Taber Talk, Week No. 2 – Are Crows and Pies staring at ‘straight sets’?
Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 13, 2012
A week’s a long time in football. However, who could forget Mr Taber’s call in this column last week, when he controversially predicted, “This could be the year where a team comes from below 4th to win the flag. I’ll make an early call and back in the Cats to make it four flags in 6 years!”
It was a big and ultimately, errant call. Controversially, in this week’s column, the hard hitting and opinionated Mr Taber has made no mention of him getting the biggest call of the 2012 AFL Finals… wrong.
Nevertheless, Mr Taber did pick three of the four winners last weekend and, so far, that gives him a record of 75 per cent. And, if you get 75 per cent of the score on Grand Final Day, you get to keep the silverware and your place in history.
Over to Mr Taber and Batman…
Week one of the AFL finals series almost had it all! Can we top up this week with a nail-biting finish?
In the flurry of feathers on Friday night, it took until deep into the first quarter before the Hawks registered the first goal! Up until then it was like an episode of Batman with plenty of SLAM! BIFF! KAPOW! The tagging, tackling and harassment meant finding space with the Sherrin was rare for all combatants.
I love it when umpires let the boys play instead of paying early free kicks to gain control. So it almost became a free-for-all! Titan Tarrant took on Brutal Buddy in their version of World Championship Wrestling. Cloke took off like Superman attempting a confidence boosting screamer! He missed it, but delivered lots to the scoreboard later on.
Surprisingly, on Saturday morning after the Hawks win, most of our poll voters still favoured the Cats (31.8%) to win the premiership. Sadly, for some, it won’t happen!
And before I get off AFL officialdom completely, wouldn’t it be great if we could get back to common sense with the deliberate out of bounds rule?
In the other all-avian encounter, the Swans simply smothered and squeezed the life out of the Crows. Has there ever been a better example of continued intensity causing errors through perceived pressure. Tweety-Bird could have cleaned up the crumbs in the Swans defence last week as the Crows just hacked it in.
To this weekend’s spills and thrills.
Friday Night Adelaide v Fremantle
If the Crows are to bother Freo on their own perch this week they need to keep their cool and use the ball effectively. They‘ve got two key ‘talls,’ in Tippett and Walker but the midfielders need to actually deliver the ball to their advantage. The younger Crows will be better for the experience of last week, the older brigade need to show greater leadership and chances are they’ll kick more accurately at goal. They’re at home and have another great opportunity to make a prelim.
The Dockers displayed great confidence last week and never really looked like being overrun by the Cats. The Pesky Ballantyne showed fine touch as did their inspirational leader, the Mighty Pav! The hardest thing to gauge about Freo’s win was how good they were considering how poor the Cats performed? There were many unsung heroes in the purple haze last week and winning form usually stacks up. Perhaps their biggest challenge is the six day turnaround and another interstate final.
Even though Adelaide’s boom recruit, Sam Jacobs, is in all-Australian form, how will he out-reach Sandilands? Secondly, who is agile enough to keep up with Pavlich? Will it be the trusty Rutten or will they take a risk and entrust a younger defender to take up the challenge? The Crows will be very wary of another flying start by the Dockers but will be more suited to playing a team with a similar game plan.
I’m tipping this encounter to be the better of the two semi-finals with a second consecutive Dockers ‘away’ victory. A tight finish at AAMI Cauldron would be tasty.
It’s hard to see how the Pies can turn their form around enough to trouble that other very confident team from the West! Even with Reid, Krakouer, Cloke and to a lesser extent Dawes, getting back to form, the all important momentum is with the Coasters. Suspension (to the Captain mind you), injuries and a lack of cohesion suggest it will be a tale of woe again for Collingwood this week. Their usual systematic transition from defence to attack has dissipated. Swan, Jolly and Pendlebury can match it against Kerr, Priddis and Shuey but West Coast get a huge advantage being led by the best ruck combination in the land. It’s a key part of this final as is the form of Cloke. He will kick another ‘bag’ if the footy comes in hard, high and often.
West Coast do look the goods though. They have a robust, taller and more athletic forward line especially now the “Q-stick” will play. Their confidence must be sky-high as everyone contributed to their massive win last week. Their defence has also been rock solid, led by Glass and Hurn, and they also have a pair of Selwood taggers .
Cloke and Krakouer may cut loose for awhile and I’d love to see more magic from the Alan Didak of old and Daisy Thomas. But the stars seem to be aligned out West and again I think the Coast will deliver the goods.
So will it be out in ‘straight sets’ for the Pies and Crows? I think so, even though recent history suggests otherwise. In the past 11 years only two teams have lost their first two finals and taken the hasty exit. I’m ignoring history and going with form.
Crows and Pies… Exit stage left!
FOOTNOTE: To Adelaide Crows Supporters at AAMI Stadium last week. Learn to appreciate true champions of our game ala Adam Goodes.! It’s un-Australian to boo at these times. Enjoy them plying their craft even if they are wearing opposition colors!
Now, over to the Polldaddy: