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AFL Football Finals for Dummies

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by Clay Steele (subscribe)
Insouciant bon-vivant and erstwhile troubadour prone to verbose verbiage.
Event: -
The September Silly Season Starts Soon
If you're in Melbourne for September you will get to observe the most significant religious festival in the city's calendar. The AFL is playing their finals over the next four weekends, culminating in the Grand Final on Saturday September 28 at the MCG. It's kind of like the FA Cup or Superbowl but with a much smaller television audience and less rioting.

If you don't know anything about the game, fear not ye as I have summarised the entire thing for you below. I haven't endeavoued to explain the finals system as I failed fractions at school. Also refer to my earlier article on how to pick your AFL team (although a lot of those teams are not playing any more this year because they're crap).

AFL Match
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia featuring two teams not playing in the 2012 finals. You get what you pay for really.

1st Hawthorn
Finished on top and have two of the most dynamic players in recent memory playing for them - Lance "Buddy" Franklin and Cyril Rioli. Hawthorn is definitely the horse to back and have been favourites all year. Most of their players also moonlight as underwear models due not so much to their good looks but more their inability to dress themselves. Playing Collingwood in the first week on Friday night at the MCG. Don't bother trying to get a ticket.

2nd Adelaide
Had a very successful year under a new coach but question marks remain as they apparently "have not beaten anybody". I think the fact that they have managed to finish second on the ladder without winning a single game makes their season even more remarkable. Playing Sydney on Saturday afternoon in Adelaide.

3rd Sydney
No one gave Sydney a chance at the start of the year, then they gave them a bit of a chance later on, but now that they have lost their last two games no one gives them a chance again. Given they haven't yet been eliminated from the finals they are actually a chance.

4th Collingwood
Whoever doesn't barrack for Collingwood will be barracking for Hawthorn this week, mainly because no one likes Collingwood. Given the 'Woods have been playing even worse than Sydney in the past month, this means that Collingwood supporters don't like them much either. They have even less of a chance than Sydney, who no one really gives a chance to even though they actually have a chance.

5th West Coast
West Coast have had a lot of injuries this year so hopefully they have private health insurance. They have been "competitive" in Melbourne this year which means they have lost a lot of games in Melbourne. West Coast plays North Melbourne on Sunday afternoon in Perth, the loser of this game is out and the winner plays the loser of Hawthorn and Collingwood. Some reward!

6th Geelong
The reigning champions from last year who everyone rates as a chance to win again - even though they didn't finish as high on the ladder as the other teams that they don't give a chance. If they lose on Saturday night against Fremantle their season is over but they have elected not to challenge the suspension of star Steve Johnson and to rest another star in Travis Varcoe for another week. If they lose on Saturday he'll get a very long rest indeed.

7th Fremantle
Last year they stole St Kilda's coach and this year hope to achieve everything that St Kilda achieved under his guidance. That means they hope to lose two grand finals. Everyone's pretty much assuming they'll lose this week so their best chance is to be really quiet and hopefully Geelong will forget they're there and not turn up. The winner of their game against Geelong gets to play the loser of Adelaide and Sydney.

8th North Melbourne
The poorest side in the competition in terms of GDP, this side should thrive on their underdog status up until the point that they realise they're the underdogs because the other sides are better than them. If they were competing in the Olympics they would play up the New Zealand angle of "most medals per capita", even though Grenada probably has them covered.
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Why? Because everyone else is doing it. Conform damn you!
When: September 7 - 28
Where: MCG
Cost: Excessive if attending, free on the telly
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