FEARLESS 2021: Finals Week 1 and 2 Review – All I Want For 2022 is….

Hi all, as we head into the important weeks of the finals, spare a thought for the sides that are no longer there! September holidays are not what most AFL players want. In the words of 70s glam rockers Sweet…they want a piece of the action! Maybe next year for 10 teams…credit where it’s due for Brisbane, GWS, Sydney Sin the history of the AFLWans and Essendon – you at least made it and can use that as a platform for 2022.


For the others, it reads a little bit like this…

18: North Melbourne: as fresh holders of the kitchen utensil, the Roos have gone from being possibly the worst team in the history of the AFL to being possibly the best wooden spooner in the history of the AFL…such is the logic of many footy media pundits. A bit more experience for the youngsters as well as some more new youngsters should help the quest to find a new wooden spooner in 2022. The most appropriate song of course is “The Only Way Is Up” by Yazz and The Plastic Population (1988)


17: Collingwood: a very well qualified 17th, given that finals 2020 resulted in a terrific finals win in Perth. A few more youngsters and some board stability would be greatly appreciated, along with the calculator and spreadsheet for the list manager. A kid ironically called ‘How Much Daicos?’ would be a good place to start. The most appropriate song of course is “Things Can Only Get Better” by D-Ream (1993)


16: Gold Coast: dropped off a bit towards the end but ultimately more consistency and a smaller gap between best and worst. A simple aim for 2022: 10 wins – a landmark and would equal the club’s best effort since entering the AFL. Keeping all players is essential. A bit less flamboyance from President Tony Cochrane and a trip to the health farm for Coach Stuart Dew would be of benefit in the off season also. The most appropriate song (s) of course is/are “Better” or “Helping Hand” by Screaming Jets (1991/1992)


15: Adelaide: like the Suns, more consistency would be helpful for the Crows. However, the foundations are pretty solid for Matthew Nicks as he regenerates the club from the debacles post 2017 Grand Final. A diploma in race relations and people management for Tex Walker would also be useful. The most appropriate song of course is “Shut Up” by the Black Eyed Peas (2003)


14: Hawthorn: The King Is Dead! Long live the King! Sam Mitchell begins his reign with plenty of good youngsters but also some experienced players who might be disillusioned that the trip under Clarko wasn’t an easy ticket to the Promised Land. Some more recruits and a clear understanding of where everyone sits in the new world order is beneficial as is less mutterings from Jeff! Apart from anything by New Order, the most appropriate song of course is “My Way” by Frank Sinatra (1969)


13: Carlton: a game of musical chairs is actually unnecessary, but seems to be unfolding at Ikon Park. The removal of Coach David Teague (48% W/L Ratio) can be viewed as harsh, especially given the injuries in the second half of the year and the consistency (for 3 quarters) of the team for the bulk of the season.  Some highly paid players better start producing highly anticipated results, otherwise the board will again be saying the list is good enough to play finals. The most appropriate song of course is “Hotel California” by The Eagles (1976)


12: Richmond: what the hell happened…maybe the well has been attended one too many times and the cup no longer runneth over! The injury to Dusty didn’t help as he is Mr September but the compass was lost in that past month. Still, crisis creates opportunity and this is an opportunity for Dimma to see what’s in the cupboard! Retirements will guarantee regeneration of the list. The most appropriate song of course is “Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green Day (2005)


11: Fremantle: the green shoots are beginning to show on the WA docks, somewhere near the Bon Scott statue outside Little Creatures Brewery. A win over crosstown nemesis the Eagles in round 22 broke the mental shackles of rivalry, after 11 losses. The recruitment of the sage Bob Murphy from Bulldogs and SEN might prove to be genius or might prove to be folly, depending on how it plays out. The gap between best and worst needs some urgent attention and some luck with injuries would help too. The most appropriate song of course is “Go All The Way” by The Raspberries (1972)


10: St.Kilda:  A frustrating year by the Saints, a step back when they were expecting a step forward. Memo: It doesn’t just happen! Once you lose a final, you can’t collectively assume that you’ll just automatically get there again the following year! That’s the crux of the St.KIlda situation. The Saints proved their best was good enough, but they also proved that they ALL need to bring “it” every single week. The Coach and staff can’t do it for you! The most appropriate song of course is “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey (1981)


