By the Thailand Tigers Australian Football Club
We are now in the second week of spring and that also means the second week of the AFL Finals Series as we get ever closer to Asia’s best AFL party, The Coffee Club 2019 AFL Grand Final Family Day on 28 September.
There are just six teams left now competing to be premiers. Essendon and the Bulldogs were both well beaten and now have 2020 to look forward to. Victorian powerhouses Collingwood and Richmond both had impressive wins and are each now through to a preliminary final, awaiting the winners of the two games this weekend.
Friday night sees minor premier Geelong take on defending premiers West Coast. Geelong’s coach has come under incredible scrutiny as a result of his record in finals (apart from a premiership in his first year) and that was magnified last week around his club’s choice not to play a ruckman against the best ruckman in the league and the resulting loss to Collingwood. Of course, the West Coast have man mountain Nic Natanui in the ruck, who is running into form at the right time of the year after a run of injuries. Geelong seem to have some trouble against form teams at the MCG and the MCG obviously poses no issues for the West Coast. These two teams seem evenly matched in the midfield and you could argue – on form anyway – the West Coast have a stronger forward line. Will it come down to a battle of the defences? Should be another absolute cracker of a game with the winner to face Richmond the following week at the MCG. For the loser their season is over.
Saturday night will again be an intriguing contest between Brisbane (on their home ground) against the Giants. Brisbane have been gallant in their last two games against premiership favourite Richmond, despite being beaten. If the Lions had have made the most of their early opportunities last week they could have had a four or five goal lead at quarter time and who knows what would have happened with that scoreboard pressure? Alas they didn’t but let’s not forget a lot of their young team were playing their first final against a team with plenty of recent finals and big game experience. The Giants went in as underdogs in their first final and absolutely brutalised the Bulldogs with (mostly) controlled aggression. Once the ball was on the outside of the contest, they moved it fluidly into their forward line. If they can replicate that heat again against a young Lions outfit, how will Brisbane react? Brisbane have the benefit of now knowing the level of finals intensity that is required and hopefully their fans will be out in force again to cheer them. Let’s not forget the Lions finished second on the ladder, largely due to their dominance at the Gabba. The Giants have been deep into September before so this makes for a most interesting match up. The winner meets Collingwood the following week at the MCG in a preliminary final.
What a second week of the finals series it will be and don’t forget to get in now and book your ticket to see the two best teams play off on September 28.
From the Thailand Tigers Australian Football Club