You would have to think that the final 8 is looking almost settled after round 22 although final positions in the 8 may shuffle a little bit. North Melbourne can still sneak in but they have an interesting game next week against St Kilda. Essendon will win against Port so that makes them safe even with a bye in the last week. Sydney should lose against Geelong so North simply needs to win next week and the following week against Richmond because St Kilda then plays Carlton in the last week. Interesting. Then there are teams like Port who is really looking forward to not playing any more this season and the Suns might like a rest after their first and rather successful season.
The coaching shuffle looks intriguing as well with 3 positions to date available at Melbourne, Adelaide and Western Bulldogs. Some of these younger coaches are doing okay so I think we will see the end of Rocket Eade even if he reckons he has a lot to offer the game. I have a bit to offer as well but I am not going to apply for a coaching job….then again……if Bucks slips up at the Pies I might put my hat in the ring!!
It’s nice to waffle on a bit about footy as the only place I have available to chew the fat is this medium because apart from the fact that there are only 3 other Aussies (2 from Melbourne and 1 from Sydney) in this northern Chinese city there is no pub, no hotel, no bar, no beer garden where you can sit in the sun and passionately debate the great game. I reckon this is one of the main reasons the Chinese ended up so far behind us socially. They don’t have pubs. No Studley Park Arms, no Richmond Hotel, no MCG hotel, no Subiaco hotel, no Balmorral in East Victoria Park, no Glenferrie hotel, no Notting Hill in Glen Waverley ad infinitum. And what an opportunity they have here. This country has the cheapest beer in the world. I pay 3Y for a 500ml stubby but get 1Y back for the empty and another 0.5Y back for the cap! Works out to about $0.30AUD for half a litre of beer and if you get to know the local shopkeeper well enough and share a beer with him occasionally you can get a cheaper deal!! My mate from Canada can be a lazy buggar and I helped him clean out his collection of empties before he left for home for the summer break. This involved stacking the empties in cartons and leaving them at the front door for the shopkeeper to collect! His return was another carton of full beer and 85Y! They really should do this in Australia again. I also like the fact that you can buy beer anywhere here, even buy from a hairdressing salon if you like!! No liquor licence required, so I guess no responsible drinking? Maybe. Anway, I welcome any feedback on your thoughts for the finals, even if you dislike Collingwood and realise that they will probably win back to back!
Hawthorn 10.18.78 defeated Carlton 8.18.66
The Hawks finally won the game but the half time score was almost unbelievable as the Blues had kicked just 1 goal. They came back at the Hawks in the 2nd half and got within 11 points in the dying stages of the game but the margin they allowed Hawthorn was too great. Hawthorn was able to keep Judd and Murphy quiet for the first half and Buddy was pretty handy for the Hawks in that period as well. Carlton still has a bye so the opportunity to regain 4th might be difficult. But the Blues and the Hawks are head and shoulders above the teams that will finish 6th to 8th so even a 5th finish for Carlton should be no problem for them.
Adelaide 18.17.125 defeated Gold Coast Suns 9.10.64
A great effort by the Suns to get within 21 points of the Crows at the end of the 3rd quarter but Adelaide piled on 7 goals to 1 in the last to win by 10 goals. An expected result. Thompson for Adelaide won 51 possessions! Gold Coast has suffered a few thrashings but they have also acquitted themselves fairly well in a lot of other games. The 3 wins they had were great. Adelaide seemed to have got a groove back but how much of that is due to a new coaching message?
West Coast Eagles 20.14.134 defeated Essendon 11.11.77
Essendon led the Eagles by a point at half time but after the long break it was rather one sided as West Coast kicked 14 goals to 4 resulting in a 10 goal win. The Bombers were not helped by a spate of injuries leaving them with just the one interchange player for the last quarter and a half. West Coast replaces Carlton in 4th position on the ladder. The Bombers can chalk up a win next week against Port but the Eagles travel to Brisbane for a tough encounter with the Brisbane Lions. Most experts are still shaking their head over this West Coast revival. I think most Eagles supporters are amongst the surprised as well.
North Melbourne 21.17.143 defeated Fremantle 6.9.45
Who were the idiots that actually thought Fremantle would get close to North let alone win? Oh yeah….me! The Dockers have more on their injured list than they have on the available list! North has not done itself any harm in the race for the final 8. They need to win their last 2 games it’s as simple as that. Harvs is bemoaning the Freo injury list but you get that some seasons. With a fit team next year they will be back to prelim final form because their competition from teams in that middle of the ladder area is mediocre. No hope this season though.
Collingwood 14.18.102 defeated Brisbane 13.6.84
Most anti-Collingwood people will think that this might have been a lucky win for the Pies. They were leading Brisbane by 46 points at 3 quarter time and that was really enough to win the game and to ease off in the last quarter is okay against a team like the Lions but it is not a good habit to develop near the end of the season. Some say they lack the killer instinct against weaker teams like Geelong has shown this year but……let’s see what happens in the last game. What will the tactic of the coaches be in that match? The Lions are still Brown-less but show potential to be much improved next year. Hard to say whether Voss is still favoured there.
Sydney 10.23.83 defeated St Kilda 10.8.68
If the Swans had kicked anywhere near straight they might have won by 10 goals. They strangled the life out of the Saints who continue to have trouble up forward, just not enough quality forwards. The win by Sydney might just have wrapped up the final 8 too. The Swans play Geelong, certainly not a game I would tip them to win so there is still a risk they lose their place to North.
Western Bulldogs 24.13.157 defeated Port Adelaide 15.7.97
Lots of questions to ask about the Power and one of them might be: Who will coach them next season? Another one: Is this team for real? Port kicked a goal right on the siren to break their possible nil score in the first quarter. Nice start for the stand in Bulldogs coach but the nightmare continues for Port. They lost by the first quarter deficit.
Richmond 17.15.117 defeated Melbourne 17.8.110
It’s been hard to gauge Melbourne this year. In fact, that’s been their problem for a number of years. Likewise Richmond but they bought winning form into this game and it gave them enough momentum to keep the Demons at bay. 2 in a row for the Tigers and one more win than last year so far and if that’s a measure of success then they have achieved it. Another win would be satisfactory even though supporters thought a place in the final 8 was a possibility. Same goes for the Demons although after last year the minimum they would have expected this year was a place in the finals. More DD for them (Demon Disappointment).