Last week in the AFL...
This information is provided by Jeremy Leggoe - <email@example.com>, distributed via news groups and email and is updated here Monday evenings after the weekends games. I am adding this page to provide you with extra news on the weeks events. All credit for this information goes to him and is being used with permission.
AFL Grand Final
Finally, we come to the big week. This year's grand final was the most eagerly anticipated in years, as everyone thought it was likely to be a good match; Geelong were even backed into favouritism late in the week (the final odds I saw had both sides even at 10/9 on: It's not hard to see how the "Books" make a quid....). During the big day Neil Busse called for umpires to be "wired", apparently so they could talk to each other during matches. My first thoughts upon seeing the headline were somewhat more imaginative, and involved my very good self having control of a button and a voltage dial at Dockers games......
As ever, footy tended to dominate the news in the run up to the big one. Paul Kelly won the Brownlow from the ineligible Darren Jarman and Garry Hocking, with Michael Long, Paul Couch and Robert Harvey leading home the eligible players. Carlton and Essendon have entered the Stewie Loewe derby, and the man himself has suggested he'll probably stay in Melbourne. Damn, we should have shut the airport when we had him over here. On the coaching front, Ken Judge has emerged as a favourite for the Hawthorn job, Rodney Eade is now a strong candidate for the Brisbane job (having won the twos with North), and Dennis Carroll and Geelong assistant Jeff Gieschen are heading the list vying for the Sydney job.
Carlton 21.15 141 d Geelong 11.14 80
Bugger. Maybe we'll get a decent game next year. The opening stages of the game showed plenty of promise, with the Cats going the thump at every opportunity. The Blues took advantage of the resulting free kicks and began to dominate, setting an impenetrable wall across the centreline and jumping out to an early four goal lead. Geelong started to find their feet late in the quarter, and goals to Riccardi and Mensch reduced the margin to 13 points at quarter time. That was about it for the Cats for the afternoon, as Carlton gradually took over and set about inflicting another grand final embarrassment on the hapless Cats. Six goals to one in the second quarter settled the issue, as Carlton dominated in just about every area on the paddock and Geelong blew the chances they did get (1.6 for the quarter). No doubt recognising that something, anything, had to be done, Billy Brownless started a very attractive blue after the half time siren which attracted the participation of most of the players on the paddock, and tempted the optimistic to believe that there was some fight left yet in the Cats. Such beliefs were erased comprehensively after the break as the Blues continued on their merry way, racking up another 6 goals to 3 in the third quarter. The final quarter was little more than an extended lap of honour for the Blues, the only real interest being, as Roy and HG pointed out, in seeing how many times Gablett could fall over. Carlton got as far as 94 points up before late goals by Handley lent a semblance of respectability to the scoreboard. All that remained then was to blow the siren, play the Carlton theme song about 25 times, watch the Cats trudge of disconsolately and hand the silverware to the Blues.
You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned any individual Blues in the wrap up above. That's because if I'd mentioned one I would have had to mention the lot, and that's precisely why the won all season. They handed Greg Williams the Norm Smith medal I'd guess on the strength of his 5 goals and 31 possessions, though I honestly rated the efforts of Dean (average stats, but lots of one-percenters and team things) and Koutoufides (also 31 possessions) more highly. Rattan had a stack of the footy, and Bradley had way too much of it for my liking ((a) I don't like him, and (b) I drew him in our drinking draft). Madden beat Barnes in the ruck, and, crucially, fought him to a draw around the ground as well. The defence was its usual self, from Silvagni holding Gablett goalless and making him look silly besides (it's the first time in more than four years Gablett's gone goal-less in a game), to Christou and McKay holding their opponents and running the ball efficiently away from danger. Up forward Kernahan and Williams bagged 5 each, Pearce chipped in with 4 and Clape busily accumulated 20 possessions from a half forward flank. Really, the only reason I'm not giving everyone a mention is that it's getting boring. Parkin's press conference was pretty dull, the standard "all credit to the players" sort of stuff required of a coach on these occasions, but he looked a man who'd had a weight lifted from his shoulders (a weight corresponding to that of a big monkey wearing a t-shirt with "93-94" written on it).
Perhaps in the interest of preventing what is now an almost traditional disappointment of the Geelong faithful, in future someone will be kind enough to put the Moggies down in the early weeks of the finals. It's not like the club deserves this sort of humiliation on an annual basis; they're not Collingwood, after all. A lot of players had days they'd rather forget, most obviously Gablett (0.3) and Brownless. Mansfield was lion hearted in the back half and wherever they moved him, Pickering battled hard against the tide on the ball, and Barnes, though beaten on the day, battled manfully. Riccardi perhaps typified the rotten day Geelong had; he was as good as any for the Cats, but tore his hammie midway through the third and sat out the rest of the match. Ayres was understandably grim after the match, vowing that this match would not be forgotten, and the players were obviously devastated; you really wonder how this group of players will come back from this loss. Some of this team have had 4 cracks at it now, and it's gotten worse every time. Their best hope lies in the fact that Ayres has lost and won grand finals, and knows what's required, but it's going to be a long summer at Kardinia Park.
No more footy. Arrrrrrgh. What do we do now? Let me see, there's a couple of weeks till the Cox Plate and the racing gets serious. Wait on, here's something: Next Sunday, Mercantile Mutual Cup, Queensland vs Victoria at the Gabba. At least we only have to wait one week to see cricket on the screens.
That's it for this year. It's been fun, and thanks to everyone who sent notes or comments, and to Tim Murphy for doing previews this year. If all goes to plan I should have finished here by the time the next footy season comes around, so I can't guarantee I'll be around to do reports next year; wherever I am, if I can, I probably will. In any event, watch out for the Dockers in '96.....
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