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The 2019 AFL Finals concluded with Richmond defeating the GWS Giants by 89 points in the grand final.
First elimination final: West Coast Eagles 17.14 (116) def. Essendon Bombers 9.7 (61)
8:10pm (AEST), Thursday, September 5, Optus Stadium
West Coast reminded the competition of their premiership credentials, thoroughly outclassing Essendon in a relatively cruisy 55-point victory at home to open the 2019 finals series.
Some early goals to the Bombers suggested they’d be in it for the distance, but they were soon put to the sword by a rampant Eagles side. A 21-point lead at quarter-time became 30 at the main break and the visitors never looked like getting close.
Luke Shuey starred with 35 disposals, Andrew Gaff amassed 34 and Jamie Cripps collected four goals to go with his 22 touches. For Essendon, skipper Dyson Heppell tried his hardest with 31 touches and a match-high 11 marks, while Andrew McGrath provided some rare highlights in his 30-disposal game.
First qualifying final: Geelong Cats 7.9 (51) def. by Collingwood Magpies 9.7 (61)
7:50pm (AEST), Friday, September 6, MCG
Collingwood ambushed the minor premiers in the first half of the qualifying final, kicking seven of the first eight goals to have the contest seemingly buried before half time.
But key injuries to Jordan de Goey (hamstring) and Levi Greenwood (knee) allowed Geelong back in the contest. The Cats kicked three straight goals just before the main break and kept Collingwood scoreless in the last quarter, but weren’t able to land the killing blow.
Steele Sidebottom was incredible with 33 disposals, 15 marks, seven inside 50s and a goal, while Brodie Grundy took full advantage of Geelong’s questionable decision to drop Rhys Stanley with 47 hit-outs, 21 disposals and 15 contested possessions. Patrick Dangerfield was Geelong’s best with 32 disposals, seven clearances and a goal.
Second elimination final: GWS Giants 16.17 (113) def. Western Bulldogs 8.7 (55)
3:20pm (AEST), Saturday, September 7, Giants Stadium
The Giants exacted revenge for their famous 2016 preliminary final defeat, dominating the Bulldogs in a fiery and spiteful clash to win by 58 points. The extremely physical affair saw the Bulldogs recover from a poor start to make the margin just 10 points at half time, but 10 second-half goals to three in favour of the home side was enough.
GWS monstered the Bulldogs in inside 50s (76-37) and contested possessions (167-125), with Jacob Hopper, Josh Kelly and Tim Taranto all playing pivotal roles at the coalface.
Second qualifying final: Brisbane Lions 8.17 (65) def. by Richmond Tigers 18.4 (112)
7:25pm (AEST), Saturday, September 7, The Gabba
Brisbane were left to rue woeful inaccuracy in front of goal as they squandered chance after chance before being badly overrun by the Tigers in a hefty qualifying final loss.
The Lions were up by 12 points at the first break, but kicked 2.8 over the next two quarters to Richmond’s 11.4 in a disappointing first finals performance since 2009.
Dustin Martin was unstoppable playing up forward, snagging six goals, while Dion Prestia starred in the middle with 32 disposals, 19 contested possessions and ten tackles.
First semi-final: Geelong Cats 13.10 (88) def. West Coast Eagles 10.8 (68)
7:50pm (AEST), Friday, September 13, MCG
Geelong defied those critics who said they would exit the finals in straight sets on a Friday night at the MCG, rushing out to an early advantage with five goals to one in the first quarter.
However, West Coast gradually worked their way back into the game from there, and retook the lead during the third quarter. They entered the final term in front, but saw Geelong kick four goals to none to run away with the win.
Joel Selwood wound back the clock with 26 disposals and a goal to inspire his team to victory. Tom Hawkins kicked four goals for Geelong, Esava Rautgolea had three.
Second semi-final: Brisbane Lions 11.18 (80) def. by GWS Giants 12.11 (83)
7:25pm (AEST), Saturday, September 14, The Gabba
The GWS Giants were able to snatch a daring three-point win to move into the preliminary final in a match that could be remembered as the best of the finals series.
Brisbane were once again left to rue their inaccuracy, recording two more scoring shots than their opponents but falling short by three points.
Toby Greene had 30 disposals and two goals for the Giants, but was cited by the MRO for the second time in two weeks, for making unreasonable contact to Lachie Neale’s eye.
Second preliminary final: Richmond Tigers 12.13 (85) def. Geelong Cats 9.12 (66)
7:50pm (AEST), Friday, September 20, MCG
The Richmond Tigers booked in their second grand final in three years after a remarkable come-from-behind victory in a Friday night preliminary final.
The Tigers trailed the Geelong Cats by 21 points at the main break, but kicked five goals to one in the third quarter to wrest back the lead and hold on for the win.
High-priced recruit Tom Lynch proved to be the difference-maker, kicking five goals on the night to keep Richmond within striking distance and then help them over the line.
First preliminary final: Collingwood Magpies 7.10 (52) def. by GWS Giants 8.8 (56)
4:35pm (AEST), Saturday, September 21, MCG
Greater Western Sydney made it to their first grand final appearance in club history after a thrilling four-point victory over Collingwood.
In a wet, low-scoring affair, it was a five-goal to zero third quarter that made all the difference for the visitors.
Jeremy Cameron’s third goal in the early stages of the final quarter put the Giants up by 32 points and had the game seemingly wrapped up, before Collingwood mounted a furious comeback to trim the margin to four points.
GWS held firm in the final minutes, however, to preserve the four-point win.
Richmond claimed their second premiership in three seasons, crushing the GWS Giants by 89 points in a very one-sided affair. Jeremy Cameron kicked the first goal of the game for GWS, but the Tigers slammed on 12 unanswered goals to kill the contest well before the end of the third quarter.
Dustin Martin won the Norm Smith medal for best on ground with a 22-disposal, four-goal effort.