Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 22, 2011
Thursday’s Taber Talk returns with Daryl “DT” Taber to tell us what’ll happen this weekend in Week 3, Preliminary Finals’ Week, of the AFL’s 2011 Finals’ Series.
“Top Four left to fight for the spoils”: D. Taber, 22 Sept, 2011.
[ Ed's note. Do you agree or disagree with DT? Post a comment below! ]
It just keeps getting better! What a fantastic finish to the Eagles v Blues semi-final last week! Ever the optimist, I think there’s more to come.
We’ve enjoyed six finals in the last two weeks and, quite predictably, we are left with the top four teams after the home and away games. The McIntyre Final 8 system certainly favours the teams finishing higher on the ladder and rightly so. It’s a tough gig playing 3 finals in 3 weeks so on that basis it’s hard to go past a Pies v Cats fight for the flag, with the Cats still firming as favourites. If so, it will be worth the wait.
COLLINGWOOD V HAWTHORN. Friday Night, MCG
The Pies biggest concern is still the lack of time their best team have had playing together in recent months. I think they will improve on what they do this week and may even need until after half-time to over-run the Hawks. Their finish a fortnight ago was unconvincing with the Eagles kicking the first three goals of the final quarter to narrow a 26-point deficit to seven. However it was the number of tall Eagles forwards that troubled Collingwood. Without big Roughy running round for the Hawks, Buddy is a one-man band and will get plenty of attention from Pie defenders out to spoil his party.
The midfield battle will be a ripper. The Pies have Thomas, Swan, Pendlebury, Ball, Davis, Shaw and Wellingham up against the likes of Mitchell, Hodge, Sewell Rioli, Burgoyne, Osborne and Lewis. Collingwood look the better outfit here. Travis Cloke and Chris Dawes have the key roles up forward for Collingwood. Both have been a little quiet in their past outings but the Hawks defence struggles against taller, quality forwards and these two are due. Unless we see the very best of Cyril, Buddy and Burgoyne the Pies will get the job done.
GEELONG V WEST COAST. Saturday Afternoon, MCG
These two sides have heaps of quality, tall marking forwards and a group of solid midfielders in form. Interestingly three of the four Selwood brothers will feature in this preliminary final and quite likely will spend time playing on each other, just like the old days in the backyard in Bendigo.
It will be on for young and old in the ruck with Cox and Naitanui taking on Ottens and West. There is no obvious winner here but certainly the Cats defence is better than West Coasts. They play a more attacking style when they gather the pill and spread. They have a few options to replace young Menzel who has kicked 7 goals in his past 5 quarters of footy. Will it be the veteran Cam Mooney that is selected?
It’s the second trip to the ‘G for West Coast in two weeks and this will take a heavy toll on bodies that have had to endure two tough games in a fortnight. West Coast don’t get to the MCG often but in finals the Eagles have a 4-0 record against the Cats including the 1992 and1994 deciders. Win or lose it’s been a super effort from the Coasters coming from bottom rung last year.
The Cats will run right away with this one in the second half to set up a grand final between the best two teams this year. That’ll be 1 versus 2.
Around the Grounds
Collingwood midfield coach Mark Neeld (who visited Vietnam last year and met up with Trav Fennell) has been immediately released from duties to protect the Pies intellectual property now that he is senior coach of Melbourne. BTW is there such a thing as intellectual property at Collingwood?
Three new ‘green’ coaches appointed in just four days.
Avid Saints fan Shane Warne ranted on The Footy Show he was sick and tired of Ross Lyon’s boring defensive style of coaching. With the playing talent at St Kilda he wanted to see more attacking play. Is the premiership window closing for the Saints or will the new coach have a final fling at the title with their mature group ala Geelong this year?
The four Selwood brothers all occupy leadership positions at their clubs- Geelong, West Coast and Brisbane.
It’s Time! Time to Tell Taber.