AFL Finals- Week 1 Review: The End of The Kennett Curse, Wharfies and Tom Jones

Greetings Tipsters

Late Satnite, I was opinioning that Hawthorn and Sydney might as well play the Grand Final next week, they were so clearly a cut above the rest. Sunday night I was maybe ever so slightly doubtful.

Frinite ought mark the end of The Kennett Curse. Cats did well in the first half, but the Tomahawk was a bit blunt. Scores dead level at halftime, thanx to a late charge from Geelong but Hawthorn found their mojo after the long break. It ebbed and flowed for a a while, but once the Hawks hit the front, they didn’t look back. Five goals to two in the last term of a Qual Final is a bit of a statement, wouldn’t you reckon?

Not that I saw it, I’d fallen asleep on the couch by then, confident in the result. Hawthorn have a week off, Geelong are looking kinda slow and sore and were lacking in fast crumbing types near the goals. Not that the team will burn out or fade away, but they’ve a lot of 200+ players who’ve played more long, tough seasons than most. When those guys fade, they’ll fade fast (cf, Ryan O’Keefe).

Satarvo and the team FKA The Funky Purps fiddled around with flight schedules but made it on time. Not on time to check out the ground – Ross wasn’t worried, saying something like “there’s grass, there’s sticks at each end, we have to kick it through the sticks more than they do.”

Swans fartarsed around for a while. Gave away frees, dumb turnovers, had a bit of that “You should kick the goal” handpass, “No, he should kick the goal” handpass, “I really want that bloke to kick the goal” handpass, by which time that bloke had run past the goal line with two Wharfies at his heels and no-one kicked a goal. Oh, it’s nice to share but who kicks the goal matters a lot less than the goal being kicked.

Freo were never really in the match, despite being close. Early in the last they got within two kicks, then Big John told Lance “Fuck the rest of ‘em, you kick the goal” and sent him to the wing so he wouldn’t be double teamed. Lance duly kicked the required goals.

It was always gonna be a bit of a struggle when your two best backmen are out, but Sydney seemed to be almost toying with the Wharfies. Too much ego at play, I’ve said it several times, Sydney have everything to lose and their worst enemy is themselves.

They were the better team on the night, all over, but not as good as they could’ve been.

North took the symbolic route to victory, a thoughtful touch from a team who beat the Top Four away and got walloped by minnows. So they kicked all of two goals in the first half, then twelve goals to six after the quartered oranges had been chewed. Essendon played okay, they were just overrun by legs and expectations and off-field pressure. It warmed my heart to see two young, lanky longhairs kick eight goals between them.

We slept late on Sunday, real late. I made the long journey from bed to couch in time to watch Port run riot over Richmond. At first glance, it seemed like a traning drill with the witch hats painted yellow and black. But it was more than that and choosing to kick into the wind was the least of Richmond’s troubles. They were outdone by a better team.

For all the talk about legspeed, it’s decision speed that makes the difference. Port are playing like Geelong at their best a few years back, get the ball, keep it moving fast, Breaking the lines is all well and good but a good kick is faster.

Next week, the AFL’s PR team are in a swoon already, the Scott twins meet in a final, one coaching the team in royal blue and white stripes, the other coaching the team in navy blue and white hoops. Then there’s the Clash of the Expansion Teams.

Freo are gonna be more tired and sore than Port. Yet, a few weeks ago, Port were coming off a big win and Freo put them to the sword. Will it happen again?

I dunno. I dunno if North have what it takes to beat Geelong. I don’t see either team being capable of beating Sydney in Sydney. I dunno if Port can beat Freo at home but I suspect that whoever wins is more than capable of giving Hawthorn a good scare, at the least.

The Hawks have been the best balanced team this year. They’ve an evenness across the park that would, most years, put them upfront in the running for a flag. But this ain’t most years, because there’s this team that can be phenomenal when they choose, the Swans, who’ve pinched the Hawks glamour forward and a scion of Hawthorn royalty.

Six or eight weeks ago, I was predicting a Swans v Purps Grand Final. Then I figured that Hawks would do better over the end of the season, and so it has proved. I’m sticking with the Hawthorn v Sydney Grand Final prediction but Port have that certain something that might carry them through another week or three.

Meanwhile, in other news – Detroit Lions had a handy win over New York Giants in the first week of the NFL. Tom Jones, legendary singer with a voice of gold, is doing a gig at the Grand Final. Thank the gods, it’s about time we had a decent singer there. 

A man with the confidence to walk to a fonebox in his undies.

Earl O'Neill tom phone

Given the horrid local hacks and the superannuated rock singers the AFL has preferred over the years, Tom is one hell of a leap forward. Maybe next year we’ll have Hives playing. Or, if the AFL wants to go local, New Christs, as great a rock and roll band as you’ll ever catch, and I can see them doing a long workout on ‘Born Out Of Time’ in which Rob manages a new level of Fuck Youness if Hawthorn aint playing.

Cheers, Tipsters

P&C, a Stop Privatisation Of Footy Production, a division of Trans-Dementia Inc.

Brought to you with the assistance of ‘Tom Jones, Live in Las Vegas, 1968’, a fantastic live soul set.


About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. Perspicacious as always Earl. Geelong – Kangas doesn’t matter. Either is Swans fodder. Dockers are a serious side, but like the Swans last year, I just reckon they are too banged up at the wrong time of year. Port for me, and the Prelim with the Hawks to be the Finals highlight, if its a dry day at the ‘G.

  2. Nice work Mr Earl.
    Had to laugh at “You kick the goal etc” although I was yelling at the TV when it happened.

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