AFL Finals Week 2 picks – just don’t call me the Kiss of Death!

Isaac Smith had a shot at glory ... but missed. AAP Image: Julian Smith

Okay, well I never said you actually had to Follow my tips now did I??

Last weeks rundown of the AFL Finals first round saw my predictions go straight out the window as per usual!

Honestly, if there was a day of 2 horse races, it’s a pretty sure bet that I’d back the loser every time! I AM however, determined to turn this luck around for the next list of games on Saturday!

First, a rundown of last weekend.

My first disappointment was West Coast Eagles . . . at home . . . against Western Bulldogs.

Caleb Daniel ducked and weaved through the Eagles midfield all night, all the while applying incredible pressure. Photo: Getty Images: Paul Kane
Caleb Daniel ducked and weaved through the Eagles midfield all night, all the while applying incredible pressure. Photo: Getty Images: Paul Kane

I wasn’t that disappointed really. I actually LOVED the fact that the Doggies played me for a fool for betting against them – they totally outclassed the Eagles with an impressive performance from the first quarter of the match, and never relented til the final siren.

The Eagles had no answer for the Bulldogs’ brigade of smaller midfielders. Their ability to move the ball, to win the hard ball, and to squeeze opposition forward lines was inspired and showed they mean business in these finals.

 

Hawthorn’s loss to Geelong was agonisingly narrow.

lulke-hodge-and-patrick-dangerfield
The battle between midfield stars for Geelong and Hawthorn lived up to the hype. Photo: Getty Images: Quinn Rooney

I felt that Geelong outclassed Hawthorn for all 4 quarters with the exception of a couple of portions of the game when Geelong seemingly lost track and went totally off the boil. Don’t get me wrong, Hawthorn kept up the pressure for most of the game, and even looked like threatening to take the game away from Geelong at times.

With the closeness of the competition, particularly among the top teams, those short lapses can prove very costly, and it allowed Hawthorn to lead by 7pts at the halftime change, and to narrow the gap to a 2 point margin in the dying moments of the game.

Despite those lapses though, Geelong were able to strike back decisively and hold their nerve for the win, albeit from a nightmare miss by Hawthorn’s Isaac Smith after the siren.

 

GWS’s amazing upset over favorites Sydney Swans.

Steve Johnson's (right) hit on Josh Kennedy (left) was deemed careless with medium impact. Photo: Getty Images: Michael Willson
Steve Johnson’s (right) hit on Josh Kennedy (left) was deemed careless with medium impact.
Photo: Getty Images: Michael Willson

If the Sydney rivalry wasn’t too real before, it certainly is now.

The first Sydney derby final was supposed to be highlighted by the work ethic and accountability of the Sydney Swans and the speed and skill of the young Greater Western Sydney.

Instead, the Giants’ 36-point victory will be remembered mostly for its sheer brutality and high attrition rate. Both on the ground and, perhaps, in the tribunal room sequel that could follow*.

*Steve Johnson is set to miss GWS’s preliminary final after being offered a one week ban for his hit on Sydney’s Josh Kennedy.

 

Eddie, Eddie, everywhere – Eddie!!

Eddie Betts was a constant threat up forward for the Crows. AAP: Tracey Nearmy

Adelaide recorded an emphatic 62-point victory over North Melbourne in their elimination final on Saturday night.

It was goodbye for the final time to some of Norths greats – Brent Harvey, Drew Petrie, Michael Firrito and Nick Dal Santo have all had their final seasons, with Daniel Wells another possibility to add to the list, but none of those gents had particularly memorable nights.

Adelaide piled on the pressure and outran the hapless Kangaroos for all 4 quarters. Skipper Taylor Walker was at his usual best, as was Eddie Betts with a brilliant 6 goal haul.

A decisive win and the only tip I actually got right!

 

Second Semi-Finals – Friday, September 16 at the MCG

Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs

I’m going to stick with the Hawks again for this, although possibly against my better judgement (sorry Dave!)

It’s a damn hard road to premiership glory, but Hawthorn walked it with a strut last year and that must breed confidence. Rewind 12 months and Adelaide was all the rage and Hawthorn blew them off the park with eight first-quarter goals.

Having said this, the Bulldogs proved last week that they mean business and will be brimming with confidence after dominating their elimination final clash with West Coast at Domain Stadium and could worry the reigning premiers if they bring the same intensity around the ball. 

My tip – Hawks by 11pts

 

First Semi Final, Saturday, September 17 at the SCG

Adelaide v Sydney Swans

The Swans are battered after a bruising qualifying final loss to Greater Western Sydney, and lost ruckman Kurt Tippett (jaw) and defender Callum Mills (hamstring) for their clash with Adelaide.

They’ll have to regroup quickly with the in-form Crows and their multi-dimensional forward line coming to town.

Crows’ skipper Taylor Walker, Eddie Betts, Josh Jenkins and Tom Lynch have kicked 219 goals between them this year, and present an enormous challenge for the Swans’ defence, who are the best performed group in the competition this season.

Sydney’s SCG record still gives them the ascendancy. They have won 13 of their past 15 contests at the SCG, still have Buddy Franklin and clearly have the midfield edge on Adelaide. As I said last week, if Buddy fires, anything could happen.

My tip – Swans by 4pts

 

Good luck to all teams and BRING IT ON!!!!

 

Pics and some commentary courtesy of the ABC News, Herald Sun, and AFL Official Website

 

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