The 2018 AFL finals series is in the books for week 1, and while only one game turned out to be truly competitive, all four winning sides made their case to further threaten for a flag.
Melbourne and GWS Giants Advance to Semifinals
Melbourne and the GWS Giants kept their seasons alive, downing Geelong and Sydney with style to reach the semifinals. A dominant third term sealed a 79-30 win for GWS against their crosstown rivals with Phil Davis locking down Sydney key forward Lance Franklin. Callan Ward, Lachie Whitfield, Stephen Coniglio, and Toby Greene were massive for the Giants, Greene, Jeremy Cameron, and Harry Himmelberg combined for 8 GWS goals, Whitfield had 5 tackles along with 25+ disposals. Josh P. Kennedy and Tom Papley (2 goals) were the only notables for an incredibly disappointing Swans side.
Melbourne ran all over an experienced Geelong side 75-46, as the Cats managed just 2 goals by halftime and were never able to truly get into the contest. Clayton Oliver, James Harmes, Angus Brayshaw, and Jack Viney were massive for the Dees, Max Gawn dominated in the ruck and kicked a goal, while Sam Weideman had 3 goals to lead Mellbourne. Geelong had disappointing games from their best players, Patrick Dangerfield, and Joel Selwood had shockers, while Tom Hawkins, the best goal kicker for the Cats,, only managed a pair, while no other Cat had multiple goals.
Top 2 sides Richmond and West Coast Earn Prelim Final Berths
Richmond and West Coast were the AFL’s top 2 sides during the regular season and they continued to show their best form in finals. Richmond dropped Hawthorn 95-64 in a game they led throughout. Dustin Martin was at his best for a Tigers side that racked up inside 50’s. Martin had 29 disposals and a goal, while Daniel Rioli and Kamdyn McIntosh combined for 6 goals and Josh Caddy booted 2 more. Trent Cotchin, Kane Lambert, and Dion Prestia were also midfield standouts, while Hawthorn got good performances from Liam Shiels (11 tackles), and Tom Mitchell (38 disposals) in defeat. Only veteran forward Jarryd Roughhead had a multi-goal game for a side that is set to face Melbourne in a tough MCG clash next Friday.
West Coast won at home in Perth in the game of the weekend against Collingwood, the Pies were fully in the fixture and led in the final term before the Eagles went on a run to seal the 86-70 win that ensures the Pies face GWS at the MCG next Saturday. In a close game, the Eagles intercepts in the final term made a difference as Elliot Yeo and Jack Redden were both over 30 disposals. Three Eagles forwards, Jack Darling, Josh Kennedy, and Liam Ryan kicked 2 goals each, Yeo and Daniel Venables combined for 16 tackles as the key pressure players for the Eagles.
The Pies had 6 goals combined from Taylor Adams, Jordan De Goey, and Brody Mihocek while Steele Sidebottom and Adams led the disposal count. Between Hawthorn and Collingwood you’d have to figure Collingwood has a better chance of advancing into the prelim finals, they held up well in a tough road clash against a very good Eagles team.