Bombing in the deep end of AFL finals footy
THE RUBDOWN: After a very juicy week one of AFL finals footy, there’s a few teams who will be ruing what could have been and a few who will be stepping up to the next level.
Ahhhhh…. Finals. Intensity hits record highs, skill execution becomes a surgical procedure and the bloke that used to mix up the Powerade is replaced with a chemical engineer. Players are so wired that spontaneous combustion during the warm up is a distinct possibility. Coach’s boxes are fitted out with extra defibrillators. Food vendors are required to sell hot chips at 50 degrees Celsius to prevent attention related burn injuries. Everything goes up a notch and all you can do is go along for the ride and hope your team doesn’t choke.
If you’re a Bomber fan, unfortunately for you they did just that. This game had by far the biggest intrigue, the culmination of genuine hatred, a spiteful past, a packed MCG and curtains for the loser. The Blues had the yips in the first few minutes, giving the Dons a handy little lead. But Brett Ratten brought Chris Judd out of Cryogenic stasis at quarter time to single handedly dismantle Essendon’s midfield. By half time the seagulls were circling like buzzards and the green grass of the ‘G resembled the beach scene from ‘Saving Private Ryan’.
Reward for Carlton? A trip to Perth for another elimination final against West Coast, after they went down swinging against the Pies. This time last year, the Eagles were sipping on West Coast Coolers, however this season they are a chance to make a Prelim. If it wasn’t for a few brain fades and missed gimme set shots, a GF berth would’ve been within grasp. The ‘Hard Way’ is the only option now and a win over the Blues gives them a go at the Cats, who were simply superb against Hawthorn.
Geelong’s seasoned bodies suited the sub-Antarctic conditions better but Buddy’s right leg folding in half didn’t help. The only upset of the weekend belonged to the Swans. It was tailor made for the Saints – the comfy roof overhead, Nick Riewoldt handing out the sacrament to the cheer squad and a visiting busload of Swedish exchange students in the crowd. Alas, it was the Swans who showed the steel and will take on the hurting Hawks, whilst finally putting the Saints out of their misery.