The flag fancy that’s ‘too good to fail’, and underdog leaves everyone looking silly



One week of AFLW finals down; six teams still left in premiership contention.

The competition bid farewell to the Western Bulldogs and Geelong after thrilling elimination finals, while Brisbane and Melbourne booked home preliminary finals with dominant qualifying final showings that leave them in the box seat to contend for this season’s flag.

Here’s how it all unfolded in Finals Week One.

Melbourne

The Demons looked a little nervous and rattled in the first term, but after quarter time came out and looked like their usual (if not enhanced) dominant selves.

They carved the Crows up for the rest of the game and honestly made the reigning premiers look second rate. This Melbourne team is going to be incredibly hard to beat.

Alyssa Bannan is a player you need to look out for in two weeks’ time, because she is electric and is likely the fastest player in the competition.

Alyssa Bannan of the Demons celebrates kicking a goal.

Alyssa Bannan of the Demons celebrates kicking a goal. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

adelaide

The Crows really brought the thunder as soon as the game started, which is honestly such a positive sign after last week when they looked like they didn’t care.

However, even racing out to a three-goal lead would not be enough to best the Demons, and for the remainder of the game they really struggled to enact their plans.

I believe this Crows team does have what it takes to beat the best, but they just need all the pieces to fall into place – that might be easier said than done.

brisbane

The Lions are what I would call ‘too good to fail.’

They are just so dominant in every aspect and can turn on immense amounts of scoring at the snap of a finger. They are still having shaky first quarters which I think they will fix up against a better opponent; but overall, I don’t see them losing a game from here on in.

They get to play every game at home and as long as the grand final is played in Brisbane, they will cruise to their second premiership.

Richmond

There has been a lot of discussion about the Tigers this past week, and I think what we saw against the Lions wasn’t really a representation of how good they can be.

In the first and fourth quarters you could argue that the Tigers got the better of the Lions but they were unable to convert that into any type of scoring.

If the Tigers are going to win next week and progress further into this finals series, they will need to double down on their pressure ball game, and try to rely less on pinpoint passing and the handball chain game they have been playing of late, even though that has worked for them in the past.

Geelong

The Cats are incredibly unlucky that, despite finishing fifth and getting the right to play what should be the worst team in the finals, actually had to go up against one of the best.

The Kangas have one of the best squads in the league and the Cats were unable to get through them. Geelong lost this game more than the Kangas won, it though.

They had so many chances and had so many inside 50s that they simply couldn’t convert into scores. I think a lot of the players will reflect on this match and be kicking themselves for how many mistakes they made.

If the AFLW had timeouts like in American sports, then the Cats would have been able to cool their heads and start hitting targets inside 50. Better luck next year, Geelong.

North Melbourne

The Kangas. Wow.

Firstly, they made me look dumb since I had all my chips pushed into the Cats corner. But they also made the Cats look pretty dumb.

Their spare defend strategy was almost able to help them get over the line against the Tigers last week, and did help them this week when it mattered most.

By no means were the Kangas the dominant team in this match up but they did use their chances much more efficiently. I really liked Sophie Abbanangelo’s game – she slotted a goal and was the heartbeat of North’s forward line.

collingwood

I have been quite critical of the Pies of late, but against the Dogs they showed me some promise that I had not seen from them previously.

In the first quarter they were up to their old tricks, but after the quarter time they came out with a plan and moved the ball with much more elegance, looking a worthy top-eight side. I still don’t believe this team can beat any other side left in the finals, but I would be happy to be proven wrong.

How about Eliza James’ coming out party though? James kicked four goals – yes, four goals! – and had it not been for an early blunder she would have had five.

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western bulldogs

The Dogs fought very valiantly against the Pies and came within just seconds of winning this game. They fought back from a 28-point deficit, which is incredibly impressive considering the Pies love to drop spare numbers back in defence.

I was most impressed, however, with a play that eventuated in nothing right near the end of the game. The Bullies switched the ball around the back and propelled it forward with such ease. It only took 20 seconds off the clock and allowed them to go from half-back to half-forward without a Collingwood player going near the ball.

I hope every single AFLW head coach was watching that play and taking notes. Better luck next year Bulldogs.

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