And then there were four.
Western Bulldogs beat Hawthorn and did so comfortably. In the early stages, the Hawks played like the three-time defending premiers they are, but the Bulldogs came back strongly and wound up winning by 23 points. The Hawks lost to Geelong last week and to WB this week, sending them out of the postseason despite having the double chance to move on.
This was a rematch of the round 3 matchup I watched earlier in the season, that Hawthorn won by three points. It was also the game where Bulldog captain Robert Murphy blew his knee out in the latter stages of the game. I remember talk back then that the Dogs were premiership favorites, and thinking they would have trouble without Murphy. But now they're into the preliminary final against GWS, a side in only their fifth year of existence. Interesting factoid-- I talked about St. Kilda champion Lenny Hayes a month or so ago, and found out he's an assistant with GWS.
Interesting that this match is being played at 24,000-seat Spotless Stadium, home of the GWS Giants. League semifinals should probably be played in buildings that hold more than that number. It just seems like a larger number of fans would be interested in seeing this game, especially since Western is looking for a chance to play in their first Grand Final since 1961. That kind of makes me want to root for them-- their fans have paid the price to be supporters of the team, whereas the Giants are the new kids on the block. I won't actually back one side or the other since it's a kiss of death for the team I choose.
In the other semifinal, Sydney scored 45 first-quarter points and withstood serious pressure from Adelaide in the middle two quarters to win by 36 points. The Swans move on to play Geelong in the other matchup in the round of four at the MCG.
So of the top four teams, top-seed Sydney, second-place side Geelong and number four GWS are still alive, as is the #7 seed Western Bulldogs.