Well that was a disappointing opening weekend of the AFL Finals. Not because I support any of the four losing clubs.
Not because last week in this column I gazed into my crystal ball and predicted the first week winners would be Sydney, Geelong, Collingwood and Richmond (I hope all of those who know my tipping used the reverse psychology and won a heap).
Not because I like many was hoping the first finals’ appearance of the Tigers in more than a decade would last a little longer than 120 minutes.
No, to find out the reason for my disappointment you need only to go back to early July when I wrote a column for The Roar after the Cats had beaten Hawthorn for the one millionth time in succession.
“Right now, I would not be disappointed one iota, if we just said: “that’s it, the remaining home and away games are irrelevant, Geelong and Hawthorn will play the grand final. I’m not a Cats’ fan, nor a Hawthorn supporter. I’m just being a realist and believe that match-up on September 28, is that one I would pay to see.”
The upside is I will save my cash now. I won’t need to fork out for Hawthorn-Geelong granny tickets, because potentially the best game of the 2013 finals series could be played the week before the last weekend in September.
After last weekend’s results it would be foolish to attempt to predict winners – but I will later anyone – but if the Cats can overcome plucky Port Adelaide on Friday night, then the grand final most desired by many fans whose teams are not playing finals, will actually be played in a preliminary final – not for a flag, but simply a spot in the game where you can win one.
That’s not to say it won’t be a cracking game if it eventuates, and the stakes are massive.
But what if it is one of the games of the season, as Hawthorn-Geelong clashes tend to be. Will that leave the following week’s game as a bit of an anti-climax?
I know it will be a grand final, and all the hype and hoopla will ensure it’s a great day, and the Hawks or Cats could be playing Carlton which would be a wonderful game for Victorians, or the Hawks could play Sydney in a replay of 2012, or Fremantle could be in their first grand final chasing their inaugural flag.
Yeah all good I’m sure … but not Geelong versus Hawthorn.
But it’s done now. It can’t happen and it won’t happen, so we have to begrudgingly move on.
Credit where it is due to the weekend victors. Fremantle were superb against Geelong and deserved their win.
Hawthorn (the lonely favourites to win in week one) were clinical in picking Sydney apart.
Port Adelaide amazed most by dismantling Collingwood, while Carlton were stunning in their comeback against Richmond.
And this week the Sydney-Carlton game will be a good one, the Cats-Port clash will have interest, and the both should be entertaining games. But they won’t lead to a Hawthorn-Geelong grand final will they?
Do I sound like a broken record? Perhaps? But deep down – your team aside – wouldn’t that have been a great way to end what as been a tumultuous season?
Anyway, peering into that defective crystal ball I own, I see Geelong ending Port’s fairytale run, and Sydney beating Carlton at home, to set up a Fremantle versus Swans preliminary final in Perth, and the 2013 grand final that will never be, Hawthorn against Geelong.
And this time I’m not getting too far ahead of myself. For those two winners, you’ll have to read next week.