Those who were hoping for a fairytale ending for the Toyota 2017 AFL Premiership competition had their hopes dashed when the Essendon Bombers, who had to play the 2016 season with top-up players of dubious abilities, made it to the finals this year but could not pull off the equivalent of last year’s Western Bulldogs miracle.
The Dons went down to the Sydney Swans in their elimination final at Sydney Cricket Ground, not in a blaze of glory, but in a desultory 121 – 56 thrashing that called time on the 2017 Dons.
Forty-six thousand turned out to watch the match. It may be the Swans looking for the Cinderella finish, as they were effectively declared dead after losing their first six at the outset of the 2017 home-and-away series. It was the sort of game that probably sent some ardent Swans fans to the exits early in the hopes of getting out of the car park and out on the road ahead of traffic, as the outcome was as good as decided by the end of the second term, where the Swans had established an 83 – 22 lead.
Forty-six thousand is less than half of the attendance posted for the Geelong Cats v Richmond Tigers match at the MCG, but let us not forget that Sydney is a rugby town, along with the fact that the SCG crowd was the largest ever for an AFL game at SCG.
The Swans are now looking back at a record that includes 15 wins from their past 17 matches, so while it is the Adelaide Crows who tore up the turf during the regular season, it is the Swans no one wants to draw in the finals.
To move forward, the Swans need to get by the Cats in order to set up a meeting in the preliminary finals with the Crows.
The Tigers next opponent will be winner of the match between the Giants and the West Coast Eagles, so the dreaded possibility of a Grand Final at MCG between two Sydney sides is still very real.