Alas, the Home & Away season is over, the shitkickers have been punted to the rubbish bin of history, and the omens are on a COLLISION COURSE.
Richmond finish in 3rd with a 15-7 record, the same record as the 2017 Tigers, West Coast finish with a 15-7 record, as they did in 2007, the last year they were defending premiers, and the Doggies finish in 7th, preparing to play GWS in Sydney in a knockout final.
All I know is, WORLDS ARE COLLIDING!
Collingwood (10.16-76) defeated Essendon (10.5-65) @ The MCG
“US Basketball Team! Essendon rested players…. US Basketball Team! Essendon rested players… US Basketball Team! Essendon rested players….”
Well gang, in between mentions of US Basketballers, key defenders being injured and BT getting a massive rejection from Gregg Popovich, I think we saw the worst miss of the year by a player, courtesy Travis Varcoe.
Worst miss in the sense that he didn’t even have a shot at goal.
Just before Half Time, he sold the candy to three Bombers defenders and created enough space to have a shot from the teeth of goal, in a near identical spot to his goal that won the 2009 Grand Final.
But instead, he tried doing the unselfish kick backwards to Will Hoskin-Elliott…
Only to overcook the kick by 10 metres.
Just looking at that, you’d think Trav was under pressure trying to clear the Defensive 50.
Good thing the Pies didn’t lose by a goal in the end, despite some terrible goalkicking after Quarter Time, and they gave themselves a Top 4 chance (Which was realised 24 hours later), and Woosha left the MCG on Friday night believing he’d played 4D checkers, having rested several of his best 22, playing the Pies very close all night, and thinking he’d done enough to drop to 8th and play them again in a fortnight.
It only becomes slightly moot after their plans were rearranged for a flight to Perth, and after you realise that the Pies were also without several quality players… who are arguably better.
That US Basketball Team really could’ve used Phil Inn to play man defense on Patty Mills yesterday.
So, as a result of a set of circumstances which could only occur in an enjoyable wet dream, Collingwood have got Geelong coming off a bye in front of a probable 98,000 in a Qualifying Final, with a host of players set to come back in, and Scotty Pendlebury set to play his 300th game, and become just the 3rd Pie in 127 years to reach the milestone.
Yep, that’s correct- Despite their well publicised history, only Gordon Coventry and Tony Shaw have played 300 games for Collingwood.
As for Essendon… well, I’d say enjoy West Coast in Perth in a really ironic tone, but, based on the Eagles’ most recent performance, you probably will.
Sydney (17.7-109) defeated St Kilda (8.16-64) @ The SCG
Due to the sheer number of players being chaired off after the game, I’m surprised the Swans didn’t have a mix-up, and instead celebrate Kieren Jack’s 300th game, and Buddy’s retirement.
It didn’t matter in the end, because Buddy, Jack, Jarrad McVeigh, plus Reg Grundy and Nick Smith in their 3 piece suits all got a happy ending, as Buddy ended up with 4 goals, and McVeigh and Jack both got the customary happy ending 4th Quarter goals, which was good to see.
The SCG hasn’t gone up for a goal like that since Nick Davis.
On the flip side, It was good to see the Saints played in a way that their fans will remember this season for- Kicking themselves themselves out of any hope of winning, no matter which coach they move on to.
We should remember that they were ahead by 3 points with 8 minutes left in the 3rd Quarter, despite having around 20 more shots at goal and containing Buddy quite effectively… only for the Swans to have the next 4 Inside 50s of the game… and kick 4 goals to blow the game open.
It went downhill pretty quickly from there, and the Swans capped off a year that ended with their worst ladder position in 25 years on a positive note.
Of course, they’ve also snagged an unofficial Guinness World Record, for the most players being chaired off at once.
North Melbourne (13.10-88) defeated Melbourne (12.11-83) @ Blundstone Arena
The least intense thriller of the year, and the most Melbourne way to end a game.
Give a really good effort, lead by a point with just on a minute to go, have the ball at half-back… and then promptly turn it over to an unmarked Jasper Pittard, allow the Roos to go straight up the guts, and kick the winning goal.
And then of course, with their last roll of the dice with 15 seconds to go, Alex Neal-Bullen blasted a kick from 50, only for the big white lanky bugger that is G.Post deny everyone the chance to blast out “It’s A Draw”, in what would’ve been a celebration of the first tie of 2019.
The cruel irony is that G.Post saved Melbourne from a draw against the Suns back in Round 8…. The turns have tabled.
Unlike Jordan Lewis, Scott Thompson got a memorable send-off, for a number of reasons- The Roos got the job done, and he’ll be immortalised for Bailey Fritsch using him as a stepladder.
In Soviet AFL, Bailey uses you as a stepladder.
