So the regular season wrapped nearly two weeks ago and there was no AFL footy played last week. There was a legends game, and there was also a women's match as the AFL seems interested in putting together a women's league.
The AFL playoff sides took a week off, so your humble correspondent also chose to take a Labor Day vacation.
That's something I don't understand. Eight teams bust their tails in order to make the playoffs, and there is a premium places on finishing in the top four because in the 1-4 and 2-3 opening round matchup has the payout of a rest week to the winner. But now everyone gets a week off. Even North Melbourne, which lost their last four matches but made the eight anyhow.
Elsewhere, briefly, Fremantle star Matthew Pavlich retired at the end of the home-and-away season after 353 games. It was a pretty gloomy year for the Dockers, who had enjoyed a lot of success recently. But their win over the Western Bulldogs (who made the eight) was a nice way to end the season and to honor a great player. Matty Pavs seems like a decent sort and it sounds like he's ready to face some new life challenges now that his footy career has wrapped.
Now on to the eight. These all seem like really good matches, and I have the DVR set to record all four.
(7) Western Bulldogs is at (6) West Coast Eagles. WCE was thought to not be a contender, then they played so well vs. Adelaide.
(2) Geelong plays (3) Hawthorn. Great. your reward for playing strong footy at the end of the season is getting to play the three-time reigning premiers. And at the MCG instead of at your home grounds.
(1) Sydney is at home vs. (4) GWS. This game is being played at ANZ (pronounced A-N-ZED) Stadium, instead of Sydney's home, the Sydney Cricket Ground, or at Spotless Stadium, home of the Giants. A nice intra-city squabble here. ANZ Stadium was where Hawaii played (American) college football against California a few weeks ago. I've got another blog post on college football Down Under.
The final game of the weekend is (5) Adelaide at home vs. (8) North Melbourne. The Crows laid an egg against West Coast to close the season, when they had a top four seed to play for. The Kangaroos played well to start the season and closed the season poorly.
In the 1-4/2-3 games, the winner gets a bye and an extra week of rest but also the risk of rust, since they'll have played one meaningful game in 3+ weeks. The losers of those games play the winners of 5-8/6-7. The losers of the lower-seeded games are done for the season. So it starts with 8 and will be down to 6 by the end of the weekend, then four, then two then, well, I think you get the idea.
Looking forward to it. Play on!