TEN THINGS I LEARNT AFTER WEEK 1 OF THE FINALS....
1. Richmond are a fair way ahead of the rest.
It sickens me to say it, but it does look very much like back to back flags for the Tigers. They seem to do as they please and just keep unearthing guns like Jack Higgins each year. And you know things are going well when a bloke like Kamdyn McIntosh kicks 3 goals.
2. Dustin Martin is probably the best kick going around.
When Dusty took the ball on the boundary in the pocket and shaped up for what seemed an impossible shot, I think most of us knew he would slot it. It certainly was no surprise to me. In terms of overall kicking ability, there are none better going around. Watch his delivery into the forward line and field kicking. It's incredible! The problem is he clearly lowers his eyes too much when he gets his hair cut.
3. Buddy Franklin might have to train more than 20 minutes next season.
Lance Franklin will be in the "we shouldn't have played him" category. Every finals series you get one or two such stories of players being brought back after injury only to be soundly beaten on the night. Is his body finally letting him down with only 15 years left on his contract?
4. Despite another great effort, the fact is that Collingwood have still only beaten one team in the 8 this year.
Ignore this statistic at your peril. To me, regardless of how great the Pies have been this year, they've constantly fallen short in the big games. They've been deemed favourites for next week's game, but the Giants did knock them off at the MCG in Round 2 when the Giants had a healthy list. Aside from Josh Kelly, they'll be at near full strength next week too.
5. Whoever thought playing Tyson Goldsack for his first game this year was a good idea has egg on his face.
Seriously? 12 months off with an ACL, just one run in the VFL where he amassed a whopping two possessions and he gets the nod?? I mean, Goldsack is a solid player, but he's hardly a secret weapon. Big cross to the selection committee there.
6. Whoever thought playing Zac Williams for his first game of the year is a genius!
I had my doubts about this selection, but in the first half where the game was on the line, the young fella had the ball on a string, finishing with 23 possessions. They also brought in Toby Greene (27 possessions, 3 goals). Brett Deledio (22 possessions) and Matt de Boer (17 possessions, 1 goal). All solid contributions. Big tick to the GWS selection committee.
7. The Giants have completed phase one of what the Doggies achieved from 7th in 2016. Beware the Giants.
The week's rest has helped the Giants more than any other team. And let’s not forget they've won seven of their last eight games. They are definitely not out of it, and I even think they can cover the loss of the brilliant Josh Kelly.
8. The bookies have instilled Melbourne as favourites next week. They need to go back to Round 4 before writing off the Hawks.
Melbourne fell in a massive heap after leading at quarter time in their previous encounter, where the Hawks kicked 16 goals to one to run out huge winners. Now, I am certain this won't happen again, but it does give the Hawks an edge going in to this game. We'll find out soon enough if the bookies have it right, but you never write off a team coached by Clarkson...
9. Was picking up Gary Ablett a good move or not?
When you sneak into the finals and are eliminated comfortably in the first week, it's a fair enough question. He's still playing well, but it simply hasn't worked out. That said, surely a ruckman will be their priority during the trade period. I imagine Rhys Stanley is still wondering how he ended up being the main guy at Geelong.
10. Watching Eddie McGuire losing his shit in the crowd never gets old....
Is there any other human being on the planet whose face goes redder when angry? I'm struggling to find one. You want to love the way the Pies have gone this year, but when they fail and Eddie has a dummy spit on national TV, it's too funny for us not to want to see the Pies lose.
STAY TUNED FOR NEXT WEEK. DON'T WRITE-OFF THE GIANTS.
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