Round 23 – FEARLESS 2019: And now the pre-finals bye…finalists tend your injured.

Hi sorry for the delay. Hope you are all well in life, in work, in health and in footy.


I have thought Geelong is a bit stiff to not be hosting a final at the Cattery. Originally I thought Cats Coach Chris Scott was whingeing, a sure sign of a coach under pressure. However, the night after Geelong plays Collingwood at the MCG (Collingwood’s home ground FYI!), Brisbane hosts Richmond at the Gabba…nothing wrong with that as the Lions deserve a home final for finishing 2nd. But consider this: Gabba hold 42000, GMHBA Stadium (AKA THE Cattery) hosts 36000. Richmond and Collingwood ideally would have the same sort of crowd numbers – in attendance and watching on media formats around the country. By virtue, many will miss out. Equally the Giants host a final at Giants Stadium, capacity of which is 24000.


The AFL’s rationale is the maximisation of revenues earned/attendances. Geelong finishes on top and so Geelong deserves a home final. Yes we know you have to win finals at the MCG. Everybody knows this. However one final at the Cattery isn’t contrary to AFL policy. It’s actually consistent with the home sides getting the home final advantage. The AFL will never tell you the Queensland game should be held at Suncorp Stadium (capacity 52500), nor will the Giants play at ANZ Stadium (capacity 83500). So effectively the AFL has contradicted itself. The irony lies in the 3 premierships won by Geelong in 2007, 2009 and 2011 was with the attitude that the Cats will play and win anywhere. Can the Cats do it in 2019, regardless of scheduling?


Meanwhile at the other end of the spectrum lies the Gold Coast Suns. Many regard the Suns as a basketcase. However I disagree as I read about the Gold Coast Titans recently. The Titans are the NRL team on the Gold Coast. They survive since their 2007 inception and yet have not had much success, making it to only 3 finals series.  It appears to me that the area of the Gold Coast and sporting teams has been more a question of survival, rather than success. Many regard the area as the Bermuda Triangle of sporting clubs with rugby teams and soccer teams coming and going before the Titans.


The Gold Coast Suns survive in the AFL, largely because AFLHQ wants the presence of a team on the Gold Coast and by virtue two teams in Queensland. 2019 saw the Suns start competitively. Their first month saw 3 wins. Slowly the season dissolved and the “panic merchants” were predicting doom and all types of assistance.


How about this? A collective change of thinking. In 2020, how about the Suns be competitive for half a season, whilst continuing to survive. It’s not a big ask. Draft concessions and priority picks are ideals but personally they are not what the club needs. Bigger bodies if anything…seasoned recruits…Daisy Thomas, Eddie Betts, Shaun Burgoyne…who cares about age? Set standards and have mentors for the young. They don’t need more youngsters surely. The youngsters they have might be wanting to follow the revolving door policy that sees Jack Martin and Callum Ah Chee wanting to leave. Give them a reason to stay…and that might just solve their issue. Get competitive Gold Coast..there’s only so much money in the kitty for propping up a club!


FEARLESS 2019 RD23: And now the pre-finals bye…finalists tend your injured.


Collingwood and Essendon played a finals preview of sorts, even though the Bombers rested several players. The Dons got off to a flyer in the 1stqtr before the Pies, though wayward, hit back in the 2nd. The wayward kicking continued for the Pies, but the class gap shone through. Pendles, Adams and Treloar got plenty. Mihocek 4 from 10.16.


The Saints headed north to face the Swans in Buddy’s 300thgame, that doubled as a swansong for the retiring McVeigh and Jack. A five person chairlift included the already retired Grundy and Smith. Swan-turned-Saint Hannebery helped out. As for the game, Buddy kicked 4 and Swans home by 45pts. Coach Ratten laments Saints skills!


North hosted Melbourne down in Hobart in a preview for 2020. Or at least that’s what Dees coach Goodwin wanted. Dees fans got déjà vu! 2ndtrip to Hobart, 2nd5pt loss. Was Stretch, now Neal-Bullen had the chance at the death. Viney tagged Cunnington well but Roos just. Higgins masterclass/sealer. Lewis and Thompson said bye bye.


The Teague Train headed to the Cattery, the 1sttime the two sides had met in 2019. Odd fixturing but didn’t stop Gazza putting on a show, 35years, 28 stats and 3 goals. Upstaged by Danger with 34 stats and 4.3. Cripps 35. A 68pt win not indicative of the strides Carlton had made under Teague, but some good learning to carry into 2020.


Jeremy Cameron kicked 9 as the GWS pantsed the Gold Coast at Metricon on Saturday night. In doing so, he claimed the Coleman Medal and added ratings to another lopsided game. A finetuning for the finals, the GWS Ferrari performed like it had just been serviced. The Suns, however, need more. For 2020, a competitive 1/ 2 season is a goal.


Meanwhile in Perth, Hawthorn came to play. West Coast watched the double chance slip thru hands like the proverbial slips catch. The number 23 sat well on Tim O’Brien, who must surely feel he belongs at the level with 4. Equally, multi skilling Ben McEvoy into a key defender worked well. Hawks 38pts. As for the Eagles, down but not out.


Ballarat held the key to the finals’ jigsaw. Dogs win, Dogs in. End of Story. Crows meanwhile had to win by a margin that defied logic. Soon apparent was that the Crows weren’t up to it. Dogs led from start to end, winning by 34pts. Crows coach Pyke has summer homework, but not disaster SA media believe. Bevos Bullies are finals ready.


Brisbane’s litmus test was the Tigers at the G. 8 wins in a row was good form. However, finals form is the goal. And guess where they’re played? The Gabba and the G are two vastly different finals settings. The Lions acquitted themselves very well, despite Jumping Jack kicking 4 in the 1stqtr. A 27pt loss and a MCG game for good learnings.


Port Adelaide’s game against Fremantle suddenly became a non-event to a point. Port couldn’t make the finals and Freo were auditioning David Hale as coach. Both sides have definite potential for 2020, but 4 qtrs stood between exit meetings and end of season trips. Port arguably more disappointed to miss as they got closer. Port by 43pts.


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  1. george smith says

    In the old days (1981) the Moggies played 2 of their 3 finals at Waverley (VFL Park), which if you know your geography is even further from Geelong and involved a long trip by Trans Otway bus or a long car drive to the carpark from hell. In 1980 it was both finals at Waverley. They lost all their finals played at Waverley.

    In 1991 all the finals were played at Waverley. Not much luck for the Moggies who lost 2 of their 3 finals at that accursed ground.

    It is not until 2007 that the Cats made peace with the MCG and started successful premiership campaigns interstate style – 2 home wins (at MCG) plus grand final win at MCG. They did it 3 times so why change a winning formula? If they do it this year, I expect them to do something similar.

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