The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Finals Week Three

Footy is a passion, not some cold hearted, spread sheet dominated rational exercise.

On a Monday you want irrational reaction. You want emotion to trump reason.

What you really want is idiotic hysteria.

You’ve come to the right place.

Geelong (60) v Sydney (97)

So both the NRL and AFL Grand Finals are set. I was nervous Hawthorn were going to sneak into the NRL one. It appears we may be safe.

Geelong wasn’t safe, though. Not from the opening salvo that Sydney launched at them in the opening quarter.

Cats fans must have wondered if their team had accidentally gone to Simonds Stadium in the first quarter. They certainly weren’t at the MCG.

The Swans showed what an entire team applying pressure could do to a side that is waiting around for a few to do all the work.

At least that’s what it seemed like, as according to the commentators, only Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield were out there and that included Swans players.

The constant praise for them was pretty amusing as the entire Sydney Swans side put the Cats to the sword.

Sure, Dangerfield, for example, racked up the possessions, but a lot of them were as ineffective as Travis Cloke in a legal glove.

Although at least Selwood and Dangerfield were trying. It was like watching a bunch of council workers. Two guys working hard while the rest stand around watching.

The Swans got so far ahead in the first quarter that if you listened quietly, you could hear the ‘shut the academies’ opinion pieces being written.

A lot was made of the fact the Cats haven’t played a lot recently due to the pre-finals bye and going straight through to the Preliminary Final. The idea being they were a bit rusty.

That could only be true if they spent those weeks off in a real life version of The Hangover. The Cats were so terrible that no bye could have been solely responsible.

It makes you wonder who will the Cats need to get from Adelaide to go to the next level?

For Swans fans, it’s back down to Melbourne with the sole aim of crushing the dreams of Bulldogs fans.

The Swans know if they can bring that sort of pressure for the third week in a row they’ve got every chance.

There’s a reason they finished top of the ladder this season.

Greater Western Sydney (83) v Western Bulldogs (89)

This was the best Preliminary Final at Spotless Stadium ever. Easily.

It’s possible this game alone converted tens of people from Western Sydney to the code.

It was simply a classic and not like when someone shows a cat video at work, and some idiot from Sales says ‘classic.’

This was the real thing.

It had everything. Easton Wood’s mark, constant lead changes, commentators diagnosing injuries with less accuracy than Dr Google.

Early on, the Bulldogs seemed like they could run away with it, if only they could convert, which they couldn’t.

The Giants, mainly counterpunching in the first quarter, managed to hang in there. In fact, it seemed as we rolled into the third quarter, that the Bulldogs were fading.

It appeared that week off that helped Geelong so much was benefitting the Giants. Not only did the Giants look fresher, but they were also a lot cleaner with the ball.

At this point, every Bulldogs fan knew this was trending the way things always trend for them, towards the rocks.

But this Bulldogs side doesn’t give up. They have more gears than a prime mover. Late in the fourth, they found a few more of them.

They need to, as the final five minutes were as tense as a family Christmas lunch.

Even after prolific goal kicker, Jack Macrae booted a crucial goal; it still seemed the Giants could come back.

But a miss by Devon Smith and the Doggies managing to get it forward meant the final siren was the sweetest sound a Bulldogs fan has ever heard.

The moment the Giants lost, I was sure the AFL would announce this would be best of three, but common sense prevailed.

Of course, the AFL didn’t really want the Giants to win this. It would have been a nightmare for them.

They want them to be competitive but killing the hopes and dreams of an insanely loyal fan base who haven’t even been to a Grand Final since 1961 would have been disastrous.

Giants fans will instead have to wait one more season before that run of ten premierships in a row gets started. Stay strong orange people.

Bulldogs fans aren’t really conditioned for this much happiness.

The problem now is teaching Bulldogs fans how to deal with so much joy all at once, especially with a win in the VFL Grand Final too.

It’s like releasing an animal raised in captivity back into the wild; it lacks the skills to deal with its new environment.

Suddenly, the dam that was holding back all success seems to have several cracks in it and could ultimately break this Saturday.

If it does, Bulldogs fans need to remember what Willy Wonka said.

“Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted.”

“He lived happily ever after.”


  1. AlessandroQuartz

    Hey a question, I am in Melbourne and was wondering..who are the dogs
    playing on Saturday? Themselves? There is nothing in any Melbourne paper
    about their opposition for this match? I thought Melbourne was the home
    of the national code?
    Thanks, Con Fuzed

  2. DavidBurne

    Good question Allessandro! Much akin to even the good commentators confecting a reason to discuss a final without a Melbourne-based team, because, y’know ,even in a national competition the notion of a final at the MCG without a Victorian club is just, like, unacceptable. Luckily the Dogs beat GWS saving us from all manner of self-indulgent hand-wringing.

  3. doug_townsend

    AlessandroQuartz  You may need to buy one of the main papers The Herald- Sun or The Age. Plenty of articles in both on the Swans. This is like back in 2005 when the Swans were poised to break the longest premiership drought. There was overwhelming support for them. DavidBurne You are like Alessandro , living in a world that doesn’t exist anymore. The media of course would have played up the Sydney Vs Western Sydney thing, but people in Melbourne are used to going to a sporting event that doesn’t have home town heroes, you may have heard of The Australian Open, ( its pretty big in Tennis) or the Formula One Grand Prix even the Melbourne cup has half a field of Foreign horses, it doesn’t seem to affect the public going.
    Can’t you both be happy for a team that has such limited success getting the chance at the big one.

  4. DPL

    Have another look, Alessandro. Plenty about the Swans in the Age and Sun.  Tis a pity though, that more grand final seats are no available for the Club members.

  5. DavidBurne

    Check the transcripts of Gerard Whateley’s segment on ABC radio on Saturday, @doug_townsend. This is the world those outside Victoria constantly have to push up against. But you go on deluding yourself. And there you go with the Melbourne bias yourself – the notion that the Australian Open and the F1GP etc are attended by “people in Melbourne” despite the lack of “home town heroes”. People from all over Australia and the Rest of the World go to those events, not that are apparently aware of it.

  6. rogbaggs

    DavidBurne AFL grand finals with no Victorian teams will become more and more common, but are far from unusual. There were three years in a row, 2004 – 2006, without a Victorian club in the grand final. It’s just a shame the match is locked into the MCG until 2034. It would be nice to rotate it around a little.

  7. DavidBurne

    Exactly, so why are we *still* subjected to Melbourne-based commentators treating it as though it’s a tragedy for football that no Victorian team is in The Big Game???? My point was just that.
    And for the record, go DOGGIES!

  8. Pugs

    I live in Brisbane, follow North and I don’t care if Sydney are missing out on the attention. I was hoping they’d win in 2005 and they did with a similar back story to Footscray. Give them a break. GO the Scraggers!

  9. AlessandroQuartz

    Umm I was being sarcastic for those who are a bit challanged.

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