AFL 2022 – Qualifying & Elimination Finals

A photo of the official Sherrin Football for the 2022 AFL Toyota Finals Series
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Published on 4 Sep 2022 9:32 am (UK Time)

Qualifying Finals

Max Holmes (pictured below) kicked the deciding goal as Geelong made it 14 consecutive victories by defeating Collingwood, in a thriller, before a monster crowd of 91,525 at the MCG.

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Despite being behind at every change, the minor premiers were ahead when it mattered and shook off their week one finals hoodoo which dates back to 2016.

With just two minutes remaining the scores were level and, at that point, you would probably have fancied the Magpies to go on and do it with the club having set a new AFL/VFL record this season – winning nine matches by just a single figure margin.

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It made for an unbelievably tense finish, played in a deafening atmosphere, which culminated in the Cats working the ball down the left where the 20-year-old midfielder latched on to Gary Rohan’s pass and put it through the big sticks.

Talking to the media, post-match, coach Chris Scott (pictured below) said “I thought that it was a scrappy game, high pressure, what you would expect of a final. That pressure and the scoreboard made it really difficult to execute. I don’t think either team hit any great heights in terms of the way they played but they both played with some heart.”

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On what he said in the huddle at three quarter-time, he responded “We were really clear on what it is we need to do here; let’s get our priorities straight and if we execute those things, good things will happen. Obviously there are some specifics around it, the pressure and a whole lot on the line, but it was similar to most home and away games.”

Disappointment for the Pies but they will need to pick themselves up quickly, getting second bite of the cherry, ahead of facing Fremantle next Saturday night.

Sydney produced a scintillating performance as they overcame a slowish start and then went on to knock over reigning Premiers Melbourne on their home deck.

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Their relentless and high-pressure style paying dividends as they came out on top and now set themselves up for their first preliminary final at the SCG since 1996.

Whilst some of the key players didn’t have their best nights, it was the even contribution from across the board, which included ten different goalkickers, from all the Swans squad that particularly impressed and pleased coach John Longmire.

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In an on-ground, after the siren, interview for Channel 7, co-captain Luke Parker (pictured above) said “We are delighted. Come down here for a big game. Great in front of this crowd and 78,000 and getting the job done against an incredible side and it was an arm wrestle and that is exciting. I’m so proud of these boys.”

Team-mate Tom Papley added “I am struggling but that was amazing. If you look at the Swans over the years, a couple of those efforts, that is what the Bloods are about! We defend to the death and the boys were unbelievable today.”

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A dirty evening for the Demons, compounded by star midfielder Christian Petracca being hampered with a calf issue and, what was confirmed following scans, a minor hairline fracture in his fibula which he picked up early on in the encounter.

The Dees will be sweating to see how he pulls up, in the coming days, as they now go into a cut throat semi-final against Brisbane which will take place next Friday.

Results

Melbourne 10.9 (69)
Sydney 14.7 (91)

Geelong 11.12 (78)
Collingwood 10.12 (72)

Elimination Finals

Joe Daniher (pictured below) was the hero, scoring a dramatic last gasp winner, as Brisbane edged Richmond in an exhilarating shootout-style clash before a sold-out Gabba.

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In what will go down as one for the ages, as well as a glowing advert for the AFL brand, this was a real see-saw affair in which the lead changed on 17 occasions.

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It didn’t come without its controversy, either, as it looked like the Tigers had sealed their place. Tom Lynch’s angled effort was originally awarded a goal, by the umpire, only for it to be overturned by ARC that indicated it had flicked the post.

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A lack of celebration by the forward, at such a crucial stage (just two minutes remaining), probably cast some doubt on the decision and therefore to review it.

In the aftermath, the AFL issued a statement, which read “The ARC reviewed all the camera angles and it is viewed as a definitive behind. The correct call was made.”

That incident gave the Lions a reprieve and they took full advantage, in what proved to be a frantic finale, by going down the other end to score and get over the line.

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Speaking in the rooms to Lions TV, key midfielder Lache Neale (pictured above) said “That’s probably the craziest game I have played in I reckon. Felt like the margin didn’t get above ten points all game – it was goal for goal. We have had our fair share of heartbreaks in those games so to be on the other end of it is a great feeling.”

On the atmosphere, he replied “The noise tonight was unbelievable; I couldn’t hear any decision the umpire was making. The energy was unreal out there so thank you very much to our fans.”

Joining them in the semi-finals will be Fremantle, who recovered from a horrendous opening and then made an incredible comeback to see of the Western Bulldogs.

Playing their first final since 2015, the Dockers got off to an absolute shocker as they were complete overran early and trailed by 41 points at one stage in the second.

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However, roared on by their biggest ever home crowd of 58,982, they slowly managed to wrestle back some momentum and work their way into it.

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Midfielders Caleb Serong (pictured above, left) (33 disposals, 17 handballs and game-high 10 clearances) and Andrew Brayshaw (pictured above, right) (32 disposals, ten marks and six inside 50s) were the catalysts, in the turnaround, while forward Michael Walters scored three majors.

The West Australian outfit kicked the last 11 of the 13 goals of the match as they eliminated the Doggies, last year’s Grand Finalists, that simply had no answers.

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Speaking in the presser, coach Justin Longmuir (pictured above) beamed “It’s pretty special. To do what we did tonight, it takes a lot of belief, it takes maturity and it takes a fair bit of guts really. We’ve been working on our mental skills for three years since I got here, and it’s for moments like this where you feel like you’re done but you stick to the task and you try to claw your way back into it.”

He continued “I’m so proud of the players. You don’t come back from 41 points down without belief already there, so they’ve got a lot of belief in our footy.”

Results

Brisbane 16.10 (106)
Richmond 16.8 (104)

Fremantle 11.7 (73)
Western Bulldogs 8.12 (60)

AFL finals: Week 2 fixtures – Semi-Finals

Friday 9 September – Melbourne v Brisbane @ MCG (7.20pm AEST)
Saturday 10 September – Collingwood v Fremantle @ MCG (7.25pm AEST)

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