AFL 2022 – Semi-Finals

A photo of the official Sherrin Football for the 2022 AFL Toyota Finals Series
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Published on 11 Sep 2022 9:00 pm (UK Time)

Brisbane advanced to a Preliminary Final date with Geelong, next Friday night, after producing a fantastic second half display to upset Melbourne at the MCG.

Given that they hadn’t won at the venue since 2014, have a pretty poor record in finals and were on the wrong end of two heavy defeats against the Dees (64 & 58 points), during the home-and away season, not many people gave them a chance.

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A day before the game, they were also dealt a blow when last week’s match winner Joe Daniher had to fly back home to be with his wife as she was going into labour.

It was looking like a similar pattern against the Demons who were well on top during the first half and should have been further ahead given their dominance.

However, whilst questions will be asked about the reigning premiers, as they go out in straight sets, about their fade outs late in matches and the decision to play key midfielder Christian Petracca (pictured below), despite the fact that he was carrying a calf injury and also had a fractured fibula, that shouldn’t take anything away from the Lions.

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They roared into the third, really upped their pressure which caused a huge shift in momentum and got themselves back into it; the scores level heading into final term.

With the contest on the line they continued to have the better of it and, despite a brief fightback from the Dees, went on to run out worthy winners; they recorded a season-high pressure rating of 201 and it was their biggest ever comeback victory in a final.

One key factor in the turnaround was the decision to have Jarrod Berry tag Clayton Oliver and he did a great job nullifying the impact of the All-Australian midfielder.

However, there was an unsavoury incident, in the third quarter, during which he appeared to gauge the eye region. Commenting on the incident to Fox Footy, he said “Nothing purposeful, just a little scuffle in the centre of the MCG, you know how it is. It’s just part of the contest and just part of the mental battle.”

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Unfortunately for Berry, the MRO took a very different view and has given him a one-match ban for making “unreasonable or unnecessary contact to the eye region”; it is something, though, that they club look likely to appeal and head to the tribunal.

What a whirlwind start it has been to the career of Darcy Wilmot – the young defender, Pick 16 in the 2021 National Draft who came through at the Northern Knights and Vic Metro, making only his second senior appearance for the Queenslanders; both times have been in finals and coming out on the winning side.

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Speaking, post-match, to the media, the delighted 18-year-old (pictured above) said “It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life. To have it with the bunch of boys you work so hard with, it just means everything to us, the fans and our football club. It’s absolutely unreal. I can’t put it into words.”

He went on “I just wanted to get out there and play footy. I love playing footy, so getting to play at the highest level was always my dream. It is my personality not to shy away and keep it simple. I knew what I had to do and just kept to it. The crowd were unreal. I absolutely loved the atmosphere. You couldn’t dream about it.”

Joining them in the Prelims will be Collingwood who produced a dominant performance as they saw off the challenge of Fremantle at a sold-out MCG.

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In honour of the passing of HRH Queen Elizabeth II (1926 – 2022), an impeccable one minute silence was observed by the crowd of 90,163; the attendance breaking the record for the biggest week two crowd of all-time featuring a non-Victorian side.

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The eventual 20-point scoreline should have been greater but the Magpies’ inability to take their opportunities, highlighted by them scoring nine behinds in a row, meant that whilst they were always in control, they were never really able to kill it off.

This is something that they will need to rectify as next up is a trip to the SCG where they will face Sydney who beat them, just a month ago, back in Round 22.

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The Dockers, for whom 37-year-old veteran David Munday (376 appearances, 161 goals) played his last match and was chaired off the oval to a huge ovation, after deciding to hang up the boots, were never really in it or able to get their game going.

Aside of some inaccuracy, the Pies were absolute magnificent in imposing their exciting brand, playing through the corridor, whilst stifling the opposition with Scott Pendlebury (24 disposals and 16 handballs) putting in a real captain’s role.

Mason Cox (pictured below) became the first player in AFL/VFL history to kick both their first and 100th career goals in front of crowds of over 80,000 people at this venue.

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The result continues what has already been a remarkable campaign when you consider that just 12 months ago the club had finished 17th on the ladder.

The turnaround under coach Craig McRae, in his first year in charge, is nothing short of unbelievable and his squad are now just one match away from being in a Granny.

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Speaking on ground to Channel 7, midfielder Jack Crisp said “It is a pretty surreal feeling. Just great, great game of football. We actually played pretty good for the four quarters, so it was really good to see. They did put up a challenge in the last quarter which we knew they would, but we were able to slow it down a bit and finish with a couple of goals ourselves.”

He added “It’s not very often I kick two goals. I’m pretty happy. I think yesterday or two days ago at training I missed eight in a row from the same spot at training and funnily enough today I kick my two.”

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Defender Darcy Moore (pictured above) said “My god, it was unreal. A young group, a lot of guys haven’t played a lot of finals, and we were able to come out and completely controlled the game and squeeze the life out of Fremantle. So proud of the guys, on this crazy journey, the fans are on the journey with us. You can hear how excited they are. It is a special season.”

Results

Melbourne 11.13 (79)
Brisbane 14.8 (92)

Collingwood 11.13 (79)
Fremantle 9.5 (59)

AFL finals: Week 3 fixtures – Preliminary Finals

Friday 16 September – Geelong v Brisbane @ MCG (7.50pm AEST)
Saturday 17 September – Sydney v Collingwood @ SCG (4.45pm AEST)

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