The West Coast Eagles snuck into the AFL finals for 2017 by percentage as they defeated the Adelaide Crows in the final AFL game at Domain Stadium in Perth 100-71. Knowing they had hope heading into the final game after Melbourne’s loss on Saturday, the Eagles went all out against an Adelaide side that was all but assured to finish top of the ladder with 62 points. The Crows are a talented side, but the Eagles played with heart, they won, and thanks to doing just enough in the final term they beat Melbourne by just 0.5% in the ladder, capping off a fantastic regular season.
Sam Mitchell had 34 disposals, Jamie Cripps kicked three goals, and Matt Priddis, who like Mitchell is retiring, led with 8 tackles. The Eagles will have big players to replace next year, but they don’t have to worry about that yet, they still can dream of winning the flag for 2017. The Crouch brothers had almost 90 disposals combined for Adelaide, Rory Sloane had 38 and Mitch McGovern and Eddie Betts combined for four goals, as the Crows remain one of the favorites to take the flag after a strong regular season.
Collingwood Spoils Finals for Melbourne
Melbourne got the margin down late, but it was Collingwood‘s game to lose throughout, as Nathan Buckley sent off the Pies rivals with not only a loss, but a painful loss that keeps them out of finals. Collingwood won 99-83 as Melbourne wasted their attacking chances. Taylor Adams had 28 disposals, Jamie Elliot kicked three goals, and American Magpie Mason Cox also had two goals. Clayton Oliver (30 disposals), and Jake Melksham (three goals) led Melbourne, but Jesse Hogan came up injured, and Captain Nathan Jones was left wanting despite 29 disposals.
Essendon Makes Top 8 with Fremantle Win
Fremantle made it interesting, but Essendon beat the Dockers 107-92 to (eventually) finish 8th in the ladder and reach the finals series, one year after winning the wooden spoon. The Bombers dominated the game overall even though Freo, which could only play spoiler, fought harder than they have in the second half of the season as a whole. Brendon Goddard and Zach Merrett led the Bombers in disposals, the retiring Jobe Watson also had a solid game. Merrett and James Stewart kicked four goals each, Joe Daniher kicked two. The Dockers had six players with two goals each, including Nat Fyfe, as they will look to rebuild for next season.
Richmond Secures Top 4 Spot By Defeating St. Kilda
By a margin of 122-81 Richmond redeemed themselves against St. Kilda and secured a #3 finish on the ladder, a big improvement from missing finals last season. Dustin Martin had 36 disposals and two goals, likely securing the Brownlow medal, Jacob Townsend continued to be a late season revelation for the Tigers, he kicked five goals, while Shaun Grigg added three more, along with Brandon Ellis 30 disposals, the Tigers have been getting contributions all over the ground. Luke Dunstan led the Saints in disposals, Jade Gresham kicked five goals, and the retiring legend Nick Riewoldt finished his career with a goal at the MCG. The Saints finishing 11th on the ladder after a late season slump.
Hawthorn Sees off Luke Hodge With Bulldogs Win
Hawthorn beat the Western Bulldogs 99-90, ending the Bulldogs slim finals hopes, and sending off captain Luke Hodge with a marquee win in his final game. The Hawks wanted more for this season, but they played hard regardless, the Hawks dominated clearances as Jarryd Roughead kicked five goals. Tom Mitchell and James Sicily were both over 30 disposals, while Jaeger O’Meara returned to post a solid performance in the midfield. Matthew Boyd and Jack Macrae combined for 66 disposals, and Liam Picken kicked three goals but once again it wasn’t enough, as the Bulldogs suffered another frustrating loss, in what has been a bit of a nightmare season for them. Boyd joined captain Bob Murphy in playing his final game on the night, both are retiring.
Brisbane Lions “Win” the Spoonbowl Against North Melbourne
Brisbane Lions won by losing against North Melbourne, North won 130-79 in a sloppy final game of the season for both teams. The result ensures the Lions get the top pick in the draft, while North Melbourne gets pick #4 in the draft. The Lions were sloppy, despite 27 disposals from Alex Witherden. Ben Brown kicked seven goals, a career high, for North, Shaun Higgins also had a great game with 29 disposals. Brisbane is probably the “best” team to win the spoon in the last few seasons.
Geelong Crushes GWS Giants to Finish #2 on the Ladder
Geelong beat the GWS Giants 103-59, a result that moves Geelong to #2 on the ladder in the regular season, and has to make the #4 Giants worried about their standing heading into finals. The Giants are perhaps the most talented team in the AFL, but they’ve had some real shockers in terms of their losses this year. Sam Menegola and Patrick Dangerfield had more than 60 disposals combined, Menegola kicked three goals, Daniel Menzel and Tom Hawkins combined for four goals. Callan Ward had 37 disposals, Jeremy Cameron and Toby Greene combined for six goals, but the rest of the Giants were disappointing, especially their backline. The veteran Cats have a real shot at the flag.
Big Win Against Carlton Not Enough for Sydney to Finish Top 4
Sydney finished the regular season 14-2 after an 0-6 start, the Swans beat Carlton at home 138-57 as 10 goals from Lance Franklin earned him the Coleman medal for 2017. The most dominant forward in the game, Franklin was fed well by Luke Parker and Josh P. Kennedy in the midfield, while Carlton couldn’t get a forward attack going. Marc Murphy notched 32 disposals for the Blues, while Blaine Boekhorst had three goals. The Swans enter finals as the AFL’s hottest team.
Port Adelaide Stay 5th with Dominant Win over Gold Coast Suns
Port Adelaide showed Sydney anything they can do, the Power can do better, they slotted the Swans into the #6 spot on the ladder, while Port finished #5 after defeating Gold Coast Suns 135-20, the Suns with the second ever lowest score in the AFL. The Suns plainly gave up on this season in the second half, Ollie Wines led the Power midfield, Sam Gray and Charlie Dixon combined for 10 goals as the Power can now look forward to finals.
Finals Matchups Week 1
Adelaide vs. GWS Giants (double elimination)
Geelong Cats vs. Richmond (double elimination)
Sydney Swans vs. Essendon (single elimination)
Port Adelaide vs. West Coast Eagles (single elimination)
The double elimination matchups are Adelaide vs GWS, and Geelong vs Richmond, with Adelaide and Geelong likely the slightest of favorites. Sydney vs Essendon and Port Adelaide vs. West Coast are single elimination games, Sydney and Port Adelaide will be heavy favorites given their recent form, although West Coast has plenty of experience.