A complicated look at uncomplicated topics to ameliorate your day.
With too many accredited media and too much coverage of the AFL from Sunday to Sunday, surprisingly a simplistic formula to playing and winning finals is seldom found. Modern football has evolved with every permutation analysed and most moments dissected. In an effort to simplify, here is a modern day guide to winning the big finals.
There is no getting around it, you need to have the cattle to get it done late in September. Talent covers both players and coaching staff. The best players on the better teams invariably will be heavily involved later in the AFL finals. Enough talented players in the right age bracket of 24-28 years old will cement your side as a finals contender. A grand master coach can never be underestimated because when it comes down to it you need to win 3 big finals to claim premiership glory.
Hawthorn, Geelong, Sydney and Fremantle.
Perhaps underestimated in the modern game but recent form will have a profound impact in a finals series. With the professionalism in contemporary footy at a peak, no one team can afford a form slump late in the season. There have been supreme teams go through the first few months of a season in fine fettle only to be claimed in a big game at the G in September. The last month of the season and during the finals require the absolute finest for a flag to be attained.
Hawthorn and Fremantle.
This may be the widest category but it can alter the balance in your teams favour. A sneaky toe poke from a great of the game or a blessed run without key injuries can tip the scales just enough to be victorious. A finals draw that ‘opens up’ or one bounce of the ball can be the intangible that adds that extra 1% to your pursuit for a premiership.
Who ticks all the boxes?
A prodigious forward line that boasts Franklin, Roughead, Gunston and Breust. A flexible midfield with their superstars Mitchell and Hodge complimented by Smith, Sewell and Lewis. The backline is now stocked with Lake joining Gibson in the key posts with Birchall and Guerra assuming the kicking duties with their elite foot skills. Whitecross and Hale may prove to be X-Factors in a big game in September.
The Hawks have been practically unstoppable this season, unless your name is Geelong. The Hawks have only been beaten by the Cats twice and Richmond once. A strong finish to the season and key players returning sees the Hawks in the box seat. Sewell has returned to his best later in the season and Hodge, Mitchell and Franklin all fit and firing makes the Hawks a scary proposition.
A home preliminary final suggests that a Grand Final spot is very likely. The speed hump, however, may be Geelong. A tantalising preliminary final seems likely which would restart all the talk about the Kennett Curse. The bookies tend to agree and only a tricky match up with the Cats or an off day would see the Hawks without the premiership cup this season.