Well, what an absolute fart of a week.
First, the AFL stopped the Women’s season after Round 6 and brought the finals forward, then the league changed the format to 4 teams from each conference….
And then, not even 3 hours after the last Semi Final between Carlton & Brisbane, the league decided it was game set and match for AFLW 2020, and for the first time in recorded history in either the men’s or women’s game, NO PREMIER will be decided.
I think it’s apples & oranges compared to the NBL scenario – That was in the middle of a Grand Final series with a clear leader, whereas the AFLW still had 2 rescheduled finals rounds to go.
Alternatively, there’s the Sheffield Shield example of just saying “Bugger it” and giving the Premiership to the team who had the best record, which was Fremantle – Although, there’s absolutely no precedent for that happening ever in the history of the VFL/AFL.
That said, this quote from Trent Cooper in The West Australian from Monday does give you some clue as to how the AFLPA really screwed this up as well.
“The recommendation they (The AFLPA) went to the AFL with was nothing to do with the survey (players completed),” he said.
“There were four options (in the survey).”
“One was to stop the season and declare a winner, two was to play a grand final this weekend, three was a shortened finals series with maybe four teams and the last one was to continue on as they were.”
“Then it seemed like they came back with the finals system that they did, which we thought was never going to get to its conclusion.”
Seemed like a really ill-thought-out case of just wanting to play footy from the AFLPA, and fair to say they’ve pissed a few of their own off.
On top of that, the AFL still haven’t made a concrete decision on dishing out the major awards for the year, despite officially completing the home & away season.
That was 2 days ago, and nothing official has changed, with the only awards being a couple of media awards from the Women’s AFL website.
I imagine the ceremony for Jasmine Garner winning the B&F would resemble something like this.
North Melbourne (5.4-34) defeated Collingwood (5.2-32) @ Ikon Park
What a wild ride that was the Pies – They thought their season had been abruptly ended for about 20 minutes on Wednesday evening, and then they got the word that they had actually made the finals for the first time.
3 days later, they gave North absolute hell in the most competitive of the 4 finals.
The Roos led by only a point at Quarter Time after a late Pies goal, North then kicked the opening goal of the 2nd, but the Woods floored the favourites with 3 goals in the blink of an eye, the best being Chloe Molloy making 4 Roos miss, and then nailing an open goal from 40m out.
It coulda woulda shoulda been 4 goals in a row when Jaimee Lambert had a tough shot in the right forward pocket just before half time, which would’ve pushed the lead out past 3 goals.
She missed near side, and North were only 10 points down at the long break, and the Roos came back and absolutely hammered Collingwood’s backline, keeping the Pies to 3 Inside 50s for the term, and they grabbed the lead at the final change when Ellie Gavalas kicked a goal after the siren.
In the moment that ultimately decided the match, Sophie Abbatangelo took a mark just inside the field of play, and from the utterly impossible angle, the banana managed to scrape over the line by no more than 2cm.
Well, Collingwood have a proud history of being on the receiving end of impossible snaps at goal in finals – Look at that Aker goal in the 2002 Grand Final.
The Pies finally hit back thanks to Jordan Membrey, setting up the massive finale, and they absolutely hammered the Roos’ backline for what felt like the rest of the game – Alas, they couldn’t get that winning goal, and the Roos won a thriller when Garner took a defensive mark in the dying seconds.
I believe the Collingwood ladies are now well and truly indoctrinated into the cherished culture of the Black & Whites.
Blowing a lead and narrowly losing a final was the final thing they needed to receive lifetime membership at Victoria Park.
On the other hand, North would’ve hosted a home Prelim Final against Carlton this coming Saturday or Sunday…. but it’s now a future hypothetical.
Melbourne (4.5-29) defeated GWS Giants (3.8-26) @ GIANTS Stadium
When the original announcement was made last Wednesday, the Dees thought they’d missed out on the Finals again after the AFL announced the Top 4 teams would play in a revised end to the season (The Dees obviously finished 3rd in Conference B).
It turns out they meant the Top 4 teams… FROM BOTH CONFERENCES.
Still, in their long-awaited finals debut, it looked pretty bloody grim as per usual for the Redlegs, who kicked 1 goal for 3 1/2 quarters, as GWS (Also in their finals debut) led comfortably, despite wasting half a dozen chances in front of goal.
