Fearless 2018: Finals Week 1 – We are well rested, now off and running

 

To be able to get into the MCG 2 hours ahead of the game was a privilege to watch the stands slowly fill and allow the atmosphere to build before your eyes. As for the game, Richmond probably looked in control by the middle of the second quarter. Despite the Hawks leading at quarter time, you could sense Richmond were settled and ready to put pedal to the metal. Rewind 5 years and it was the Hawks who would’ve slowly gone up a cog to wear down the opposition. It says as much for Richmond’s composure that they’ve learned the lessons over this time. As games go, this final was a reasonably pedestrian affair. A clear gulf between the two sides perhaps. Tigers home by 31pts.

 

Nerves. Simple. Could the Demons cut the muster of finals pressure footy after 12 years? I sat with a Geelong member on Friday night at a function not at the MCG, he just hoped that the Cats wouldn’t get blown away in the first qtr. Nerves. History shows the Dees brought their A-game and went into the qtr time huddle 31pts up. Where were the Cats? Half the team had less than a few possessions. The Cats had the experience to turn it around. Steady inroads in the second and third qtr as the Cats went in 23pts down at both breaks. The Dees couldn’t get their accuracy happening in the forward 50…1.10 for 2 qtrs to 3.6. In the last though, the Dees got their act together again and blew the Cats away to Wacky Wednesday. The Geelong faithful got their joy in that.

 

Sydney hosting a final…actually a cause for concern for Swans supporters as the Giants made the trip over the Harbour Bridge to tackle their crosstown rivals in a death or glory clash. Sydney’s home ground record has been cause for fear amongst the Swans faithful. Just maybe today it wouldn’t be a factor. Unfortunately what transpired was the most disappointing team performance for the whole first week of the finals. Once the Giants got a sniff…BANG! It was roadkill like an errant car on Aughtie Drive! Nothing the Swans or, for that matter, Buddy could do would turn to gold. The Giants took the chockies convincingly even with Hong Kong Phooey Greene unusual marking technique. GWS a 49pt win. GWS co-captain kept an underdone Buddy goalless.

 

Collingwood made their second trip to Optus Stadium in almost as many weeks. This time a slightly sterner test than a determined Dockers. West Coast had earned the right to host the final. Collingwood had earned the right to fly to WA. And it was game on after three relatively lopsided finals. The Pies might rue letting the home team kick the first three goals, but from there they found some composure to trail by 12pts at the first break. It evolved into an arm wrestle from early in the second with multiple lead changes and intensity for finals footy displayed by all. The Magpies return to finals footy saw them lead at both the end of the 2nd and 3rd qtrs. The Eagles weren’t done with though. Darling and Kennedy goaled to get the lead back, then de Goey goaled for another lead change. Enter Lewis Jetta at 24min mark with a goal and Ronaldo salute. Darling again goaled at the 27min mark. Redden marks on the siren. West Coast to host prelim. Magpies brave, given injuries. Eagles by 16pts. Pies back to G to host GWS.

 

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