Five Lessons Learned – AFL Finals Week One

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Two are gone, six remain.

We’re very much at the business end of the footy season and there was plenty to take from an epic first weekend of finals football.

Let’s have another five-leg multi of hindsight, in the Monday morning hot-take blog you know and love: FIVE LESSONS LEARNED.

1- Still Counting the Days…

It’s become the easiest go-to punchline in football – how many days since Essendon won a Final?

6203 for those of you playing at home.

The streak will last at least another 300 days after the Dons went down to the Bulldogs in yesterday’s Elimination Final at UTAS Stadium in Launceston.

Some Essendon fans have opted to take their frustrations out on Bulldog Cody Weightman because he was awarded free kicks that resulted in goals.

However, the Bombers didn’t kick a goal until after half-time.

That’s bad in any game, let alone a cut-throat elimination final.

This is now Essendon’s sixth loss in week one of the finals since 2004.

Next year, the Bombers finals drought will turn 18 – a legal adult, old enough to open up its very own Ladbrokes account.

You can have a drink in the pub with Bomber fans who can’t remember them winning finals, let alone premierships.

Essendon is a proud club, there will be a lot of positives to take from season 2021.

All they are hoping is, that they won’t be celebrating this unwanted drought’s 21st birthday, let alone their 18th.

2 – Toby Greene is…

Innocent?

Guilty?

Hard done by?

An easy target?

A thug?

The lead-up to this weekend’s semi-finals won’t surround much footy talk at all, with all eyes turning to the case of everyone’s favorite GWS Giant – Toby Greene and the case of umpire contact.

It’s clear that he won’t be playing in Friday night’s game against the Cats in Perth of which they go in as $2.90 underdogs at the time of publishing.

Once the eventual suspension is placed, no matter the weeks, expect the Giants’ odds to drift.

But we may have seen this movie before…

3 – Golden Rule: Never Back the Cats in Week One

Geelong may be frequent flyers come the business end of the season, but count them out in the first week.

Since 2011, the Cats record in the opening week of the finals is 1-8 – including 1-7 in qualifying finals.

Chris Scott’s finals record is also questionable being 6-13 since he took the top job at the Cattery.

Friday night was a classic Cats finals flop, Patrick Dangerfield played a Barry Crocker and a Tom Stewart-less backline struggled all night against the Power.

You would expect them to bounce back this week against the Giants, but if this team doesn’t go on and finally win a flag you’d have to consider this bunch of Cats to be one of the greatest underachievers in AFL history.

4- Dees v Power Grand Final

Do all roads lead to a Melbourne v Port Adelaide Grand Final in front of a sold-out Optus Stadium?

Melbourne is the market leader for the flag at $2.65, with Port in the second line of betting at $3.60

Both Melbourne and Port flexed their muscle in the qualifying finals with big wins respectively on the weekend.

With Melbourne dominating all night over Brisbane and Port making it 10 from 11  with a convincing win over the Cats on Friday night, both sides will be hard to beat in a preliminary final.

It’s a daunting task to play either the Dees at Optus Stadium in a Prelim or the Power in front of a rabbid Port crowd, I don’t envy the winner of the Lions v Dogs on Saturday.

5 – Fine Wines from the Clayton Region

Ok, not the best puns but I’d prefer to be creative.

Both Ollie Wines and Clayton Oliver were outstanding for their respective sides on the weekend and will play a big role as both Port Adelaide and Melbourne make a charge for the premiership.

Both Oliver and Wines had 33+ disposals and combined had 18 score involvements respectively.

Need we mention the stellar efforts of Alliar Alliar?

These are the players that live up to everything finals footy is all about and you’d have to consider them for another case of leather poisoning come the prelims, or even, (all going to plan) – The Norm Smith.