It’s the end of the Home and Away season! And what an end we had! The final spot in the Eight came down to the last game of the season, which really seals this as one of the best AFL regular seasons ever. Who got in? Who choked? READ ON!
Welcome to Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat!
We begin the Round on Australian Friday Night Footy with the reigning champions’ last gasp at a finals berth. They “visited” the Hawthorn Hawks at the Etihad, which is Western’s home ground. Not even the familiarity of the field was enough to hold off the in-form Hawks as they finished the season off on a high note with a 99-90 victory. Here are the highlights:
This, of course, means that we will have a NEW champion this year. The Melbourne Demons were one of the teams trying to get into finals and become the champion. They were actually in the best shape of the contenders as they were in 7th place going in and were a game up on the teams tied for 8th. All they had to do was beat the Collingwood Magpies and they were in finals. What happened?
It was both glorious and embarrasing to watch. As you all know, I have an irrational hatred for the Demons. Maybe it’s the reputation of their fans being upper class twits. Maybe I’m just a really good Catholic boy.
Ok, fine. In any case, it was really nice to see the Pies try hard to save their coach, Nathan Buckley. An announcement is expected this week that will tell us whether they were actually able to do that. (UPDATE: They DID!) In the meantime, Bucks can enjoy his team’s 99-83 win. Here are the highlights:
The loss meant that the Demons were left to hope and pray (that’s ironic!) that the teams playing on Australian Sunday (Essendon, St. Kilda, and West Coast) would lose.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There was still the Wooden Spoon Bowl! This was, to me, the centerpiece game of North American Friday night. The loser of the game between North Melbourne and Brisbane would “win” the Wooden Spoon as the worst team in the league. Do you remember way back when in my season preview where I said that the Brisbane Lions men’s team wouldn’t even match the AFL Women’s team in points/wins?
The Roos pulled a brilliant game out of their collectives asses and beat up on the Lions at their own stadium to the tune of 130-79. Seriously, there must be a lot of really cool shit around Brisbane to take the players’ attention away, right?
Yeah, that makes sense. Here are the highlights:
The next game had the Sydney Swans hosting the Carlton Blues and if you like snuff porn, go ahead and check out the highlights below:
The two late late games had one good game and one expected destruction. Let’s get the destruction out of the way: The Port Adelaide Power beat the crap out of the Gold Coast Suns. I wouldn’t be surprised if that last sentence was literal. The final score was 135-20. At least the Blues scored 57 to the Swans’ 138! Here are the highlights:
At least there are SOME winners on the Gold Coast:
The much better game (and the game that should have been at a different time than in the middle of the night for me) was the Geelong-GWS game. As you read last week, there was a lot riding on this game. I was pleasantly surprised to wake up in the middle of the night to pee and to see that my Geelong Cats had won 103-59. Watching the replay the next day was even better. Here are the highlights:
Toby Greene suffered a hit to the ribs that looked painful as fuck. Hopefully, he will be alright for finals in two weeks.
On North American Saturday night (Australian Sunday), three YUUUUUGE games took place. The first was a WIN AND IN scenario for the Essendon Bombers. They were facing the Fremantle Dockers at home, so it was expected that they would win. However, the Dockers did not make it easy and kept the game close throughout. Only at the very end were the Bombers able to pull away and seal their place in finals with a 107-92 win. Here are the highlights:
This left the next game as fairly meaningless for the St. Kilda Saints except for the fact that it was Nick Riewoldt’s last game. Unfortunately for him, the only thing they could do for him was a nice salute at the end
as they barely showed up in a 122-81 loss to the Richmond Tigers. Here are the highlights:
And so the stage was set for the Adelaide Crows-West Coast Eagles match in Perth. Given the results of the Round, West Coast needed to win by 24 or more to overtake Melbourne on percentage and grab the last spot in the Eight. Thanks to Geelong’s victory, Adelaide was locked into first place in the ladder. I quickly changed my Footy Tip to West Coast. The only suspense was whether the Eagles would win by the needed margin. Here are the highlights:
The final margin was 29 points. West Coast is in and Melbourne is OUT.
Let’s take a look at the ladder, shall we?
|5||Port Adelaide Power||22||14||0||8||56||129.7|
|8||West Coast Eagles||22||12||0||10||48||105.7|
|11||St. Kilda Saints||22||11||0||11||44||96.9|
|15||North Melbourne Kangaroos||22||6||0||16||24||87.6|
|17||Gold Coast Suns||22||6||0||16||24||76.0|
The Saints have failed to fulfill the destiny ascribed to them by Litre_cola and have finished in 11th place instead of 10th based on percentage. That’s so St. Kilda. Here is the final Balls GraphTM for the season:
Footy Tipping Contest
Here are the standings as of the end of the Home and Away season:
|PLACE||TIPPER||Round Tips||Round Margin||TOTAL Tips||TOTAL Margin|
Major props once again to Dolph Ucker who came up with the joint high score this week and is now nipping at Blax’ heels! Now, keep in mind that the contest CONTINUES through the Grand Final, so it’s not over yet! Unfortunately for JolietJake, he remembered a bit too late to put the footy tip in and thus fell out of a first place tie with Litre_cola. There is a reason I threaten you guys with foot fetish pics! I’m sorry, but you leave me no choice:
Finals start in two weeks, so there are no games this week. HOWEVAH, DON’T FORGET TO PUT THE FOOTY TIPS IN!
Finals Week One
This is the way the finals matchups have ended up:
I’ll provide a full preview next week of the individual matchups, but I have to say that I like the draw for the Geelong Cats. If they can beat the Richmond Tigers, they would avoid red-hot Sydney until the Grand Final. Here are the game dates/times (all times Pacific):
Thursday, September 7, 2017
Qualifying Final – 2:50 AM – Adelaide Crows v GWS Giants at Adelaide Oval
Friday, September 8, 2017
Qualifying Final – 2:50 AM – Geelong Cats v Richmond Tigers at the MCG
Elimination Final – 11:20 PM – Sydney Swans v Essendon Bombers at the SCG
Saturday, September 9, 2017
Elimination Final – 2:50 AM – Port Adelaide Power v West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval
That’s all for this week. Next week, I’ll have a full preview of all the finals matchups and I’ll take a look back at my preseason predictions and compare with actual results. Have a great Labor Day Weekend, everyone in North America!