September 06, 2011

Horse 1227 - That One Day In September... in October

I can safely say that the 2011 AFL season has probably been the least remarkable season I have seen in a long time.
If you look through the playing rosters for both the top two of Collingwood and Geelong, there aren't any real standouts; that I think has been the biggest fundamental shift in the game generally over the past five years. You have to go back to 2006 before you find a Grand Final which didn't have either Collingwood or Geelong; so that must indicate something.
I think that what this season has proved more than any other in a while, is that when a team retains possession, they're likely to go on and win matches.

If you look through the matches for 2011, Collingwood tended score most of their points from the Half-Forward line. This is reflected in the fact that if pressed they tended to drive even further forward to score even more goals. Collingwood won most of their matches comfortably, and on 7 occasions easily broke a 10 goal margin.

Geelong on the other hand although held possession through the midfield, still had a tendency to push on to the Full-Forward line and have drives broken, only to recover the resulting counter breakout back in the midfield again. Geelong had 7 matches in 2011 which turned on less than two kicks.

Even so, Geelong's 186 thumping of Melbourne (Geelong 37.11 (233) def. Melbourne 7.5 (47)) does show that if on top, Geelong are prepared to keep on pressing to the point of utter ridiculousness.

Looking at the way the Finals Series is set up, this is how I think that September will play out:

QF1. Collingwood def. West Coast
QF2. Geelong def. Hawthorn

EF1. Carlton def. Essendon
EF2. St.Kilda def. by Sydney

SF1. Carlton def. by West Coast
SF2. Hawthorn def. by Sydney

PF1. Collingwood def. Sydney
PF2. Geelong def. West Coast

GF. Collingwood def. Geelong

Depending on what sort of start Geelong get against Collingwood on that "One Day In September" (Actually October this year), they'll find out how easily Collingwood can diffuse their Full-Forward lines. If they don't push through early, Geelong will spend the rest of the match trying to wrestle the ball in the midfield, and then find that the Pies will still be able to muster short kicks to their menacing Half-Forwards.

If in the unlikely event that either Collingwood or Geelong don't make it to the Grand Final, then the other one is very likely to smack seventeen kinds of black and blue into their opposition and we're going to see yet another one-sided final.

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