Fearless’s Finals Review

FEARLESS 2016 Finals Week 3 & 4 – Who Wants to Play in the big one?? What about the silly season?

 

PRELIMINARY FINAL: GEELONG v SYDNEY – MCG – FRIDAY NIGHT

GEEvSYD

As if to dispel any advantage given to the team that qualifies first, Sydney started as they did last week powering to a 6 goal lead at the first change. Blistering is as good an adjective as any to describe how the Swans got off to a flyer with McGlynn, Tippett and Parker all goaling within the first 10 minutes, leaving the Cats a bit shellshocked. Parker, Tippett, Heeney and Franklin all goaled to close out the first quarter whilst the Cats were left to rue inaccuracy with 0.5. Given that the Swans won by 37pts and led by 39 at the first change says emphatically that the game was won in the first quarter. Given that the Swans won by a similar margin earlier in the year down at the Cattery, maybe the mental edge was held by the Sydneysiders and the Cats fell victim. I’m sure the Cats hierarchy would dispel that but the efforts of Dangerwood and cohorts were good after qtr time but not enough to ultimately bridge the gap. Ouch. Swans into the GF and the Cats left to rue an otherwise successful year where they climbed back up.

 

PRELIMINARY FINAL: GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY GIANTS v WESTERN BULLDOGS – SPOTLESS STADIUM – SATURDAY TWILIGHT

GWSvWBD

For all the angst about the venues, the Preliminary Final at Spotless Stadium will be remembered for being one of the finest on record. Maybe punters missed out on gaining entry but the collective audience got treated to a game that was a classic. The newbies v the battlers, as the Bulldogs banner so aptly said the Giants were borne of AFL focus groups and the Dogs were built from anything but. The AFL got the dream game to help spread the gospel into the Western Sydney frontier and it continued right until the Jake Stringer pass to Jack Macrae which centred the ball for the final goal of the game. Two fierce rivals borne of recruiting and poaching deals had delivered on the day and the Giants must’ve rued the suspension to Stevie J, who might have been the difference, given his history of big performances. Enter Tom Boyd, once Dogs Ruckman Roughead went down, to curtail the influence of Giants ruck Goliath, the Mummy, and set up many forward thrusts. Sometimes a final must have an unjust result where one team wins and the other loses but the mere fact is unfair. For the GWS, this was not their time. The Dogs had finally won a Prelim Final after seven failed attempts.

 

GRAND FINAL: SYDNEY v WESTERN BULLDOGS – MCG – SATURDAY AFTERNOON

SYDvWBD

What do you say about the Grand Final that hasn’t been said already? Had the two NSW teams been lined up to play I reckon at least 20,000 less would’ve attended and a massive dent in the TV ratings would’ve been the outcome. That’s a gutfeel assertion, but true I believe. The fairytale that unfolded couldn’t have been scripted better by AFLHQ even if Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, The Social Network) had been hired! If Tom Boyd hadn’t announced his worth previously, nor Luke Beveridge hadn’t been rated as a coach and person, then it certainly took place on the day. The management of players thru injury and the supreme efforts of every Bulldog playing for the cause helped a 62-year drought be broken in a manner similar to Leicester City in the EPL. Bob Murphy was unlucky, but maybe his time will come next year. The Swans didn’t get off to the flyer that defined their previous two finals wins. Coach Horse Longmire said he had a few players that failed to fire. Damning on those players…surely the moment requires the effort. From there, it was a collective willing of the red blue and white (and all others outside the Sydney Swans) that got the Dogs to the dais. They may not have been the best team at various times in 2016 but how could it be denied? My tip is there are a few trivia questions in years to come citing Premiership players from the Dogs 2016 team: Hamling, Roberts, McLean, Cordy, Biggs, Dunkley. A full four quarter effort leading to a 22pt Grand Final victory. For the Swans, the year was still a success, blooding many good youngsters but just falling short on the big day. Not a crime, but definitely food for thought for the Swans and their coaching hierarchy. However, for the veteran Dogs Matty Boyd, Dale Morris, the day they never thought would come did.

 

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Comments

  1. bob.speechley says:

    Still makes me shudder when I reflect on the magnificent efforts by the Bulldogs in both of these games. Agree that the Preliminary Final between GWS and the Dogs was, as you put it Fearless, a CLASSIC. Not many people have reflected on the part played by Zaine Cordy’s knee in the game which I feel could be the subject of a thesis on revenge.

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