The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Finals Week Two

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.

Hawthorn (84) v Western Bulldogs (107)

I love finals footy, which is odd for a Melbourne supporter. It’s just that I don’t think there is anything better than heading to the MCG for a final on a Friday night.

Maybe the love of a good woman or having friends is better, but I’d be guessing about those.

It was certainly worth going on Friday night, as it was watching history unfold; yes a night that I briefly allowed myself to like the Bulldogs.

Being there was like being at the fall of the Berlin Wall, people hugged, they cried; there were sledgehammers, and someone wrote graffiti in German.

Not that comparing Hawthorn to communism is fair, and I apologise to communists everywhere.

The first half was nerve-wracking for all involved. Neither Hawks or Bulldogs fans could relax at the break.

A man I spoke to at half time said it was the most stressful thing he’d been through, and that included watching his wife give birth.

His wife agreed but said at least she had some control over that. She said the pain of this game was more manageable though because at least there might be a premiership at the end of it, not just a kid.

Then the third quarter happened, and six goals in a row had the Bulldogs fans and any neutrals breathing slightly easier.

The Bulldogs applied the pressure and all those cracks that had appeared in the Hawks façade this season suddenly opened up like a guest on Dr Phil.

The fourth quarter just felt like a celebration at the ground.

The threat of Fourthorn receded and colours seemed brighter; humanity was united as one and Hawks fans were leaving during a final before the final siren.

All credit to the Bulldogs too. From the early moments, they looked exactly what they are, a younger, hungrier side.

Hawthorn, on the other hand, looked like me at Christmas lunch, tired, disinterested and wanting to go home.

All Hawthorn fans have left is four premierships in recent years, the privilege of seeing one of the greatest sides ever and the knowledge they’ll probably do well in the offseason. Losers.

Bulldogs fans can look forward to trying to get tickets to this week’s game at Spotless Stadium and wondering what other advantages the AFL can come up with for the Giants. Look for the Bulldogs plane to be delayed.

Sydney (118) v Adelaide (82)

So a trip to the home of greyhound racing coming up for Swans supporters after a brutal clash against the Crows.

I just hope they can get tickets to Geelong’s home ground, Skilled Stadium.

The big winners out of this game did appear to be Geelong, whose fans would have been watching on with glee, as both teams hammered each other and the team rooms started to resemble the set of M*A*S*H but without the humour.

The Swans appear to have lost both Gary Rohan (knee) and Jarrad McVeigh (calf) for this week at least, adding to injury concerns over Kurt Tippett and Callum Mills.

On top of that, while the Cats players were sitting at home playing PlayStation, every Swans player got a brutal going over.

The Crows struggled in this from the opening quarter, and an injury to Jake Lever meant their defence just couldn’t match up to the Swans forward line.

Not that it was an excuse or that the Crows made it one.

Don Pyke was clearly less than pleased with his team’s effort overall, saying, ‘our season hasn’t been based around conceding seven goals in a quarter.’

He’s spot on there; that’s Brisbane’s game plan.

For some, this season would be seen as a step forward for the Crows, but they were bitter. That lost to the Eagles in Round 23 cost them.

Adelaide wanted to go a lot further this season, and it showed after the match. They were filthy. Crows fans will be hoping that feeling will be channelled into going a step further next season.

What happened to the Crows was the Swans came out ready to make amends for a perceived softness against the Giants. Every time it was in close, the Swans just seemed to come away with it.

I couldn’t help but think that the Giants must be very scary if the Swans did this to a pretty decent Crows side but couldn’t get close to GWS. I mean, did the Swans refocus or did the Giants just prevent them being able to do it last week?

Sydney can at least take heart that the effort was back and if they can apply the same pressure to the Cats they can certainly be a big chance.

An all Sydney Grand Final would cause such a meltdown in Melbourne that it’s almost worth it just to stand back and watch. Some men just want to watch the world burn I guess.

What was most pleasing for the Swans was that their ability to win the ball opened up opportunities for Heeney, Franklin and Papley to attack.

Heeney was so good it will be an insult if people don’t start calling for the closure of Interstate academies this week.

But for the Swans, it’s now a race against injury, and I look forward to mentions of hyperbaric chambers all week.

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