Wk1 of the finals gave a bit of everything.
The premiership favorite Adelaide flexed their muscle against the Giants.
Tigers and Cats played a scrappy, defensive contest on Friday that burst to life in the final quarter as yellow ‘n black tears of joy poured out of middle aged men dancing in the aisles as they roared their team on to a home Prelim.
Sydney bossed the Bombers.
The Eagles and Power played a classic that had everything, and again the Eagles somehow kept their season alive.
TedSport is happy, proceeding with another $500 jumping into the kitty, now sitting at profit of $3,967 since R14 from a personal bank of $10k from compared volumes ahead of the Herald Sun meaningless Super Tracker.
GEELONG VS RICHMOND
TedSport couldn’t split them, tossing a coin for the Friday night qualifying final which Geelong ‘hosted’ the Tigers at the G. Both teams have impressed more as the season developed, earning their double chances. One of them will have to use it against Sydney next week, so this was going to be THE critical match of Finals Week One.
It was a high intensity, defensive opening quarter that saw the Tigers with the edge but unable to capitalise on their dominance. Some gilt-edged misses kept the Cats in the contest, despite failing to kick a major of their own.
Q2 was more of the same, with Richmond harassing the Cats until they coughed up the ball. But again the Tigers failed to profit from their dominance, only managing one goal in the quarter. Geelong finally kicked their first goal of the game at the 25min mark of Q2, and Danger duly doubled their tally right as the half-time siren sounded. The Tigers controlled the game, primarily by stifling Geelong’s ability to transition the ball, but they were only 1 goal ahead at the half time break.
Early in Q3, Geelong finally grasped a bit of control to see the game all square half-way through the quarter but the Tiger army burst to life, kicking 10 of the final 11 goals of the game to roar into a home prelim final at the G. The stats show they thoroughly deserved victory, winning the kick rating by 70 and keeping Geelong to a transition rating of -45. The Cats simply couldn’t move the ball forward with any fluency.
The Tigers were also great when moving the ball inside F50, with a +12 advantage here as they were able to take 18 marks to just 5 for the Cats inside their F50.
SYD SWANS VS ESSENDON
A baptism of fire awaits the Bombers at the SCG if they are to register their first finals win since 2004. While Sydney is almost the best team in the league — and certainly the best credentialed ever to finish sixth — a line of five goals is probably overrated. We expected the punters to continue to pile money into Sydney and took a little nibble at a line of six goals before the bounce.
After a relatively even Q1, the Swans flexed their muscle in Q2 banging on 10 goals in a bloodbath. Essendon had no answers, and were lucky that the Swans coasted to the line in the second. The Swans won the kick rating by 114, keeping the Dons in the red for transition giving up just 32 inside 50s and only 5 marks … while they took 19 marks inside their F50. The Swans move on to another clash with the Cats. They will be hoping for another 7 goal opening quarter as before in their two recent victories against the Cats.
PORT ADELAIDE VS WC EAGLES
West Coast played its second consecutive elimination final after winning its effective elimination final in style on Sunday. Anything more is a bonus in what has been a generally mediocre year for the Eagles. TedSport would usually back most teams to snuff them out on the eastern side of the Nullarbor, but the Power hardly inspires confidence when the heat is on.
This game had it all, a quick start from the away team to quiet the home crowd, a stirring fight back by the home team, momentum swings galore in Q4, contentious goal reviews and desperate acts in the final minutes when both sides couldn’t be separated.
Extra time was added, and the bookies set some crazy prices, offering 2.25 for an Eagle’s victory, setting up some arbitrage opportunities for the keen punter. The extra time proved ballistic. The game climaxed in a Shuey shot after the siren, which he duly nailed. Suddenly the Eagle’s year is spluttering to life.
After a slow start, Port realised they were going to battle to kick their way past McGovern and the WC HBF line. They opted instead to run and gun in, transitioning the ball with quick HB chains before trying to kick over the HB to Dixon and Co. up forward. This tactic worked well and, despite losing the kick rating stat, Port dominated the transition rating, finishing up over 50 ahead. WC finished badly in the red.
Port were able to turn their transition dominance into 10 more scoring opportunities with advantageous balls inside their F50, but unfortunately were unable to capitalise on them, kicking 10.16 to the Eagle’s much more accurate 12.6. Port have all off-season to kick themselves about their poor kicking for goal, while the Eagles fly on to a contest with a spluttering Giant’s team.