Of course, despite the Roos getting the points, we do have to address the
elephant Vegan in the room.
Ben Brown is sometimes referred to as ‘Big Boner Brown’, but even with individual glory on the line, he was closer to Erectile Dysfunction Brown (Big thanks to AWS for that gag).
Just 2 goals against one of the worst backlines in the league, as North apparently forgot what he looked like, leaving him a mere 6 goals ahead of Jeremy Cameron, who predictably eclipsed him, and the Suns, later that evening.
Even when North do the right thing on the scoreboard, they still manage to ‘Norf’ up the only thing they still had going for them in 2019, and miss out on their first Coleman since John Longmire in 1990.
Geelong (19.15-129) defeated Carlton (8.13-61) @ GMHBA Stadium
It was very nice of the AFL to give Geelong two byes before they get let everyone down in the Finals, obviously to make up for the fact that Gil and the lads will never allow them to play Finals in Australia’s smelly and decaying armpit.
And it was also very nice for Carlton to bring back Brendan Bolton for the last game of the year, in recognition of the work he did in setting up the Blues’ season.
Hopefully he remembered to unbind David Teague and let him out of the Princes Park storage room in time for next year.
Pretty simple stuff for the Cats, who rack up their first minor premiership since the glorious year that was 2008, although they will now have to overcome the weight of history- The last team to win the flag after ending a year with a 5-5 in their last 10 games…. Footscray in 1954.
GWS (20.7-127) defeated Gold Coast (7.13-55) @ Metricon Stadium
The Suns exist for one purpose- Stopping Ben Brown from winning the Coleman.
Jack Riewoldt kicked 10 against them last year and won the award by 4 goals to Browny, and last night, they allowed the Giants to confirm North’s Norf of a season, by bloating Jeremy Cameron full of scoring shots, and powering their loveable thug to the Coleman Medal that he was on course to win easily, before he kept getting injured in the back half of the year.
A career best 9.5 in the end in his 150th game, which was enough to claim a narrow win over the Suns… Jezza could very easily have kicked 12 goals and put a bit more polish on the title.
In fact, he kicked 5 goals in the 3rd Quarter alone, and made sure the memories of the Giants joining University in the history books for 2nd Half ineptitude were long forgotten.
So with Gold Coast’s season having being mercifully ended, I can fire in another funny coincidence:
The Suns finished last in the AFL, and the Titans are guaranteed to finish last in the NRL this year.
In both cases, they’ve won their second wooden spoon.
Despite being consistently crap this decade, their only other wooden spoon(s) came in the same year- 2011.
Hawthorn (16.9-105) defeated West Coast (9.13-67) @ Optus Stadium
HAWTHORN: SCREWING OVER WESTERN AUSTRALIA SINCE 1991
One of the most thoroughly enjoyable nights I’ve ever had at the footy, right up there alongside the 2015 Prelim, purely for the fact that the Hawks smacked the Eagles sideways and absolutely rooted their Back To Back hopes, and ironically cemented Collingwood’s Bradbury into 4th spot.
You’re welcome, fellow stripey bird team.
I did go to the game with ‘The Rocket’, although one of our usual companions couldn’t make it, on account of recovering from a triple bypass, so instead, we took a Seppo from Nevada by the name of Jeff, which could have even been Geoff, but I never bothered to find out.
Jeff may have as much understanding of the laws of Australian Rules Footy as most Eagles fans, but despite being a Seppo, he got right into it, clapping along to the ad nauseum Hawthorn chants.
And we were doing plenty of chanting, because outside of the Eagles kicking 4 goals in 5 minutes, the Hawks were pretty much on top on the scoreboard all night, to my sheer disbelief, as I had told Jeff we were going to get creamed.
Having lied to an American like that, I’m going to apply for a gig in the White House.
Terry Wallace noted that only the great Hawks teams beat the Eagles in Perth, and he’s got a point- The only times the Hawks had previously beaten the Eagles in Perth this century are 2008, 2013 and 2015.
Those were all Premiership years… whereas these Hawks finished as Ninthorn… But with the way this season ended, hahahaha, I couldn’t be happier.
It’s also worth noting that Hawthorn won every single game in which they were celebrating a 200th game: Luke Breust & Big Boy (Round 16), Liam Shiels (Round 18), and of course, Isaac Smith last night.
And of course, this result means the weird year ending in ‘9’ streak continues.
1999: Hawthorn finish 9th
2009: Hawthorn finish 9th
2019: Hawthorn finish 9th
Western Bulldogs (18.13-121) defeated Adelaide (13.9-87) @ Mars Stadium
If Hawks supporters thought it was uncomfortable having to support Adelaide, imagine how uncomfortable it was for Crows fans knowing that Hawthorn players and fans were supporting them.
Then again, the thought of losing and simultaneously ending Port’s finals chances were a soothing thought through tough times.
