Another gripping weekend of finals action with both Melbourne and Collingwood booking their berths in the Preliminary Finals. The Demons withstood a late Hawthorn rally on Friday night before the Pies outlasted the Giants in a tense arm wrestle the following night. What did we Learn, Like and Dislike from the weekend two of the Finals?
Collingwood might be the real deal.
It was by no means pretty but the Pies got the job done against the Giants to move onto a showdown with the defending Premiers. It was positive response to their gallant defeat in Perth the week before which will have them believing they can cause an upset in front of a monster crowd on Friday night.
News of Hawthorn’s revival might have been overstated.
Alastair Clarkson has been rightly lauded for leading the Hawks back to the top four this season. Their straight sets exit however, suggests that talk of the team being a genuine contender again might have been a smidge premature. Despite being competitive in both matches they were unable to stay in the arm wrestle long enough, meaning there is still a bit of work to do for Clarkson and his team.
Flights from Melbourne to Perth are more expensive than those to Europe.
Melbourne’s qualification for a date with West Coast has sent their supporters on a mad dash to book flights to get them to Perth to watch the action. The demand has seen prices go through the roof which means some supporters will be paying more for their cross-country jaunt than holiday makers will fork out for flights to Europe.
Jordon De Goey stands up.
Remember mid-season when St Kilda and North Melbourne were falling over each other in their efforts to sign De Goey? Well on Saturday night he reminded us why his manager was receiving astronomical offers for his services. While the Collingwood and GWS game never really reached any great heights, it was not due to any lack of trying by the Collingwood forward. In a game in which only 128 points were scored, he would finish with 14 disposals, 11 score involvements, five marks inside 50, and three score assists to prove the difference maker in the tense struggle.
Melbourne responds when challenged.
With a 33-point lead established the result of Friday nights game looked settled as the two teams received their 3/4 Time addresses. Yet, in the blink of an eye Demons fans went from excitedly planning trips to Perth to nervously willing their team on when the lead closed to 12 points early in the last quarter. Rather than go back in their shell their team responded to the challenge with four of the last five games to book their ticket to Perth and a date with the Eagles for a spot in the Grand Final.
The resurgence of Jack Viney.
In a finals series full of players making triumphant returns from injury, the Demons skipper might be the best of all. He was at his tough, hard ball winning best against the Hawks in a performance that belied the fact he was just two games into his comeback. Leading by example, he would finish the night with 27 disposals (17 contested), eight clearances, seven inside 50s and five tackles. Not content to just play a part in September, Viney has set about tearing it apart.
We can only imagine what the likes of Jack Riewoldt, Buddy Franklin and Josh Kennedy were thinking when they saw the free kick Will Hoskin-Elliott received in the dying seconds of the first quarter against GWS. Fair to say if similar free kicks were paid to permanent forwards on a regular basis we wouldn’t be wondering when the next player would kick 100 goals in a season, there’d be 3-4 every year. And don’t get us started on the below the knee free kicks in the Hawthorn Melbourne game, if the umpires don’t understand the rule how are the rest of us supposed to?
Toby Greene goes missing.
After being the star of the Giants victory over the Swans, Toby Greene failed to fire a shot in the loss to Collingwood. So often the barometer for his team, he proved so again on Saturday for all the wrong reasons. With just nine possessions, with a disposal efficiency of 44, he had close to zero impact on the match. When the siren sounded to end the Giants season, Greene had managed to register more free kicks against, than goals and score assists combined.
Just 70k at Collingwood v GWS.
Ok, we are just being hard to please here but after three consecutive 90,000+ crowds, and with the possibility of 100,000 in attendance this Friday, 72,504 is a let down by comparison.