AFL

SEASON ENDING LIKE A FINE WINES 

Well, there we have it the Brownlow has been won for another year. I would like to pass on a huge congratulations to Ollie Wines from Port Adelaide for winning the award and equaling Dusty Martin’s record from 2017 for most votes in a season. Also to the top four by creating history and all polling over 30 votes proving this has been the most competitive season in recent memory and we can only hope for more of the same moving forward given the age of those who were in contention. 

Ollie Wines has won the Brownlow Medal as the AFL’s best and fairest player for the 2021 season. Credit: AAP

But now on to the main part of the week, the biggest game of the year, the game every player has dreamed of playing in since they were children, the Grand Final. What a game we have this year, arguably the 2 best teams from the regular season in the Melbourne Demons and the Western bulldogs. The Demons won the minor premiership on a kick after the siren in the final round while the Bulldogs lost their last 3 to drop out of the top 4. 

These 2 teams have played each other twice this season and each team has a win. They first met in round 11 at Marvel Stadium with Melbourne winning 87 to 59, while in the return fixture in round 19 the Bulldogs got the win 85 to 65 at the MCG. So, in a way this fixture is the double decider for the season between the Dee’s and the Dog’s as they do battle in the west for the flag. 

Louis Butler of the Bulldogs is tackled by James Jordan of the Demons. Picture: Quinn Rooney

As everyone is aware of unless you have been living under a rock, this year’s Grand Final similarly to last year’s decider will take place away from the MCG again this year. Which, while its hard on the Victorian based supporters of both teams not being able to attend the game, for me, I feel more so for the Melbourne supporters as this is their first appearance in the Grand Final since 2000 when they were defeated by Essendon and are chasing a first flag since 1964. 

On the other hand, the Bulldogs played in their most recent grand final in 2016 in very familiar circumstances. Obviously, I’m not talking about playing the game away from the MCG I am talking about the fact that in that Grand Final they came from outside the top 4 to play the minor premiers in the grand final and as they say the rest is history. 

Now no matter who wins they will be creating history. The Dog’s will be in the midst of undoubtedly their most successful period in club history. Or we have the Dee’s breaking the longest current premiership drought in football and can take another step towards erasing the memories most supporters of them have from the last 10-15 years, bar 2018 when they made the preliminary final only to have their pants pulled down by that year’s premier’s the West Coast Eagles. 

I also feel I should touch on how big of an occasion this is for Western Australia and Perth to be hosting the grand final. It has been so special seeing all the smiles in the images over social media from the cup tour around W.A. that is not the biggest thing for the footy community over there though. I feel the biggest thing will be seeing through the images and videos coming out of Perth showing how the fans of the teams are embracing the occasion even though the 2 teams from over there aren’t playing and didn’t qualify for the finals. 

Picture: AFL Photos

You also have the now even bigger pre-game and half-time entertainment which will be on a grander stage given the twilight first bounce meaning it will be less sunlight and more of a lightshow to accompany a real W.A feel in the lineup of performers of Eskimo Joe, John Butler and Abbe May among others. The main attraction besides the game will be Birds of Tokyo. I feel like the AFL have been on the right path recently with the choices for entertainment on Grand Final day in recent years. The major point to that is looking at more local performers instead of all those overseas “BIG ACT’S” for example the worst entertainment ever in the history of the Grand Final from 2011 with Meatloaf. 

But now back to the game talk. Although I have spoken a little bit about the entertainment that is planned for the evening I hope no matter what it is like the game is the true entertainment for the event. I sincerely hope that the game does not end up like the preliminary finals and is over by quarter time. Now I understand as a supporter you would much rather the game be over earlyish but for me as an impartial fan watching the game, I want it to come down to the last 5 minutes. I don’t even care if its low scoring like the grand final from 2005 which for me is one of the best I can remember watching.  

I feel like we are in for an absolute treat with this game and I feel like we could be in for something that a script writer for films would be proud of. That isn’t a guarantee unfortunately but I feel like it could be odds on to happen. But as I said early in this article, all the attention now moves to the rest of the week and more importantly the naming of the squads on Thursday. When unfortunately given the players on both sides who won’t be selected, be that through injury or just being a squad player there will be hard luck stories. 

Josh Bruce will miss the rest of the Western Bulldogs’ AFL season with an ACL injury. Credit: AAP

Unfortunately, that is something that has become somewhat of a newer Grand Final tradition. I for one feel immensely for Josh Bruce from the Bulldog’s who prior to joining them played for my team St Kilda. He will miss the game after suffering an ACL injury in round 21 with only seconds left in the game. Now he won’t be the only hard luck story from this year’s game as you only have to look at Melbourne’s veteran Nathan Jones who has announced his retirement after the season. He has given so much blood sweat and tears for the club but can most defiantly be considered a highly integral part of getting the flag should they win the big game. 

Nathan Jones celebrates a goal against Geelong on Friday that marked a line in the sand for Melbourne. Photograph: Julian Smith/AAP

Now as I stated earlier with the teams not being announced till later in the week, I won’t be able to give my proper prediction for a few days but if you go checkout my bio and follow the link to my YouTube channel on Friday, I will have a brand-new video giving not only my grand final prediction but my first goal scorer and who I feel will play a career game and win the Norm Smith medal. 

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