FEARLESS 2020 Finals Week 1: 34 points separates 8 teams – AFL’s Covid Finals off to a flyer

Hi all, I’m impressed. That the AFL has managed to get so far with this season, in what is the strangest set of circumstances on record…yep ok there have been wars and Spanish Flu and other interruptions throughout the course of history. The stop and subsequent restart and constant looking over the shoulder as to what comes next…all the while being grateful that Queensland has been prepared to take on the role of motherland for a year.


And we do we get? The closest first week of finals is what we got, since the final 8 systems were introduced across the AFL. In 1994, I received a VHS tape of the first week of the AFL finals as an Aussie living and studying abroad. I watched with delight as the video played, whilst juggling assignments and exams. In that year, first played 8th, 2nd played 7th, 3rd played 6th and 4th played 5th. This was the original final 8 system. Four games were decided by a total of 54 points. It all started off when North Melbourne (3rd) beat Hawthorn (6th) when the game went into extra time..yes extra time…as the final siren had the scores level. Enter North captain Carey to lead his side to a 23pt win, with 3.5 to 0.0 in 5 minutes of extra time at both ends. That night, Geelong (4th) managed to defeat the Western Bulldogs (5th) off the back of a Billy Brownless bomb on the siren to win by 5pts. On Sunday, a young and spirited Melbourne (7th) caused the boilover by beating the experienced Carlton (2nd) by 27points. The weekend’s action was completed that same Sunday over in Perth when the West Coast Eagles (1st) nearly got rolled by Collingwood (8th). A Mick McGuane fumbled mark cost the Magpies any chance of a major upset as they steamed towards forward 50. In the end the Eagles held on by 2pts. Eliminated were the Magpies and the Hawks. I’ve still got that VHS tape in my garage along with the VHS machine!


In 2015, the 8 teams and four games were decided by 65points, proving another bonanza for the AFL. The final 8 system had changed so the top four sides had earned a double chance, whereas the bottom 4 sides of the finals played in sudden death elimination finals. West Coast Eagles (2nd) started the finals in Perth against Hawthorn (3rd) and won by 32pts. The day after the Western Bulldogs (6th) hosted Adelaide (7th) at the MCG and the rankings counted for little as the Crows got home by 7pts. The Bulldogs were the first side to be eliminated. That night the action returned to Perth’s Domain Stadium as the Fremantle Dockers (1st) hosted and outlasted the Sydney Swans (4th) by 9pts. All eyes returned back to the MCG on Sunday where Richmond (5th) were keen to break their finals duck against North Melbourne (8th) in their third straight elimination final. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Roos forward Jarrad Waite rose to the occasion with Brent Harvey to send the Tigers packing by 15pts…the seeds for future Tigers’ motivation and success had been well and truly planted.


Apart from these years, there have been one or two blowouts in the first week of the final eight series to see the total margins hit over 100 points as a rule.


By virtue of these past 26 years, what we saw on this most recent weekend might not be repeated for a while. Ok, yes, it’s understandable, given our field of history that has been documented, but who doesn’t love the theatre of the close final! It really doesn’t matter what the sport is, I guess. However, last weekend’s action was a joy to behold for the unaligned. For the fans of the competing teams…well..we’ve all been there and yes, it’s a rollercoaster of emotions. We look forward to seeing what unfolds…


Cheers PT


2020 FEARLESS Finals Week One: 34pts. The difference between the top 8 sides.




Whilst it may be lazy journalism as per Cats Coach Scott referring to poor finals record, reality dawns the Cats were outworked by Port and wayward goalkicking for the Cats was costly. Port produced a display of finals intensity expected of the top side, despite collective lack of finals games. Tomahawk lost his magic touch of the previous encounter and Gazza quiet. Midfield of Wines, Boak, Rockliff (in first ever final) and the presence of Stevie Motlop in the forward line was gold. 3 goals in a low scoring game – awesome. Power advance to a home Prelim and the Cats return to Queensland for a chance to reset and fire up for the semi. Kenny’s Port had Power by 16pts.




Fifteen games for fifteen Tiger wins. History counts for nothing. Or does it? Certainly, the Brisbane Lions had a point to prove and played as such. Mind you, last year’s finals straight sets exit might also have been cause for motivation. After a flying start, the Tigers found the Lions a more difficult proposition in the 2nd qtr. 4.1 to 1.0 an indication of newfound maturity within Brisbane. Charlie Cameron led the charge with 2 goals and a late goal by Lachie Neale sealed a 13pt lead at the main break. Unlike Tigers of old, the Lions maintained pressure and forced Tiger errors and giving away free kicks. Tigers hadn’t lost in Queensland in 2020. Lions were keen to break that habit and did. A 15pt Lions win earns a home Prelim. The Tigers have to advance via the semis. Lion Lyons 24.




An assuredness about St.Kilda in 2020 that should fill fans with optimism. So it was after a relatively even first half against the Dogs, the Saints led by 7pts, having trailed by 5pts at qtr time. Much of Saints’ impetus was brought about through captain Geary and tap ruck import Paddy Ryder. Teaming with Marshall, Ryder gave the Saints midfield access and dominance over the Dogs’ English. Coupled with a young King wearing 12 up forward the Saints 3rd qtr set up a commanding 4 goal lead at the last break. Bulldog runners, however, are never down and out. Bazlenka Smith off the wing and little Daniel off the back flank gave the Dogs impetus as the Saints went conservative in the last. The Bont and Saint veteran Hannebery also had impact. Saints managed to hold on by 3pts as Ryder’s hammy went pop within the last 2 minutes. Ouch! Captain’s game by Geary.




Once you take the field you’ve got a chance. Few believed the Dirty Pies had a chance, coming from outside WA’s strict borders! The Eagles at home were a difficult proposition, moreso in a final. Enter Mason Cox, the Yankee Magpie, stung into action by a crowd calling out barbs re Trump and Covid. By qtr time, Cox had 3 goals and it was game on. Pies by 16pts. A tagging job by Greenwood on Tim Kelly had helped reduce Eagles playmaker’s impact but Adams and Treloar helped the Pies retain the lead, albeit reduced to 3pts at the half. 2.1 to Eagle spearhead Kennedy helped. The Pies kept at it, although most still believed the Eagles would roll home. But no…the Magpies took a 10pt into the last break, continuing their finals interstate record for defying the odds. The lead changed a few times in the last, but 2 goals to Pie Mihocek including a cracker shank as well as some De Goey magic and an Adams tackle and the unthinkable occurred. Pies by 1pt in Perth..this was not a miracle. Did the Eagles underestimate them…maybe they didn’t respect them…Pies advance to the semis full of confidence as the Eagles contemplate an early exit/October dreaming. Bang the bins Bucks!



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