AFL Round 23 – to the wire we go!

We are approaching finals and the peloton is still to throw up a suitable candidate for 8th spot.

The Tigers have it as theirs to lose, but a tough ask is Sydney in Sydney. At least, Homebush is more palatable to travelling teams rather than the SCG. The Eagles are well placed to take 8th should the Tigers stumble, as are the Crows. The Eagles have a tough trip to Club Metricon where the Gold Coast will be keen to finish off their season on a high. The Crows host the Saints and should salute at the Adelaide Oval. Collingwood has a significantly lesser % than their rivals and have to square off against the Hawks on Friday night. Given their injuries, Collingwood making the finals would be a marvellous effort.

Whilst two finals seem to be set, Hawthorn v Geelong and North v Essendon, the Bombers still have to overcome a competitive Carlton outfit that let its supporters down last Friday night. Sydney know they will host Port or Fremantle at Homebush. Such a shame as the SCG is ready willing and able and full of atmosphere that Homebush cannot hope to generate or hasn’t been able to generate since Cathy Freeman darted around for the gold medal at the Sydney Olympics.

AFL Grand Poobah Mike Fitzpatrick and his cohorts have a lot to answer for making Homebush the AFL finals venue in NSW.

Port and Fremantle have their own fate within their grasp, squaring off at Pattersons on Saturday for a spot in the top 4. The loser gets a home elimination final which isn’t so bad either. I suppose everything is relative. There will be 10 sides that head into Mad Monday and end of season trips at the conclusion of this weekend.

It’s funny to think that the Bulldogs-Giants game on Sunday twilight is the only game that will not have any impact on the composition of the final eight. In years gone past, it was all settled by Saturday night. Such is the closeness of the season. What a great outcome for the AFL to hopefully restore some gloss to a season that has been dogged by controversies, many of which are of their own doing.

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