1 - Dead rubber games are a waste of time. This AFL thing might work better if you were eliminated once finals became mathematically impossible. Carlton would have been out after Round 2. Just think about it for a second. We all complain about the draw being lopsided. Perfect scenario: Everyone plays everyone once and if after Round 17 you're out of finals calculations, nick off and dress up in a dress and go to the pub! Let the big boys play on. Aside from footy tipping comps, what was the point of those games this week?
2 - Richmond are taking the piss. They laid just 48 tackles against the Bulldogs and were clearly in preservation mode on the eve of the finals. Were it not for a goalpost getting in the way, the Dogs would've knocked off the Tigers who were clearly playing bruise-free footy to nurse themselves into the finals. I don't know why they didn't just forfeit or play their VFL team. Top spot was sewn up. Apparently, Damien Hardwick was seen reprimanding Jack Higgins after the game for laying a game-high eight tackles against coach's instructions.
3 - Cats v Dees Round 3. Geelong will go into the finals fresh as a daisy following three weeks off playing any actual football teams. Two consecutive 100+ point wins must have the Cats believing they're flying right now, but as the old saying goes, "Third time's a charm" so you can't help but feel the Dees are dying to get another chance against the Cats after those two heartbreaking losses earlier this year. It will be the game of the finals week one.
4 - The Pies' honeymoon is over. Freo gave the Pies a scare, but it won't be as big as the scare the Eagles will give them in two weeks. I'm genuinely very impressed with what the Pies have done this year. It seems they have depth as good as any club going around. BUT, as of right now, they have beaten the least amount of teams within the eight of all the finalists. This can't be ignored. Neither can testing positive to cocaine on gameday.
5 - Adelaide beat Carlton in a friendly. I'm fairly certain the Carlton coaching staff contacted Adelaide during the week to tell them where to kick the ball and where their players weren't going to be. You could see that other than Cripps and Harry McKay, the rest of the team did their level best to guide the ball into Adelaide's goal throughout the game.
6 - I really wish I was a Hawthorn supporter. Such a great club with a great coach and an incredible culture. They're a chance against Richmond... OK, so Buddy didn't play. But seriously, how good is Alistair Clarkson? They've finished Top 4 again. I have a definite man-crush on him, although at 5"8", I might be too tall...
7 - The Eagles did what they had to do to finish second. They should have Kennedy back for the start of the finals. They're probably going to have two home finals, and that makes them pretty hard to beat. A lot of things point to a Richmond v West Coast Grand Final, although Clarko might be the spanner. Just remember, though, there was only one side this year who, at least for one night anyway, made the Tigers look human....
8 - Beware the sleeping Giants. GWS have limped into the finals finishing 7th with a long injury list and will benefit greatly from the week off with as many as five players set to return. Where have I heard that scenario before? I know it's a long-shot, but this is precisely the same scenario as the Bulldogs of 2016. And with the likes of Greene, Deledio, Griffen and others set to return, deja vu is on the cards. Their best is still bloody good, even if no-one cares about them in Western Sydney.
9 - The Also-rans. I can't be bothered mentioning Port, Essendon, North and St Kilda as they were playing in games that shouldn't have been played - as were Carlton and Adelaide, for that matter. Footnote: I think, as a Carlton supporter, the fact we knocked Essendon off in Round 8 and pretty much can claim responsibility for them missing the finals is the one thing I can take away from this abysmal season.
10 - I can't believe no coaches were sacked this year. I blame Hardwick and Buckley having good years for that creating false hope among some dud coaches.... Get out of jail free card award is a 4-way tie this year. This is unprecedented. It goes to Ken Hinkley, Ross Lyon, Alan Richardson & Brendon Bolton. All worthy winners. And all extremely lucky to have a job in 2019. Although, I'm thinking of starting a book on who will go first. Here are the odds:
$1.40 Brendon Bolton
$2.25 Alan Richardson
$4.00 Ross Lyon
$6.50 Ken Hinkley.
Finals edition coming in two weeks....
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