Melbourne and Collingwood have stormed into the AFL Preliminary Finals with semifinal victories over the weekend during the AFL finals series, ensuring that Victoria is guaranteed a Grand Final participant. Here is how it went down.
Dees Stomp Hawks
Melbourne’s win over Hawthorn 104-71 in the semifinals has sent their fans into overjoyed celebrations. The Dees built a lead steadily against the Hawks, who never threatened a comeback after halftime. The Dees took advantage of their scoring chances kicking 16.8 compared to 10.11 for the Hawks. Jack Viney had a standout game with 27 disposals and 5 tackles, Tom McDonald booted 4 goals, and four other Dees had a pair of goals including Angus Brayshaw. James Harmes had 11 tackles, and Max Gawn showed leadership with 41 hitouts.
For Hawthorn, Tom Mitchell had a solid game while Jack Gunston booted 3 goals, but overall they didn’t have enough quality against Melbourne and will have to go back to the drawing board for next season after exceeding expectations this year. Melbourne is a game away from the Grand Final for the first time in 18 years while the Hawks won’t add to their trophy case this year.
Pies Edge Giants
Collingwood edged the GWS Giants 69-59, going behind only briefly in the third term as the Giants tried to chase them down but they couldn’t overcome a complete Pies performance at the MCG. Collingwood dominated disposals and scoring chances, dictating the pace of the game with Brodie Grundy controlling the rucking contest (38 hit outs), and multiple Collingwood forwards causing trouble including Jordan de Goey with 3 goals. in the midfield Tom Phillips, Adam Treloar and Steele Sidebottom combined for almost 100 disposals, while the Pies backline stifled the Giants forwards. Only Stephen Coniglio had a multi-goal game, Coniglio was best for GWS with 30 disposals and 2 goals, while Lachie Whitfield posted 31 disposals in a losing performance.
The talented Giants couldn’t get over the hump this year, while Nathan Buckley is looking to become this year’s Damien Hardwick. Buckley’s Collingwood will face Richmond in the prelim finals, while Melbourne travels to face West Coast.