Adelaide and Richmond Dominate Qualifying Finals
Adelaide Crows and Richmond Tigers fans enjoyed happy nights on Thursday and Friday as both teams dominated their qualifying finals against GWS Giants and Geelong Cats respectively to reach the preliminary finals. The Crows took advantage of their scoring chances, while the Giants did not on Thursday, Adelaide pulling away as 84-48 victors and continuing to show why they were the minor premiers this season.
The Crouch brothers led in the midfield in Rory Sloane’s absence, veteran Eddie Betts kicked three goals and Riley Knight had 10 tackles as it was a complete team effort for the Crows. Josh Kelly, Callan Ward, and Stephen Coniglio were the best performers for the Giants, but despite their talent they truly turned into a disappointing showing in their biggest game of the season thus far. The Giants now face elimination against the West Coast Eagles in the semifinals, and they will be without key forward Jeremy Cameron. The Crows are in their first prelim final since 2012.
Richmond Tigers and Geelong played a competitive qualifying final until Richmond pulled away with a dominant 7 goals to 1 final term. The Tigers prevailed 91-40, giving their long suffering fans something to roar about. Dustin Martin and company dominated inside 50’s, as Chris Scott and the Cats struggled for answers. Geelong’s finals experience seemed irrelevant despite the best efforts of Patrick Dangerfield, as their forwards really struggled. Dion Prestia, Martin, and veteran Josh Caddy, a former Cat, led the Tigers, Caddy kicked a pair of goals. Captain Trent Cotchin was also massive, performing beyond his statline. Geelong faces Sydney in the semifinals.
Sydney Swans and West Coast Eagles 3 wins away from a flag
Some pundits thought the Essendon Bombers would be competitive against the Sydney Swans, but Sydney didn’t give the Victorians even a sniff at the lead after a competitive opening term. The Swans prevailed 121-56 and kept the footy in their forward half most of the contest. The Swans were a force with Josh P. Kennedy and Luke Parker a terror in the midfield, Lance Franklin booted four goals, and Callum Sinclair and Dean Towers combined for six key goals. Joe Daniher went 3.2 for Essendon, but their midfield and backline was no match for the Swans.
The game of the week was between West Coast Eagles and Port Adelaide. The veteran Eagles let their experience shine in a 78-76 extra time victory on the road. The Power had more scoring chances, but the Eagles backline was massive, including Eric Mackenzie, who saved a goal with a selfless chase for the footy late in the game. He slammed into the post and kept the footy out of the scoring zone. Andrew Gaff, Matt Priddis and Luke Shuey were at their best in the Eagles midfield, Josh J. Kennedy and Luke Darling combined for six goals. Robbie Gray, Travis Boak, and Charlie Dixon were great for the Power, and frankly they deserved more, but as it stands they will have to begin the quest for the flag next season. West Coast will be dangerous in the games to come. The Eagles led most of the contest, but the Power always threatened, and in the end it was the Eagles that had to produce a comeback with Luke Shuey kicking a winner at the siren.