AFL Finals Week 1: The View from Shepparton

Remember Alastair Lynch getting 10 weeks for his effort in the 2004 Grand Final when he repeatedly struck or attempted to strike the Port Adelaide fullback Darryl Wakelin and in addition in general terms be an arse, particularly in that first quarter. Well as a Lions supporter that wasn’t one of my proudest moments. I don’t know why he did it, I don’t know if he does but for me this sullied badly the reputation of a fine if tough player. I reckon that he deserved to have the book thrown at him and in any case it was no help to Brisbane’s cause at all that day. Nor it might be added was Akka’s intercepted hand pass in the third quarter which was the turning point of the match but that’s another story.

The point that I am getting to is that I hope that the tribunal throws the book at Chris Tarrant, just love players that play the man and not the ball. I have had a sneaking respect for the Pies for most of the year, but now like most of the footy firmament, most of the time, hope that they get walloped. If Buckley wants his team to indulge in gamesmanship rather than sportsmanship that’s fine, but ultimately it will do neither his or his team’s cause any good at all. I really don’t know how Lance held it together.

The weakness and strengths of a strong full forward were there to see in this match. It was fantastic to see Cloke in form at last as after all he has copped (and Dawes came back reasonably OK as well) but nearly every time a forward goes for a spekky and it doesn’t come off the ball is swept to the other end of the ground. Hawthorn were simply too good. I watched the first half of this game with fellow tragics at the gold star theatre which is part of where I live these days and like many went home at half time because the result was inevitable.

I, like many commentators, have said all year that the Crows are pretenders. As a born again Crows supporter for the finals in the absence of the now toothless Lions I still thought that they would get through Sydney at home. Well, they didn’t and on that form they had better get onto Footy Park now and start playing to have any chance against Freo. As hinted at above it is useless forwards nearly marking the ball which it seemed to me happened to Tippett and Taylor Walker time and time again. This analysis thus far has been most unfair to Sydney who were simply magnificent. No one could get near Goodes, thought that he was supposed to be finished. Sydney’s ability to stop the flow of play and indeed to stop Adelaide scoring was really impressive. I reckon that they are arguably the best team now, this year. Meanwhile Adelaide lost a game when it really counted. Gee isn’t that a surprise!

Having said that Freo showed the Cats how to play. I had been thinking to myself before the game  that they shouldn’t be written off so quickly given the way that they finished off North Melbourne not too long ago  but then promptly forgot those thoughts. In fact I only came to the game at quarter time and could not believe what I saw, doubt that any Cats fans present or not could either. Like most almost complacent commentators I thought, my view was that a fight back by Geelong was just a matter of time. Everyone knew that Freo were hopeless away, except that they weren’t. They are now seriously a good side. Geelong will of course be disappointed but they have brought in a lot of new players and had one in particular who could  not return, Menzel.

It was  a  bad week for the Scott boys, their teams were both beaten by quarter time. The Perth Eagles looked invincible particularly with  Naitanui playing well, gee he is exciting to watch. I wonder how it is that all of the Selwood’s are so good. Another, “Scott” was brilliant. North Melbourne never looked to be in it, but never expected them to have nine goals kicked against them in that last quarter. This result would definitely give me an inner glow of satisfaction if I were an Eagle’s supporter. Poor old North, like most teams, cannot play away.

I think that both West Australian teams will win and win easily this weekend even though both are playing away. What a result that would be for footy in that state!

High Point: Freo. Low point:  Adelaide.

About Peter Schumacher

Wannabe footy commentator and writer, used to be a wannabe footballer

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