AFL Finals Week 1: TV Ringside? Just Buddy and Taz

FEARLESS: And away we go – four games, two clubs out.

1st Qualifying Final: Hawthorn v Collingwood – MCG Friday Night

Nightclub veterans Tarrant and Franklin kicked off proceedings as the Hawks and Pies squared off on Friday Night. In moves reminiscent of TV Ringside, the AFL might look to this boxing as a form of pre-game entertainment. If the intent was to throw Buddy off his game, Tarrant’s moves worked wonders for about a quarter and then the Hawk superstar went into overdrive and kicked 4. Despite the Hawks losing Whitecross early to activate their Savage Sub, the only time the Magpies looked in control was just before the main break when they hit the lead. The Hawks then responded with 3 goals to lead at the half by 18pts. From there, the Collingwood Captain’s report typified the Magpie effort, misplaced intent and not enough polish to control the game, despite the best efforts of Travis Cloke with 6 Goals and Andy Krakouer with 4. Hawks get a week off after a convincing 38 pt win. Pies to go again.

2nd Qualifying Final: Adelaide v Sydney – AAMI Stadium Saturday Afternoon

Otto the autopilot flew the Sydney Swans to the City of Churches for the Swans Qualifying Final against Adelaide. From the start of the game, the finals-hardened Swans were “on”. They literally had the Goodes and it showed. Adelaide, normally poised and deliberate at home, were wayward and inaccurate, maybe a sign of a nervous return to finals action. Ryan O’Keefe led the way for his teammates as did Jude Bolton, Ted Richards and the typically no-frills defence, even without Reg Grundies. Try as they might, the Crows couldn’t get themselves into their normal rhythms, stifled by the contested style of the Swans. In the end, the adoring Adelaide crowd slowly shuffled out of AAMI as the game was lost. Sydney had earned a home Preliminary Final at Homebush and restored their hardnosed reputation after their trip to Geelong. The Crows were left to lament a season ending injury to young gun Talia.

1st Elimination Final: Geelong v Fremantle – MCG Saturday Night

The last time these two teams played a final at the G, big Aaron Sandilands was as mobile as a goalpost. This time it was a whole different story and by quarter time, it was the Cats who, to quote the Mayor of Hiroshima, were saying: “What was that?” The Fremantle skipper had kickstarted his teams’ finals campaign to be 7 goals in front at the 1st change. Having had their history described as frequently flaky, the Dockers had been instilled with a new steely resolve under coach Ross Lyon. Past Freo teams might have been content just to make the finals, but no more. Despite the best efforts of the Cats to get to within 4 goals, Fremantle was able to maintain a decent lead and return volley, usually with a Pavlich goal. At the other end, the Tomahawk got Zac’d. Pavlich ended with 6 and serial pest Ballantyne with 3 as Freo gave the Cats the old heave ho out of the 2012 finals. Freo now head to Adelaide.

2nd Elimin Final: West Coast v North Melbourne –Pattersons Stadium Sunday

After 10 minutes of sizing each other up, West Coast set about destroying North Melbourne’s return to finals. Little can be made of 29 degrees and a hot Perth September afternoon, but much can be said about the wide gap in finals’ composure and experience. The Roos were like roadkill waiting in headlights for the inevitable moment. Despite some third quarter composure from the Roos, it amounted to little. A large loss became a blowout after Boomer Harvey’s only Roo goal in the last quarter. The Eagles last 15 minutes got 6.6 to 0.0. 96pts at the end – North may rue bringing back underdone players for a final. Darling got 4 as WCE now meet the Pies at the G.

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