Amazing, I managed to string four T words together there.
In hindsight, the game was pretty much toast the moment the Dogs made it 18 consecutive goals across 2 games, and jumped out to a 40-0 lead to start the game.
Despite the Crows pegging it back to 40-15, the Dogs then served the theoretical ace to kick off the 2nd Half with 4 goals in 10 minutes, and it was game, set, match, last finals spot Doggies, and they damn well earned it.
Knowing he’s a good chance of being beheaded by Mark Ricciuto or Rowey from 5AA, Don Pyke tried to embraced the tank by the 4th Quarter with the game out of reach, and decided to move Brad Crouch to Full Forward, and plug future Brownlow winner Chayce Jones in the middle.
All it did was beg the margin back to 34 points, instead of the 50+ it was bound to become, because Chayce Jones.
So a red hot Dogs team finishes in 7th, and find themselves travelling up to Sydney to play a final against GWS at the Showground.
Luke Beveridge says this team isn’t the same as the 2016 Dogs, and apart from the fact they finished in 7th, he’s right.. their midfield is definitely better.
Richmond (12.10-82) Brisbane Lions (8.7-55) @ The Jungle
Congratulations Richmond, you’ve beaten Brisbane for the umpteenth time, and secured another Top 4 finish!
Your reward for beating Brisbane- Taking on Brisbane… at the Gabba… where you’ve beaten them in every visit since 2005.
Oh, but I did I mention that the Lions hold a 12-0 record in finals at the Gabbatoir? Oh yes, I’m pretty sure I did….
Well, at least for an afternoon, 99% of WA converted to Faganism, in the hopes that Lord Fagan and his disciples could answer their prayers to stay in the Top 4.
Much like watching their own pitiful team who put them in this situation, they were left disappointed.
In yet another ‘Brisbane have been crap for a while’ stat, this was the first time the Lions had played in front of a crowd of more than 50,000 since Round 10, 2006.
In fact, the 2019 Lions now hold the record for the biggest Home & Away crowd for an ‘Interstate’ team- 76,995.
Unfortunately, that was where the good news stopped for everyone’s favourite religious footballing bandwagon, because the godless Tigers pretty much controlled the Rumble In the Jungle from the moment Dusty kicked a 60 metre bomb, no more than 15 seconds after Hugh McCluggage opened the scoring… They dominated so much that Jack Riewoldt was on course for 16 goals at Quarter Time.
After the margin reached 26 points at the half, the game peaked during the period of the 3rd Quarter when the Lions kicked 3 goals in a row to cut the gap to 7 points, and there were moments like Mitch Robinson drilling Bachar Houli in an arse-tearer of a tackle, and Dylan Grimes and Sir Charles Cameron continually engaging in Greco-Roman wrestling during marking contests and general play, to see if the umpires were paying attention.
They were, and Grimey, as he likes to be called, was given a free kick, which apparently pissed off someone on Brisbane’s bench to the point that they got escored
In fact, Grimey did what few defenders have accomplished this year, and that’s pretty much make Cameron invisible for the whole game- The best small forward of 2019 only kicked 2 goals from 7 disposals.
See Chris Scott, THAT’S WHAT NOT HAVING AN IMPACT IS.
Anyway, Tom Lynch kicked a steadier, and then Kane Lambert kicked another goal just before 3/4 time to make it 19 points, and then in what was effectively the sealer, Dusty casually brushed two tacklers and kicked the opening goal of the last quarter, and it basically steadily remained around at least 4 goals until the end.
Of course, I’d be remiss to mention that Lachie Neale finished the game with 51 disposals, but based on the scoreboard, he didn’t have much of an influence, especially compared to G.Post, who denied both Tom Lynch and Eric Hipwood goals in the last minute, in an outstanding defensive display from the big fella, who really was everywhere this weekend.
They may have lost the minor premiership in the last game of the season for the 3rd time in their history, but importantly, the Lions comfortably held on to 2nd spot on percentage, and Lord Fagan has planted the seed of arrogance into the mind of the Tigers, as they await the rematch in a fortnight in the Gabbatoir.
Brisbane’s 9-game winning run ends, while Richmond at least end the season with something related to the number 9… 9 consecutive wins!
Port Adelaide (15.20-110) defeated Fremantle (10.7-67) @ The Adelaide Oval
Port gave us one last good laugh to end the year, with their banner being emblazoned with the message, “We will NEVER EVER give up.”
A big claim to make, after checking the events of last Saturday.
Anyway, you could describe pretty much every game of footy year with “This was a game”, but this really was a game.
And on that note, I’ll end with Ken Hinkley’s last as coach in the 2019 season… Giving us the Bow ‘N Arrow that Xavier Duursma wouldn’t provide.