9: West Coast Eagles: Is it the end of an era? Do the Eagles need to regenerate? The ageing list will probably cop the fiercest review of all the teams outside the top 8. I suspect the soft underbelly exposed in 2020 Queensland hub life and also in a lost home elimination final might counteract any potential overestimating of the list. The core of this list is still good, but Coach Adam Simpson will have to answer the big queston: How does it get better? The most appropriate song of course is “It’s The End of the World As We Know It” by REM (1987)



2021 FEARLESS Finals weeks one and two: And so it comes down to this…


Finals weeks one


Port Adelaide v Geelong Qualifying Final Friday Night Adelaide Oval As sure as Cats have 9 lives, the first week of the finals has snuffed out many of them. Equally the Power hadn’t been that convincing in 2021 thus far. That changed. The Cats were made to look like fools as the Power surged to a 43pt win with Allir standing tall as Port’s defensive beacon, directing traffic and intercepting at will. The Cats made more errors and looked jittery, whereas Port stood tall, smart, clean and efficient. Orazio 4, Mitch Duncan and Ollie Wines 33 each but 5.13 won’t win you that much in finals footy.


Sydney Swans v GWS Giants Elimination Final U-Tas Stadium Saturday Arvo The battle of the Cataract Gorge Bridge saw the two nomadic NSW teams square off in Tassie’s first AFL final (another square off!). And what a belter it was! Just when one team looked to have the advantage, the other hit their straps and so on. In the end, the Swans just couldn’t get the goal that was required, although nearly catching the Giants by kicking points. The Swans kicked the last 5pts and had their chances but the GWS stood tall with Toby Toby Toby in the thick of everything yet again. GWS 1pt.



Melbourne v Brisbane Qualifying Final Saturday Night Adelaide Oval and after an even first qtr, the Demons showed their class 4.6, a touch wayward to 1.2 in the 2nd qtr and a 5 goal lead at the main break. Not even the loss of Luke Jackson’s teeth could halt the Dees as the collective maturity shone through, stifling Brisbane’s attacking options in the 3rd, despite only kicking 2pts. A 19pt lead into the last and Lachie Neale’s masterclass aside, the Demons were looking a better team across the ground and ran out 33pt winners to earn a week off. O-Mac and Gawn/Jackson staged a great ruck battle.

Western Bulldogs v Essendon Elimination Final U-Tas Stadium Sunday Arvo and much will be made of Cody Weightman’s 4 goals from free kicks. However, the highlighted gap between Essendon winning a final and this game was also distorted. This Rutten era at Essendon starts clean and unencumbered by the past. However, a 3pt deficit at the half got blown out to a 49pt loss. What was a worthy finals spot earned by the Bombers becomes a benchmark for the future. The Dogs rose to the challenge on a wet day in Tassie to progress to the semis. Josh Schache proved his AFL worthiness.




Finals weeks two


Geelong v GWS Giants Semi Final Optus Stadium Friday Night Redemption seems to be a recurring theme for Geelong in the 2nd week of finals. Sam Taylor’s rd21 template for holding the Tomahawk to 1 goal got blown to smithereens and the absence of Toby was obvious for the Giants. Again, a worthy effort of making the finals for GWS came to an end as the Cats cream rose to the top. The return of Zach Tuohy off the backline added an attacking dimension lacking for the Cats against Port. GWS players were always playing catchup, whilst Menegola, Ratugolea, Rohan and all Cats  stepped up a notch. A 32pt 3 /4 time lead enough to gain a 35pt win. Cats chop down the beanstalk.


Brisbane v Western Bulldogs Semi Final Gabba Saturday Night Not that anyone wants to go out in straight sets…but in terms of entertainment, this final had it all. For the crowd and the tv audience, this game went down to the wire and was simply and utterly life or death! When Latham Vandermeer kicked that last point, after Zac Bailey’s goal, after Bailey Smith’s “ice in the veins” goal, the point of exhaustion was reached by all and sundry. The Dogs had survived at the death. The heroics of all players on both teams had simply highlighted why finals footy AFL-style is a must watch live event!


The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE


To return to the www.footyalmanac.com.au  home page click HERE


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.


Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE





Leave a Comment