AFL Finals – Hawthorn v Adelaide: 6 to 1 in a two horse race

The article I most want to read would have to a be a nicely worded one about how all the pundits had got it wrong about Adelaide and their right to be in the prelim. It would only be a small piece of humble pie with no cream on the side because in the prelim weekend battle of the birds the two most likely to win did in fact get up. But it so nearly wasn’t the case.

I suppose the followers of the poos and wees jumpers will tell you it would have been a travesty if the best performed team in the second half of the season didn’t get an invitation to the big dance. They will say they were almost robbed when Schoenmakers forgot The G is a porpoise friendly zone and got a free kick to the Hawks reversed into a Crows goal. They will say they kicked poorly had more entries and made skill errors that were uncharacteristic. However, with Walker keeping Gibson honest and stopping him from being third man Tippett was proving too strong and mobile. Buddy, despite the most open final in years, was being well held and even when he grabbed Rutten in a head lock and got a free from Truck’s retaliation was unable to convert.

A fast open game would seem to favour the Hawks scoring options but it was a Taylor Walker goal after the half time siren that put the Crows in front for the second week in a row at the big break. The 50 metre penalty to Shiels which gave Hawthorn their second goal was soft, the throw against Brodie Smith from the umpire 120m away was just plain wrong. Another throw against Tippett when he obviously got a fist on the ball, or the fact he wore Hale as a necklace on a number of occasions without being compensated was to be expected. Interstate teams never seem to get the rub of the green from the umpires under the weight of crowd support for the home side.

Watching the game again in replay it would have made little difference; the result in the end was the right one. Burgoyne’s inspired steal in the centre from a Jacob’s tap that wrested the lead back almost immediately after the Crows kicked back in front was crucial.  The devastation on the Adelaide faces was not a team that felt fortunate to be there to make up the numbers, they genuinely expected to win. With Sando’s structures and Dangerfield’s endeavour they almost did.

I would love to read about Brodie Smith’s amazing poise for a rookie, or the way Rory Sloane beat three and literally ripped the ball out of hardened Hawk warrior Jordan Lewis’s arms to send it forward in that manic last quarter. Whether I read about it or not matters little as the window for the Crows is now officially open.

The other good news is that next week looks even better with the Hawks exposed as mortal and the Swans with an extra days break making things look pretty even.

It could be one of the great grand finals.

Comments

  1. If you want to read about those things Simon, there’s an article on the Almanac website that … oh, that’s right, you wrote it.

    Adelaide was good, very good but they weren’t the best side on the field on the day. Close, but not the best. In hindsight (and not that I understand betting markets) the more I thought about the differential in the odds between the two sides playing in the Prelim, who both finished on top of the ladder, the more absurd it seemed.

    However, the Crows played as good as they could and the Hawks didn’t. You and I both know that the Hawks have played a lot better than that, consistently, through the last 12 weeks of the season. In the last 4 games they have beaten West Coast, Sydney, Collingwood and the Crows. That is not to say I reckon they’ll win the GF (gee, I hope they do) but to appreciate that at the pointy end of the season they have been the team to beat.

    For all the endless discussions about this season being the most even in years, with up to 7 teams in the eight potential Premiers, we still find ourselves with first and third playing off for the pennant.

    So yes, the betting and analysis was wayward and the umpies weren’t 100% accurate (before Schoenmakers fell for a textbook free to Porplyzia we were screaming for 50m to Hale for the charge he received after marking the ball – he was taken from the ground dazed)) and most definitely, Adelaide were on song, but the mighty Hawks still prevailed.

    It was a terrific tussle. The Hawks didn’t make the most of their first quarter or in the third. Likewise, the Crows couldn’t find enough in the last to take them all the way. Even though Dangerfield was on fire, so were Junior, Burgoyne, Buddy, Birch and Sammy.

    Now for a week of stress and chomping nails before we go through it all again!

    Cheers

  2. Agree Rick, if the umpire had awarded the 50 then there would have been no opportunity afforded for any hawk to help out another in the nest .

  3. Ben Footner says:

    Love the ‘never in doubt’ attitude displayed by the Hawks fans in the wake of Saturday’s match.

    ‘Those plucky kids from Adelaide did their best but the might of Hawthorn prevailed like we all new it would’. Righto.

    What I wouldn’t give for another minute on that clock on Saturday……

  4. Peter Schumacher says:

    Yep, absolutely right Mr Footner.

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