After 23 rounds of sensational footy we now have our eight finalists ready to battle it out for the 2019 AFL premiership in a weeks time. The Western Bulldogs smashed their way into the last available finals spot by running out 34 point winners over a disappointing Adelaide Crows in Ballarat on Sunday. Just a couple of hours later, Richmond ended Brisbane’s nine-game winning streak with a 27 point win at the MCG, earning the Tigers a double-chance plus a road trip to Brisbane to once again face the Lions in week one of the finals.
The roof was open for today’s Saturday afternoon match at Marvel Stadium. The conditions overcast but comfortable and a good crowd rolled in through the first quarter. For those that didn’t make it until quarter time they missed eleven goals and eight lead changes. Quarters two and three were uneventful as the Swans slowly edged away before a final quarter that saw the Blues open up a window of opportunity but were unable to climb through it.
So, who wins it all? In what looks to be the most open finals series for some time, you could mount a solid argument for six teams that could potentially take out the 2016 premiership. Read on for my take on who can win the Aussie rules championship in 2016 and why – and my pick for the two teams that will meet in the biggest AFL match of the year on October 1st.
I’ll start in reverse order of regular season finish, from eighth to top spot.
Sydney recorded its 11th win in a row over the West Coast Eagles at a rain drenched Patersons Stadium and now the Swans sit on top of the Ladder, one game clear of the rest of the field. Although the game was a hard fought contest in trying conditions, Sydney showed its class and finished stronger with three goals in the last quarter to knock the Eagles out of the fight.
Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia
A bumper crowd of over 85,000 flooded into the MCG for the Friday night Qualifying Final between Premiership favorite Hawthorn and last season’s runner up, Collingwood. The Hawks were dealt a blow with the late withdrawal of prime mover Jordan Lewis who suffered a hamstring “twinge” at training on the eve of the big game. Shane Savage came into the Hawthorn side at the expense of Lewis while Collingwood added Ben Sinclair for the omitted Jackson Paine. A heavy rain shower just prior to the commencement of proceedings
Hawthorn has never won a Twilight game at Patersons Stadium and facing an in-form West Coast team at home, it was going to be hard to win their first. The Hawks were minus some quality players due to injury while the Eagles were fielding a strong team. The game was tipped to go down to the wire and in the end it lived up to that expectation.