AFL Round 19 – West Coast v Gold Coast: Finals candle flickers

I almost forgot the Eagles were playing this week.

There’s only one sports talkback show during the week in Perth. It revolves around the Eagles and the Dockers. Obviously. You can hear the calls of Eagles supporters progressively changing from “we’re going to be premiers” to “well, we have had a lot of injuries this year, so I really am proud of the boys.”

AFL.com.au predicted at the start of this year that the Eagles would be premiers. My facebook wall went crazy with links to the article, almost as if all the Eagles needed to do was show up from April to August, and blue and gold confetti cannons were a forgone conclusion on Saturday, September 28.

Now, I appreciate that not every single Eagles supporter shares that view. Context however, is so important. Commentary without context would be to observe Michael Clarke hitting a red ball around a field in Manchester a few times. Commentary with context appreciates the gravity of Pup’s actions.

A win against Gold Coast in round 19 for the Eagles supporter in April would have been ho-hum. Not many punters foresaw the spike in improvement from a young team, and the injuries that have hurt a proud club. No Kerr. No Priddis. No Shuey. No Masten. No chance?

It is a sunny day. It is the middle of winter, so the ground is a little “Perth chilly”. Kennedy dominates the first half, plucking marks, and leading high onto the wings.

The Eagles appear to create space in their forward line by pushing up to centre-half forward, and then hoping to catch the Gold Coast on the rebound.

Ablett is well held by Glass, and spends a fair bit of time in the forward line. Dion Prestia steps up and has about 20 possessions to half time.

An honourable mention to Nathan Bock. Came on, provided a target for the Gold Coast, slotted a few goals. Welcome back.

The Eagles at three quarter time appeared to have a comfortable 22 point lead. What would once have been supreme confidence, turned into hopeful expectation.

The final quarter was a ridiculously entertaining affair. Sometimes games at Patersons Stadium end with a whimper rather than a bang. An upset, unthinkable in April was on the cards.

Alex Sexton, who I have honestly paid no attention to ever, kicks two in five minutes to bring the margin down to eight. The intensity lifts immediately. Swallow follows with another to bring the lead down to two, and a drama filled goal review gives the Eagles eight points of breathing space.

A five-minute cameo from Hall results in two goals to reduce the margin to two again. The crowd starts to get involved. Ashton Hams floats up and grabs an overhead mark 35 out on the boundary. Perhaps slightly sluggish, perhaps blinded by the afternoon sun, that appeared to be the beginning of the end of what was a proud effort from the Gold Coast.

Not according to Campbell. The unknown man of the moment Alex Sexton has the ball on the far boundary, Gold Coast with yet another surge of momentum.

Campbell gets angry, which I’m actually OK with. A free kick is awarded against him for what would seem a normal run-of-the mill contact on the far wing. Surely he is leading the free kicks against in the “because of who I am, and because of who my dad is” category. The contact appeared fair, but the home team as is traditional, gets a decision in their favour.

Jarrod Harbrow, who is finally showing signs of the dash and speed that made the Gold Coast court him from the Bulldogs in the first place, runs into 50 and kicks a goal to make a few thousand Eagles supporters very nervous.

There are 2 minutes remaining, with 9 points the difference. Richmond v Gold Coast in Cairns anyone?

It is not to be. Dalziell with the sealer.

Eagles finals hopes still glimmering faintly. If Le Cras and Nic Nat come back, perhaps September may resemble the thoughts and dreams of April?

WEST COAST 4.0  10.1  15.6  20.10 (130)
GOLD COAST SUNS 3.3  7.7  11.8  17.11 (113)

 

Votes: 3 Cox 2 Kennedy 1 Prestia

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