No final for you, Paddy. But if you have a handful of jumper when you hit a bloke, exactly like Luke Hodge did to you, you get away with it. Jumper punch equals no suspension…
Same for you, Lloydy – a handful of jumper and you get away with it. Jumper Bump equals no suspension…ok, maybe not!
It’s finals time…you little ripper!!! After a home-and-away season filled with thrills, surprises, inspiring stories and some downright weirdness, we have eight teams left and four weeks to sort out the wheat from the crap.
This September, the League have again gone into promotional overdrive and declared the finals series as being In A League Of Its Own…it’s going to be harder, faster and fiercerer than ever before! Well, that’s a relief.
Personally, I think that the propensity for rugby league players to poo on the floor of hotels kinda puts the NRL in a league of their own but that’s just me.
Here at Half Back Flanker, the finals series will always be known as Septocemia in homage to my favourite AFL finals promotion from 2007 when the League attempted to transport us all to the mystical footballing fairyland that was Septopia! And it all kicks off tonight when Adelaide defeats Essendon in the opening game of the finals series…come on – they can’t win, can they?
How the heck are you supposed to defend against this?
First Elimination Final– AAMI Stadium, 7:45pm (local): Adelaide v Essendon (SEVEN)
Gee, they are getting a little bit excited in Adelaide, aren’t they? Apparently this side is going to make history because they are better than the group that won two flags in the nineties! They are fully primed for finals action, choc full of flair (a term not usually associated with the Crows) and not even remotely fussed about missing a couple of key players. Are they getting too far ahead of themselves? Even if they are, they probably won’t get caught out this week…
Essendon might just celebrate wildly tonight…if they kick more than two goals in a row against the stingy Crows, that is!
…because they are facing a depleted Essendon outfit that have little finals experience and a crap interstate record. They have some nice young kids and that ‘nothing to lose’ attitude but can the Bombers really pull off an upset of massive proportions? Um…no. Just no.
CROWS by 35
Time for more Gary Ablett magic…the Cats certainly need some!
Second Qualifying Final – MCG, 2:30pm (local): Geelong v Western Bulldogs (TEN)
Poor Geelong…what do you have to do to earn some respect around here? You dominate the comp for almost three seasons yet the Doggies were stoked to finish third (don’t be fooled!) to play them and avoid St Kilda. The Cats will find it tough to go all the way this year but with a little tackling practice and some good players returning, they might just earn the week off. This bloke sure hopes they do…
Beating the Cats, a prelim final, a week off…surely that would be worth two thumbs up, Rocket?
The Bulldogs have a couple of nice additions as well, meaning the coach has had one of those nasty selection headaches all week! It’s not about revenge from the 2008 finals…well, maybe a little – however the Dogs say they are better and not bitter. They are definitely better but if they can’t shake Geelong here, their path to the flag will become extremely difficult.
CATS by 21
Are Brisbane a little nervous leading into this elimination final? Looks that way to me…
Second Elimination Final – GABBA, 7:30pm (local): Brisbane v Carlton (TEN)
The once-mighty Brisbane return to finals action but there were concerns early in the week that they might not be able to field a full team! Of course, that all changed come selection time and you just know that Michael Voss has been waiting most of his adult life to play all these crazy coaching mind games!!! Between that and his Rising Star, Vossy would be loving the week…
Given that he stops trying in the odd game throughout the season, Fev should be fresh and ready to fire in the finals!
And Blues fans are loving it too because Carlton are here – back in the finals! They would have loved it a little more had their team not screwed up royally last weekend to lose the home final…but they have a proven finals performer leading the way and the timely addition of a few time-challenged players. But I think that every Blues player can chuck their alarm clocks away after the weekend because they will be on holidays.
LIONS by 9
To play Max or not to play Max…what a tricky question
First Qualifying Final – MCG, 2:40pm (local): St Kilda v Collingwood (SEVEN)
A lot can change in a month. St Kilda went from being on the verge of immortality four weeks ago to being questioned about their somewhat flaky play during irrelevant games and upcoming team selection issues. But they have finished off an outstanding regular season and can focus on winning that flag…though facing the Pies at the ‘G is not the greatest reward for finishing a clear first.
Not meaning to bash Collingwood…but is THIS what we want to see on Grand Final day???
Collingwood didn’t fire in last week’s big game but it might be the kick in the arse they needed. But Josh Fraser has a bit of ‘the Adelaides’ about him; he reckons his Pies are fully primed for finals action and poised to go all the way. Yet he also thinks that Anthony Rocca can still play a role…really? Rocca might get a chance if/when St Kilda do the business on Sunday but not sure how much help that will be…
SAINTS by 19