Some media commentators have suggested that teams don’t want to face Geelong in the first week of the finals because they believe a loss to the Cats will be demoralising and they will crash out of the finals. What a load of rubbish!
Every team would love to get into the top four, regardless of their opponent, because it means that they get double chance.
History shows this double chance is extremely important.
Under the current finals system, a team who finished the season outside the top four has rarely made it to week three of the finals, let alone win the flag.
Under the current system, no team has won the flag from outside the top four. You have to go back to Adelaide in 1998 when they finished fifth and won the flag under a different system.
Also, these commentators seem to think the Cats are unbeatable. But history shows again the minor premiers can fall.
Port Adelaide losing to Sydney in 2003 is a classic example. Sydney were given no chance of winning that game.
Also in 2005, Adelaide won ten games straight, but then lost to St Kilda in the first week of the finals.
North Melbourne is most likely to get fourth spot, and they would love to take on the Cats. Geelong are expected to win the flag and that pressure can cause even the toughest teams to crack.
Also, if North Melbourne does lose, they don’t have to face Geelong again until the Grand Final. And if they make it through to the preliminaries, then Hawthorn or the Bulldogs will be their opponent.
They’ve beaten both those teams this year.
History shows that you need that double chance to win the flag, so why on earth wouldn’t teams want it?