AFL 2019: Five Things we Learned – Second Prelim Final

What did we learn from the Giants gripping four point victory over Collingwood?

A wet and wild MCG was the scene for a gripping, arm wrestle of a first quarter on Saturday as Collingwood and GWS fought it out for a place in the 2019 AFL Grand Final. Having to contend with the conditions as well as a determined opposition, the teams had combined for five goals when Collingwood took a slender three point lead into the long break.

The Giants came out of the break a different team and kicked away from their opponents with a withering burst that saw them kick five unanswered goals and take a stranglehold on the contest. This game had one more twist in it though, just as Collingwood supporters started catching trains home from Richmond station, their team breathed life into the contest and had whittled the lead down to less than a goal with 10 minutes to play.

In the games frenetic final stages, Collingwood continued to press but failed to find that one extra goal they needed for a second consecutive Grand Final berth. At the final siren it was heartbreak for the Pies and euphoria for the Giants who had staged a remarkable boilover to book their maiden Grand Final appearance and a date with the Tigers.

Adam Treloar might be rethinking his life choices

For the second consecutive year, a four point defeat put paid to the premiership dreams of Adam Treloar. When the star midfielder decided to leave the Giants, he chose Collingwood over Richmond because of his belief the club had a better list and was closer to a premiership. Ouch.

As he watches his old club play the club he could have chosen in the Grand Final, he might be calmed by the experience of Paul Chapman. After the Cats lost the 2004 Wizard Cup Grand Final to St Kilda, he announced that his team was much better than the men from Moorabbin. When the Saints gave them a 10 goal touch up in Round One of that season, and finished higher than them for the next three seasons it looked a hollow boast.

We all know what happened next though.

Leon Cameron might be a Ferrari driver after all

Even as recently as this year, people in high places loudly expressed their doubts as to whether Leon Cameron was the right man to lead the talented squad assembled in Sydney’s west. It’s a harsh game coaching, but three Prelim Finals in four years and now a Grand Final berth is good going in anybody’s language.

GWS are a resilient bunch

We have heard all season of the injury curse effecting the Tigers as they went about their charge to a top four finish in 2019. What we didn’t hear much of, was the injury crisis that caused the Giants to dig deep into their list each week. Even this week against the Pies, they found a way to win despite four of their top six players watching from the stands as a result of injury or suspension.

The ARC is sinking

The weak link in any technology based decision review system is the human being that ultimately has to make a decision using it. So it was again on Saturday when the AFL’s multi-million dollar ARC could not make the correct decision on a Josh Thomas goal despite footage showing the ball had been touched. The League surprised nobody when they defended the process the following day but must be internally seething that their system failed in delivering on its purpose because their official froze at a critical moment.

The pre-finals bye will be questioned

Without wanting to take anything away from GWS and their victory, the result will once again raise questions as to whether the pre-finals bye hurts the chances of top four teams that win in week one. We will never know the answer but watching Richmond struggle for a half before finding their rhythm and Collingwood fall to the Giants will have some questioning whether the system hurts rather than rewards the Top Four teams.

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