AFL Premiership Season 2018 – Finals Fever
Can the mighty Tigers go back to back in 2018? Will the Giants win their first ever flag or is it the Swans that will take home bragging rights for NSW? Who would have thought the Magpies would have a top 4 finish for the Home and Away season, let alone the Hawks who have reignited the fight after a disappointing 2017. Can the Eagles snatch their 4th flag or will the Demons bring the fight in their first finals appearance since 2006? With such a premium Midfield at Geelong, will the Cats bring the fight and take home Premiership glory?
Season 2018 has been an absolute thriller, with unexpected finals appearances, shock losses, and a team that is seemingly unbeatable at the MCG. After a captivating 2017 season, Richmond fans should be relishing at the back to back season performance that has been put on by this ferocious team. With club membership sales soaring to over 100,000 members, the Tiger Army is in full swing and ready for a first round MCG Qualifying Final against the understated Hawthorn Football Club. The Hawks have been a powerhouse in modern AFL, with 2018 registering their 10th finals appearance in the past 12 seasons, which includes 4 Premierships and a Runners Up. With the opening game of the round, this Final is sure to be a sell-out, getting underway on Thursday September 6th at 7:20pm.
West Coast haves battled injuries and suspensions all season, but have somehow found a way to finish 2nd, guaranteeing a first round Home Qualifying Final against Collingwood at the new Optus Stadium in Perth. With West Coast Ruckman Nic Naitanui suffering a second ACL injury and ruled out for the remainder of the season, Collingwood All-Australian Ruckman Brody Grundy has an opportunity to have an enormous impact on the outcome of this game. With both sides having experienced many injury concerns in 2018, the question lies, which team will these issues have impacted the least? As this game will be played in the West, the final kicks off on Saturday September 8th at 8:10pm AEST.
In the first Elimination Final we will get to see the Melbourne Football Club host Geelong at the MCG. Whilst taking the Cats out of the Cattery is a clear advantage for the Demons, the Midfield depth and experience of the Cats will be of great concern. Geelong have finished the Home and Away season in prolific fashion, with back to back 100 point wins and great momentum coming into this game. Melbourne on the other hand have finally figured out their ‘hoodoo’ against top 8 sides and have ended their Home and Away season with back to back wins against 2nd placed West Coast, and 7th placed GWS. With a loss ending the 2018 Premiership campaign for one of these sides, the game at 7:50pm on Friday September 7th will be one not to be missed.
The second Elimination Final between the Greater Western Sydney Football Club (GWS) and the Sydney Football Club is sure to get the NSW audience fired up. Both teams are playing off the back of big losses, which have impacted their overall ladder positioning and finals outcomes. For the GWS Giants it will be about maintaining composure and structure against a fierce Swans outfit, whereas for the Swans the focus will be on forward 50 entries and the accurate delivery of the ball. A heavy reliance on the unstoppable Swans full forward Lance Franklin, could prove beneficial, especially in the absence of key Giants defender Heath Shaw. Taking place at the illustrious SCG on Saturday September 8th at 4:20pm, this final will be full of excitement, emotions and engaging football.
With all the excitement set to kick off this Thursday night, the streets of Melbourne will be alive having the MCG host 2 of the four finals in round 1. With ticket sales websites unable to withstand the public demand, many keen AFL fans will have to miss out on seeing the action live at the ‘G’. If you can’t get a ticket to one of these games, you can still join in all the action and hype that this premiership season offers. Just head to one of Melbourne’s many bars and pubs to watch the game and join in the atmosphere. Some of my top suggestions include: The Duke of Wellington, Beer DeLuxe, Riverland Bar or the Imperial Hotel.
If you end up at any of these places, be sure to #melbourniseme!
By Shane Asbury