The grand remaining awaits for Geelong and Sydney after the preliminary finals provided up satisfaction, ache and one final Collingwood comeback.
Welcome to the AFL Spherical-Up, the place we digest the week that was.
Many roads to a grand remaining
What’s one of the best ways to win a preliminary remaining?
It is a trick query actually, as a result of there is no such thing as a unhealthy approach to win a prelim per se. However what’s it you actually wish to get out of your final recreation earlier than a grand remaining?
Would you like a comparatively cruisy win, the place all the things you strive comes off and you’re able spend principally the final quarter in self-preservation mode with eyes on a grander prize?
Or would you favor the last word take a look at, a recreation that challenges each final sinew of your workforce’s character and high quality and is not determined till the ultimate, determined seconds?
In a method, we’ll discover out subsequent week as a result of Geelong and Sydney’s respective paths to the final Saturday in September might hardly have been extra totally different.
The Cats had largely seen off the Lions by halfway by means of the second quarter. They have been capable of get pleasure from themselves from that time on, systematically dismantling a Lions aspect resigned to their destiny with among the most clinically devastating soccer we have seen this yr.
Sydney might have hoped for the same consequence, however have been enjoying a aspect who would slightly haven’t turned up in any respect than lay down and settle for defeat.
The Swans noticed either side of themselves on Saturday night — the workforce that burst out to a six aim lead and the one which shut up store and needed to grasp on for pricey life within the face of a black and white avalanche.
On the finish of all of it, we must be happy to have the ability to say the most effective two groups within the competitors this yr will compete within the grand remaining.
Each needed to overcome Collingwood within the finals, and each succeeded by one-kick margins. Each needed to adapt to huge events on the MCG, and each needed to regulate on the fly attributable to key accidents in a prelim.
And now there are storylines to savour wherever you look. Patrick Dangerfield and Lance Franklin’s chase, Tyson Stengle and Paddy McCartin second likelihood, Jeremy Cameron and Isaac Heeney’s second to personal.
Saturday cannot come quickly sufficient.
Ode to the Pies
So Collingwood’s 2022 story ends with heartbreak. A miss so close to as to really feel merciless, the dream dangled in entrance of their noses and snatched away with an evil chortle.
The ache was visceral within the stands and on the sector. It is going to harm the membership for some time, it has to.
However none of that Sydney disappointment can overshadow what Collingwood have achieved this yr. Exterior of premiership years, seasons don’t get higher for followers than this one.
There isn’t any thrill like watching a workforce emerge earlier than your eyes in actual time. It was mesmerising to observe Collingwood discover that inside perception of their method of enjoying and belief in teammates with each passing week and every miraculous last-gasp win.
Jack Ginnivan kicked 40 objectives and implanted himself within the heads of thousands and thousands, his bleached hair and smiling face serving as a metaphor for Collingwood’s full dedication to embracing individuality.
Nick Daicos was even higher than any draft watcher predicted, a really particular expertise who inside 20 video games has develop into a frontrunner of one of many largest golf equipment within the nation.
Ash Johnson got here from nowhere to develop into an important cog, Jeremy Howe and Darcy Moore grew to become impenetrable, Scott Pendlebury remained Scott Pendlebury, Jamie Elliott proved to be king of the clutch.
Pendlebury’s claims that individuals do not hate Collingwood that a lot anymore might be a step too far — that is not how the caper works, I am afraid — however it’s true that we are going to all owe Collingwood a debt of gratitude for this yr.
No workforce has ignited and enlivened this season just like the Pies. Even when Craig McRae takes this workforce to a premiership within the coming years, there’s each likelihood the journey will not be as particular because the 2022 season.
Across the grounds
A bridge too far for Brisbane, then. It is a bit of too simplistic to say they performed their grand remaining final week, however once they wanted the magic once more on Friday evening they discovered the tank was empty.
The Lions must be higher in 2023, however there aren’t any ensures. Including a number-one draft choose in Will Ashcroft is a fairly uncommon luxurious for a preliminary remaining workforce, however Brisbane’s largest situation is in transitional defence. Perhaps you may put it all the way down to fatigue, however Geelong scorched them on the break.
Chad Warner is an absolute marvel. Poise and energy in a bit of blonde bundle, his emergence has been a giant think about Sydney reaching the grand remaining. Cannot wait to observe him play subsequent week.
There will likely be an in depth watch on Max Holmes’s hamstring this week, as he could be a reasonably large loss for the Cats. For his sake you hope he finds a approach to stand up, as his devastated response on the sidelines was the worst a part of the weekend.
Jack Crisp’s 200th recreation may need been the most effective of his profession. Crisp has been a titan all season, and proper to the final was driving his Pies ahead with all his would possibly. He’s one in every of many Collingwood gamers whose standing within the recreation has elevated exponentially this yr.