5 Lessons Learned – AFL Round 23

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(1) Saturday was just a little taste of what’s to come…

Was last Saturday one of the best final round days of footy we’ll ever witness?

While it may have been a dead rubber, the drawn game between Richmond and Hawthorn was just a taste of things to come.

Meanwhile, down the road at Marvel Stadium, Buddy managed to boot six goals as the Swans thrashed the Gold Coast Suns, getting him within eight of breaking the 1000 career mark.

Can he do it in the Finals?

That remains to be seen.

Over at the Gabba, Brisbane needed to win by at least 31 points to ensure a top-four berth.

They achieved that.

In the very last minute!

To finish things off, there was Melbourne’s epic comeback over the Cats with Max Gawn’s goal after the siren ensuring the Dees first minor premiership since 1964.

…and over at Marvel, we said goodbye to Eddie Betts.

What a day!

It’ll never happen, but just imagine if they played all nine games at once on the final day English Premier League style, wouldn’t that be something?!

(2) Dee-lightful

It was truly one of the great moments.

Max Gawn redeemed himself from missing a shot to win the game against the Cats three years ago, by kicking a goal after the siren to ensure

Melbourne came back from 44-points down against Geelong at GMHBA Stadium.

This is not normal.

Gawn’s kick after the siren may have been a curse-breaker for the bad-luck-ridden Melbourne Football Club who have suffered a series of unfortunate and tragic events ever since the club famously sacked Norm Smith as coach back in 1964.

Finishing the season on top of the ladder and the likes of Clayton Oliver dominating on the field with 37-disposals, nine clearances, seven tackles, and two goals if you don’t mind, Dees fans should be asking themselves the question “Why not us?”

The Dees head into the finals series as the $3.75 favorites to win the Premiership.

(3) Essendon is Due a Donut Day

If there’s one piece of news that keeps the general population happy these days, it’s Donut Days.

Especially if you’re an Essendon supporter.

The Bombers have a lot to be proud of by finishing in the eighth position and based on form in recent weeks will fancy themselves to beat an out-of-form Western Bulldogs on Saturday.

With the game being played in Launceston, a venue where they did beat Hawthorn a couple of months ago in front of what was a majority Bombers leaning crowd, the belief is strong the club dreaded drought could be over.

Essendon goes into Sunday’s Elimination Final against the Bulldogs ($1.57) as $2.45 underdogs.

(4) The Bulldogs Have Lost Bite and Cats Aren’t Purring.

Should fans of Geelong and the Western Bulldogs be worried heading into the finals?

The Cats blew a 44-point lead against Melbourne last week, costing them the minor premiership and now have to face Port at the Adelaide Oval in Week 1, a dreaded prospect for anyone in football.

On the other hand, the Western Bulldogs looked to have secured their spot in the top four on Friday night only to have Port Adelaide come back and take the game from them.

They were then bumped down to fifth on Saturday after the Lions reached the 31-point buffer in the last 30 seconds of their game against West Coast.

Surely Geelong doesn’t soil the bed in September once again?

Not with the talent, the Cats have on that list.

Surely the Western Bulldogs don’t get sent packing after week one after dominating for the majority of the year?

Footy can be cruel, but it’s up to the Cats and Dogs respectively to find a way to ensure they aren’t subject to it in this finals series.

(5) Who’d be a Coach?

While we are not offering a market on it (just yet), all signs point to David Teague getting the Freo-Heave-Ho from Carlton within the next 48-hours and being replaced by Ross Lyon.

If there were a market, we’d be offering odds of $1.25

We are, however, offering odds on the next Collingwood coach and reports suggest that former Brisbane Lions/Richmond assistant Craig McRae has firmed as the $1.75 favorite to take the top job at the Magpies.

And is Clarko really having a gap year in 2022?

We’ll believe it when we see it.

BONUS LESSON

(6) Good Riddance

May Sunday’s game between Essendon v Collingwood at the MCG be the last time we ever see a game played without a crowd.

All sport without fans in the grandstands sucks, especially footy.

The game looks soulless and empty without anyone there to watch it and we can only hope this is the last of the dreaded sight.

The AFL has very much made the right call in ensuring that all of the finals are played in front of fans.