I'm a copywriter and freelance writer living in Melbourne.
My novel, Another New York Murder, is available online.
It's September and that Means Just One Thing
All sports have their championship season, the playoffs, finals, semis, quarters, penant, call it what you will but in the AFL we know it simply as September. As it is upon us again I've decided to cast an eye over the eight teams playing off this year so even the unitiated can talk with authority around the water cooler.
Hawthorn: The dominant team for the last two years won 19 of 22 games this year. Two of the three losses have been to Geelong who are the Hawks' kryptonite having won the last 10 times they've met. In Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli they have two of the most electrifying talents in the game, offest with Luke Hodge and Sam Mitchell two of the more reliable. It's Cyril and Buddy's Mick and Keith to Hodge and Mitchell's Charlie and Bill. Anything less than a win in the Grand Final will see them branded chokers.
Geelong: Everyone loves the way Geelong plays and the dominant team for the last decade looks set to be hard to beat again. They won the flag in 07,09,11 so if you're a fan of alternate numerical theory then they're a good thing again. As for me, living with a Cats fan and fighting a losing battle to bring my son to the dark (navy blue) side, my admiration for their consistency has well and truly worn off. They've also been gifted a home grand advantage equivalent to Essendon playing in a pharmacy, with the first ever final in Geelong.
Fremantle: Changed coaches two years ago with a precision that would have made Bill Shorten shiver but the results have spoken for themselves. In reality they're probably the third or fourth best team but are never easy opposition. As ever, we'll be hoping they lose so as to spare us from their staggeringly bad theme song.
Sydney: The "Bloods" as we all know and love them are the reigning premiers and the ageing champ in this field. Still imposing and renowned for their practice of football Moneyball long before Brad Pitt took to the screen. The recycled players on their list form a formidable backbone, proving that second chances bring out the best in all of us. They are probably a better side than they were last year but whether they have improved more than Hawthorn, Fremantle and Geelong remains to be seen.
This awaits one team on September 28. Courtesy afl.com.au
Richmond: The empire of the Seventies has been in smithereens since, appearing in finals as sporadically as Stanley Kubrick films. The last three times they've appeared is 2001, 1995, and 1982. But the fans have stuck fat and they will be out in force against their oldest foe in Carlton. They've done everything right this year which is a welcome change from the previous thirty. Even the most ardent Richmond hater gets a tingle when the tiger army belts out the "Yellow and Black".
Richmond make their first finals appearance since 2001. Courtesy afl.com.au
Collingwood: Traditional rival, hated adversary, vilified outsider, tragic foe, all of these things and more are applied to Collingwood, the self- proclaimed biggest sporting team in the world. No stranger to the hubris stick across their behind, the Magpies have made more grand finals than any other team and they've lost most of them. Led by a coach and captain who take the game probably a little too seriously, their best is as good as anyone's but their worst is mediocre.
Port Adelaide: The feel good story of the year. Won the first five games of the year and haven't looked back. A basket case last year and then a laughing stock when Sunrise host David Koch took over as chairman, they now have rival teams offering their presidencies to Karl Stevanovic. Some stirring come from behind victories made them everyone's second side and a stellar second half of the year where they defied everyone's belief that they would fall by the wayside legitimise their right to be here.
Carlton: Fallen into the eight on the back of Essendon's disqualification and a stirring come from behind victory last week. They beat Richmond two weeks ago and have won 10 of the last 11 against them. They say the best writing is done in prison well here I am in a prison of my devotion to the Carlton football club, incarcerated by the delusion that a power era is soon upon us, tickled by the golden hues of another false dawn breaking through my cell window.
The AFL Finals schedule for week 1 is as follows:
Friday Sep 6:
Hawthorn v Sydney MCG 750 EST
Saturday Sep 7: Geelong v Fremantle Simonds Stadium, Geelong 220 EST
Collingwood v Port Adelaide MCG 745 EST
Sunday Sep 8: Richmond v Carlton MCG 320 EST
All matches are broadcast on Channel 7 in Melbourne. Check local guides.