Time on – round 24Posted: September 5, 2011
WINNERS & LOSERS
Geelong 22.17 (149) def. Collingwood 8.5 (53)
Hawthorn 16.10 (106) def. Gold Coast Suns 14.13 (97)
Western Bulldogs 15.17 (107) def. Fremantle 8.13 (61)
Sydney Swans 18.11 (119) def. Brisbane Lions 9.13 (67)
West Coast Eagles 22.13 (145) def. Adelaide 7.8 (50)
St Kilda 13.8 (86) def. Carlton 9.12 (66)
Port Adelaide 17.10 (112) def. Melbourne 15.14 (104)
North Melbourne 15.14 (104) def. Richmond 13.13 (91)
Let’s be honest, we’ve spent the past couple weeks waiting for the finals to arrive. The season is too long, at times boring with smashings and the players’ bodies are fatigued not only due to the length of the season, but of the sub rule. It dilutes the product, but the AFL would firmly disagree with that statement. But for now, finals are finally here and we have all games in week 1 in Melbourne for the first time since 1995, which is a big plus.
2. Barry Hall
After 289 games and 746 goals over a career with 3 clubs, Hall can be pretty content with what he’s achieved over the journey. Since his disgruntled exit from the Sydney Swans in 2009, where it seemed as though his career was over, his two years at the Western Bulldogs has been explicit. 135 goals in 39 games over the past two years is as good as any and leaves the game on a high note. Well done Barry!
3. St Kilda
After Round 8, the Saints had one win and a draw. The season looked shot and everyone had written them off, myself included. They turned things around, finished 6th and will now host an elimination final against the Sydney Swans on Saturday night. The coaching performance by Ross Lyon has been outstanding, and along with West Coast coach John Worsfold, Lyon will go very close to coach of the year. His ability to tinker, encourage and demand a greater defensive edge to his side on multiple occasions this season has been impressive. On the MCG against Carlton on Saturday night, where the Saints have a far from impressive record, were able to rise to the occasion in the second half after struggling in the first. The win was even more impressive since Nick Riewoldt was shut out by Carlton defender Lachie Henderson and failed to kick a goal on the night.
1. Wasted hope
Bulldogs football boss James Fantasia told SEN radio on Saturday that the Dogs were confident uncontracted star Callan Ward would remain at the club, despite the lures of GWS. How wrong he was. Ward announced on Monday morning he would be packing his bags from Whitten Oval and heading to Blacktown. The Dogs were never going to be able to match the offer of GWS and Ward was never going to turn it down
either, otherwise he would’ve signed months ago. Unlucky for the Dogs, who have now lost Jarrod Harbrow and Ward to the new expansion teams – Gold Coast and GWS – in the past two years.
2. Mark Bickley’s coaching chances
The chances of Mark Bickley securing the Adelaide job full time from next season have widened, following his side’s 96-point capitulation to the Eagles on the weekend. Former coach Neil Craig was criticised for being too defensive and now Bickley has been criticised for being too offensive. The club has said Bickley won’t be judged on his 6-week interim job as coach but I find that hard to believe. His coaching abilities will rest on the past 6 weeks, not completely on the results but big losses like the one on Saturday night won’t do his chances much good. Rodney Eade, Mark Neeld and West Coast assistant Scott Burns will be among the leading contenders.
3. Carlton’s injuries
The Blues have big concerns heading into Sunday’s elimination final against Essendon. Injuries to Jamison, Waite and now Kreuzer hurts. The club says Jamison will be fine and Waite is touch-and-go but both most definitely have limited match preparation coming into a big final. Jamison pulled out of the club’s Round 24 clash with St Kilda, which doesn’t spell much good for his chances on Sunday. Kreuzer, though, has been cleared of injury but depending on how he trains this week, still may miss. Remember that Kreuzer was on a comeback from a knee
reconstruction this year. The Blues have their worries but as many of us know, you can’t afford to carry underdone players into finals.