The spectre of an all-Sydney AFL Grand Final has been erased, thanks to the Geelong Cats’ 98 – 39 dispatching of the Sydney Swans in semifinal two Friday evening, but we still have that sour taste in our mouth from a side losing in its first final, but living on due to the way the powers that be have structured their affairs.
The Cats had little trouble with the Swans, holding the Cinderella story side to five goals and nine behinds in front of a 50 percent-sized crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with an attendance of 55,529, far below the history-making 95,028 who showed up for the Richmond Tigers v Cats qualifier on September 8.
Geelong Coach Chris Scott’s unorthodox decision to move Patrick Dangerfield from the middle to full-forward certainly sparked some controversy, but the desired outcome was achieved, as Danger booted four majors and three behinds to spark the Cats’ offense that had appeared downright moribund against the Tigers.
The Cats are down to seven remaining lives when they venture south to the Adelaide Oval to face the Crows in the preliminary Friday next.
Meanwhile, further, much further north of the crown jewel city of South Australia, it was an NRL finals crowd of 17,865 that turned out to Sydney’s Spotless Stadium to watch the other dead team, the Greater Western Sydney Giants, end the season of the West Coast Eagles 125 – 58, so the other spectre, that of a NSW side in the Grand Final, is left to the Crows to extinguish.
Steve Johnson stood tall for the Giants, as the Eagles apparently forgot he was on the ground and allowed Johnson to kick six goals – in the second half.
Johnson apparently derived motivation from having been dropped a week earlier.
Despite our griping, the preliminary finals will feature the four sides that finished top four during the home-and-away season, so perhaps the league does have an inkling of how to do things after all.