Akermanis to ruffle some feathers this week but it’s hard to take a notorious shit-stirrer seriously. And if the biggest feud we can come up with during the finals is Jason Dunstall verses James Brayshaw, which is more like a ‘sponsorship arrangement’ between Nine and Foxtel than an actual feud, our game must be in big trouble!
The build-up to this weekend’s matches is mostly focused on the fitness of key players and any mention of either St Kilda or the Doggies actually winning is closely followed by the term ‘fairytale’ or ‘pipedream‘! But the time for speculation on the health of Bateman, Ball, Chapman, Cooney, Giansiracusa, Hayes and pals is over. The crowds look like being massive and there are preliminary finals to be played…and won by Geelong and Hawthorn.
Nathan Ablett won’t be at this year’s Grand Final parade but his big brother sure will…and he might be all medalled up already!
First Preliminary Final – MCG, 7:40pm (local): Geelong v Western Bulldogs (SEVEN)
CATS by 39: They are keeping Paul Chapman on ice until the grand final, what does that tell you! And not only do they have plenty of depth to cover the loss, they could replace Chappy with a mid-thirties, unemployed NFL punter and they would still win. The Cats are vowing to be at their best tonight…and that is good enough for us!
Sure, spirits are high down at Whitten Oval and Rodney Eade may well remind his blokes about what happened to Essendon back in 1999 (so do we…watching the Bombers lose by one point in that prelim was our worst ever sporting experience. We wouldn’t wish it on anybody!) but are there any ‘Kouta’s’ in that Doggies line-up? Will Geelong have the equivalent of Hird, Lucas and Jason Johnson sitting in the stands? No? Well, forget about it! Not happening tonight.
Trent Croad needed that extra week off in order to be fully prepared…for Brownlow night, that is! But water only please…he has a big game next weekend!
Second Preliminary Final – MCG, 7:00pm (local): Hawthorn v St Kilda (TEN)
HAWKS by 21: If there is to be an upset this weekend, it appears more likely that it will be Hawthorn who slip up. And if St Kilda do find a way to starve Buddy of the ball, this game could get very interesting. But the Hawks have been the second best team all year…besides, they want to rack up two flags and 50,000 members over the next five years and you don’t achieve that by losing preliminary finals to St Kilda!
St Kilda actually have a slight edge in finals experience having fallen at this hurdle twice in recent seasons. But, even if the Luke Ball gamble pays off, we doubt that they will go one further this time around. The Saints recovered from a so-so start to finish top four, which is a good effort, but that’s about where they should be. Sorry Harvs!