Then, in a scarcely believable ending, the Dees kicked 3 in the final 8 minutes.
Tex Perkins nailed a tough shot from the right forward pocket to cut it to 3 points with 3 minutes left, but the hero was Lily Mithen, who had NEVER KICKED A GOAL in her AFLW career, only to boot 2 goals for the game, including the winner with all of 20 seconds remaining.
I suppose that was how Richmond fans felt watching Nick Duigan bend them over in the 2013 Elimination Final.
It turned the Dees’ AFLM team were watching on from Casey before their flight to Perth, and the boys went wild after Mithen slotted the winner.
If you ask me, that goal and celebrations would make the perfect ending to a film, and instead of celebrating a premiership win, the screen promptly cut to black with a message saying “The season was cancelled 24 hours later.”
Fremantle (12.8-80) defeated Gold Coast (1.4-10) @ Fremantle Oval
You know who I feel sorry for the most out of this whole shitshow?
First, they were confirmed as the first team in the short history of the AFLW to finish a season unbeaten.
And then, after the sudden change of opponent, they came out and dished out the mother of all hidings, which will probably stand the test of time for AFLW finals floggings, beating Adelaide’s win against Geelong in last year’s Prelim.
It was only 8 points the difference at Quarter Time – In the final 3 quarters, it was 10.5 to 0.3.
A missed shot at goal in the 2nd Quarter from Gold Coast’s Tiarna Earnst from only 15m out could’ve cut the margin to 2 points… Instead, it blew out to 29 points at Half Time, and things got far far worse from there.
Summing up the rout, 12.8-80 was the 2nd-highest score in AFLW history, and 70 points was the 2nd largest win in AFLW history.
This game was the jewel in the crown of the 2020 lady Dockers, and I think an obvious excuse for the Suns is that this was their 4th consecutive weekend on the road – And, it was the longest of the bunch, playing the minor premiers.
And of course, not even 24 hours later, all of Freo’s tremendous work this year was rendered as worthless as shares in Ansett.
An unbeaten women’s team who were cruelly denied a fair crack at a Premiership?
Yep, it’s just another year in the life of the Fremantle Football Club.
I suppose in conclusion, I should leave Coach Coops’ Instagram post.
Unbelievably proud of this group. We were forced to be resilient by things outside of our control and that served us well when we needed to dig deep to keep an unbeaten record intact.
Something else that is a lot more important than footy denied us seeing the season to it’s full conclusion but everybody should be incredibly proud of what we did achieve.
We were all fortunate to have a staff behind and around us who sacrificed a lot and without accolades to ensure that we could be at our best on the park. I’m certain that our performances paid them back tenfold but we couldn’t have done it without each and every one of them and the support of the club as a whole.
We would have loved to get to a Grand Final but it wouldn’t have felt the same without the support of our incredible Purple Army. I can only imagine what the noise would have been like with our great fans there for the semi-final and we can’t wait to get to the other side of this and see Fremantle Oval covered in purple again.
The 2020 season is just part of our journey and we will look back on it with pride and take it in our stride as we continue to raise the bar.
Freo – 2020 AFLW Moral Premiers.
Carlton (6.8-44) defeated Brisbane Lions (2.3-15) @ Ikon Park
It’s forgetabble now, but Tayla Harris was reported for a dangerous sling tackle on Brisbane’s Emily Bates, which put her in serious doubt for the Prelim Final against North, but that obviously doesn’t mean much anymore.
In addition to that, Maddie Prespakis rolled her ankle at the end of the 3rd Quarter and missed the rest of the game, but, on the bright side, she’ll be ready for 2021.
Despite the Lions showing plenty of fight, they never got close enough in the final quarter to seriously look like pinching the win.
After kicking the opening goal, the Lions were locked out by Kerryn Harrington for 3 quarters, and the only reason they managed to kick a 2nd goal was thanks to a holding free kick against Harrington just before 3/4 time, which led to a 50m and the goal.
By the time the siren sounded, Georgia Gee managed to outscore them with 3 goals, putting her tally at 8 goals without a miss for the year, which is where she finished.
Gee, she goes alright.
So that’s how it started, and that’s how it finished – Carlton make up for 2019’s Grand Final defeat by winning the last game of the season, and they don’t have a premiership to show for it.
And now, a musical act to mark the abrupt end to 2020.