Congratulations to the West Coast Eagles!
Winners of the 2018 AFL Grand Final
West Coast 2.2 4.3 8.7 11.13 (79) Collingwood 5.1 6.3 8.7 11.8 (74)
This will be the first time Collingwood and West Coast will meet in a Grand Final. However, both do have recent Grand Final histories, albeit losses the last time either side played in a Grand Final. The Eagles lost to Hawthorn in 2015 and the Magpies lost to Geelong in 2011 after winning the replay the year before. Speaking of drawn matches, Collingwood and West Coast played against each other in a drawn Qualifying Final in 1990 with Collingwood victorious in the replay.
Apparently no one had read the script to the Melbourne Demons. They hadn’t beaten a team in the top eight all season and it was a West Coast Eagles home game, Optus Stadium is a fortress and at 75 degrees, it was supposed to be too hot for Melbourne teams to last four full quarters. All that mattered little when the siren sounded and the Demons put on a display worthy of finalists when they ran over the Eagles in an upset in the West.
From the very first moments it was clear that Melbourne had come to play. They were ferocious in their tackling and hunted the Eagles down in packs all over the ground. West Coast were rattled and started to make disposal errors that played right into Melbourne’s hands.
And then there were eleven. After a cracking round nineteen that saw the Tigers hold off an injury hit but brilliant Collingwood, the Swans sink further into trouble with a loss to the Bombers and Carlton actually notch a win, there looks to be only eleven teams left in the race for the top eight. The Adelaide Crows all but dropped out of contention after being overrun by a revitalized Melbourne in the city of churches, while the Giants marched into top four contention with yet another win, this time over a plucky but inaccurate Saint Kilda.
The West Coast Eagles controlled the Western Bulldogs for most of the day to put in a workman-like display of winter weather football, to run our comfortable winners. The Dogs fielded a young team with the majority of players in their second or third season, and it showed, against the more experienced Eagles. Playing conditions were tricky with a strong wind blowing and some showers of rain in the second half. The game was unspectacular and dour as players dropped marks (catches), missed easy goals and kicked the ball out bounds without being touched (resulting in a free kick to the opposition) in their attempts to master the vagaries of the wind swirling around the field.
The West Coast Eagles survived a second-half fight back by the Geelong Cats, to pull themselves back into finals contention. The Eagles, coming off three consecutive defeats, had been criticized for not laying tackles and not winning their share of contested balls. They responded with a determination to compete and to not let Geelong’s rampant midfield have a free run into attack.
by Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia
1. Adelaide Crows (Last Week - 1)
The Crows keep top spot after obliterating Essendon by 65 points in front of a rabid Adelaide Oval home crowd. No Josh Jenkins, no Mitch McGovern, no problems for the Crows who are on fire right now.
2. Greater Western Sydney Giants (2)
The Giants didn’t have it all their own way against a feisty Port Adelaide at Spotless Stadium. Despite trailing by four points at three quarter time, the Giants stormed home to win by 31 points, keeping the Power goalless in the final quarter.
In a tight and closely fought struggle, reminiscent of the great battles between these two clubs a decade ago, West Coast held on to smother a desperate Sydney attempt to post their first win of the year. The Swans, who were the favorites to win last year’s Grand Final, will now have to perform an astonishing revival to make the finals, let alone the Grand Final.
The West Coast Eagles showed steely resolve to stare down the North Melbourne Kangaroos to claim their first top eight scalp of the season. With only eight teams making the postseason, and the difficulty in making a postseason run going up with every spot down the standings, this match was crucial to both clubs.