AFL Finals – Week 2: Start with guns ablazing and then fire blanks..

1st Semi Final: Adelaide v Fremantle – AAMI Stadium Friday Night

With the fear of going out in straight sets resonating through the smaller than expected AAMI Stadium crowd of 31,000, Adelaide took to Footy Park to play Fremantle for the right to progress.  The silence was deafening as Fremantle, led by Docker look-a-like Chris Mayne kicked 2 early goals as the visitors shot out to a 16pt qtr time lead. Freo Skipper Pavlich had been well-held by the Truck and yet the Freo barometer was still up and about. Broken Hill’s favourite Mullet, Walker Taylor straightened his early yips to kick a critical goal prior to the main break, ably assisted by the Porpoise, both of whom had little output the week before. In the second half, the arm wrestle intensified with the Dockers defensive mindset slowly being picked apart by Adelaide’s onball brigade of Dangerfield, Wright and Thompson, and not forgetting Boxer Shorts Bernie. The Pav and Ballantyne stayed cold, as the ‘night of the mullet’* played out. Tex Walker with 5.2, deflating young Docker Silvagni, the Porpoise with 3 and Sando’s Crows with a 10pt win and a trip to take on Hawthorn at the MCG.(*To think Tex’s sister is the hairdresser in Broken Hill!!! Mullets galore!!)

2nd Semi Final: Collingwood v West Coast Eagles – MCG Saturday Night

In the prophetic words of Chrissie Hinde and the Pretenders: “It’s back on the chain gang”. So it was for Collingwood, Sorrento and Port Melbourne and numerous other clubs affected by the John McCarthy tragedy of the week just past. The ex-Pie played his junior footy at Sorrento, who forged their way to a premiership during the day; his cousin changed his number whilst playing for Port Melbourne to wear no. 35, McCarthy’s number at Port and so it goes. The biggest spotlight was to fall on Collingwood to see how the players reacted in the wake of the tragic events. There was no guarantee that it would motivate them either way, as grief is such a personal matter who really knows how it permeates the collective team psyche. Raw emotion on the post-match faces of the Collingwood players that were McCarthy’s closest friends indicated that they had won, but not without a fight, drained of all effort and emotion and relieved that they had honoured their friend with a win. It didn’t start that way. The West Coast Eagles had started in the manner that they finished in their elimination final, with all guns blazing. Without their defensive marshal, suspended captain Nick Maxwell, Collingwood was outgunned by the renowned tall Eagles forward setup. Ironically, it was Kerr, Hill and McGinnity that got the early goals with Darling. A 9pt qtr time lead stayed the same thru the 2nd qtr as the Eagles went to the main break 11pts up. The Pies had definitely slowed the fluency of the Eagles and this was evident in the third as the Eagles kicked 1.2 while Daisy Thomas hit a purple patch with 3 goals in the first 8 minutes, dismissing fears of a form slump. The Pies went up a cog and after Josh Kennedy kicked a goal early in the last to regain the lead, the Eagles didn’t score again. Instead of another case of Bucks Fizz, the Pies managed to graft out a fighting 13 point win and a trip to Homebush to take on the Swans.




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