Time on – finals week 1

WINNERS & LOSERS

Geelong 14.14 (98) def. Hawthorn 9.13 (67)

Collingwood 12.10 (82) def. West Coast Eagles 9.8 (62)

Sydney Swans 12.10 (82) def. St Kilda 8.9 (57)

Carlton 21.23 (149) def. Essendon 13.9 (87)

3 LIKES

1. Ratten’s contract extension

Ratten has been under pressure all season to win a final to gain a contract extension and he’s all but safe now, following Carlton’s 62-point win over Essendon in Sunday’s elimination final. It was an extraordinary performance given Michael Jamison was only half fit and the extended absence of Jarrad Waite. Another plus was that Chris Judd didn’t have to carry them to victory. Regardless of the result, Ratten deserved the contract extension he’ll now get after the significant improvement in the list from 2010 and the unfortunate circumstance of missing out on the
top four after 16 wins which would normally grant a club a top four finish.

2. Ryan O’Keefe

Three goals in the second quarter, and his fourth from 50m in the final term was the sealer in the Swans’ impressive finals win against the Saints. He has been inaccurate infront of goal this season (3.10 from set shots) but straightened up to kick 4.0 on Saturday night. He took Brendon Goddard and made him accountable, and I expect him to do the same with Luke Hodge on Friday. O’Keefe missed All-Australian selection. Very unlucky.

3. Nick Maxwell

After the Pies’ first finals win, where all the attention swooped onto Harry O’Brien, Leon Davis, Heath Shaw, Dane Swan and Scott Pendlebury, club president Eddie McGuire was full of praise for his skipper. Back three weeks after a thumb injury, Maxwell stood Nic Naitanui and Dean Cox and played his best game of the season. More impressively, he had to stand tall as a key defender without Ben Reid and a Chris Tarrant, who had to fight through with an ankle injury. Remember, Nathan Brown is also out this season with a knee.

3 DISLIKES

1. Essendon

Another final, another embarrassing loss to bow out in the first week of September. David Hille, Alwyn Davey, Mark McVeigh, Leroy Jetta all struggled while Kyle Reimers tried but wasn’t good enough when the pressure hit. The Bombers turned the ball over and got smashed in the contest and the clearances, despite kicking the first three goals of the match. The Bombers have work to do and haven’t won a final since 2004.    A long pre-season awaits.

2. Nick Riewoldt

However you assess Nick Riewoldt’s season, it’s been nothing short of disappointing. That’s the problem for the champions of our game. They    set the standard so high, that when they drop, there is significant scrutiny. The game has hurt him, a knee injury has curtailed him, and the efforts are there, the output is well and truly down. He took 154 marks and if you take out 2010 (16 games, hamstring), it was his worst return since 2005 (131 marks) when he also played 16 games. His 36 goals is his also worst since ’05 (33). A plus was his work rate, one of his strongest  qualities given his great athleticism. His 50 tackles was the second most in his 11 seasons.

3. Mooney’s career over

He won’t complain, because he already has three premiership medals next to his name (2 with Geelong, 1 with North Melbourne), but he would be disappointed. Selection comes down to between him and Tom Hawkins. Chris Scott went with Hawkins on Friday night. Good decision. Hawkins played the game of his career, which means only injury could pave the way for a Mooney farewell.

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