AFL 2023 – Qualifying & Elimination Finals

AFL Premiership Cup 2023

Qualifying Finals

Collingwood advanced to the Preliminary Finals after hanging on to win close one, at the expense of Melbourne in a thrilling contest, in front of 92,636 at the MCG.

The perfect present for coach Craig McRae (pictured below), soon to be celebrating his 50th birthday. His side now have the advantage of a two-week break to get ready for their next match.

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They may have to do it without influential defender Brayden Maynard as he has been sent straight to the tribunal by Match Review Officer (MRO) and Executive General Manager of Football Laura Kane.

The incident for his high contact on Angus Brayshaw, that left the player concussed, graded as careless conduct and severe impact.

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Speaking on ground to Channel 7 about it, post-match, ‘Bruzzy’ said “It was a footie act; I jumped forward to try and smoother the ball but unfortunately I just got him on the way down.”

“We’ll have to wait and see what happens but I love that guy to bits so it is shattering what happened.”

The Magpies were always in front on the scoreboard but were really tested defensively, in the last quarter, as they come under siege but were able to see it out.

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As for the Demons, they just gave themselves a bit too much to do but will be looking back at this as a real lost opportunity having won the inside 50 count by +28. The last time a team had a positive advantage like that and still lost was back in 2016.

However, there will be little time to dwell on it as they will now need to get fully focussed for next Friday night when they will face Carlton in a cut throat semi-final.

Brisbane booked their place, in a fortnight’s time, with Joe Daniher (pictured below) grabbing an equal career finals high five majors as they convincingly defeated Port Adelaide.

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Challenged in the first half, the Lions stepped it up after the main interval to show just why many people have them as favourites to win their first flag in nearly 20 years.

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The result keeps their perfect home record this season intact, also making it 50 from the last 58 matches at the Gabba.

With a guaranteed home advantage in the Prelim, it would be hard to bet against them not being there on Grand Final day.

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All-Australian forward Charlie Cameron (pictured above), making his 200th AFL appearance, weighed in with a brace of goals inside a minute. The Lions put their foot down in the third quarter, really hitting the scoreboard, and enroute to a 48-point winning margin.

Speaking post-siren to Channel 7, the 29-year-old said “It’s a special performance from the boys tonight. Power are a good side so to win through to a prelim is pretty special.”

“We got challenged in the second quarter. We started to put it on in the third quarter. But like I said, they are a quality side.”

The Power weren’t helped, on the night, losing the defensive duo of Trent McKenzie (ankle) and Dylan Williams (hamstring).

They must now pick themselves up and get ready for the visit of Greater Western Sydney to the Oval in seven days’ time.

Elimination Finals

Carlton picked up their first finals win, in over a decade, as they managed to come out on top, in a rather scrappy and error ridden affair, with victory over Sydney.

The real key to their success came in the second term when they were able to get on top, make the most of their chances and give themselves a handy lead at half-time.

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It looks to have come at a bit of a cost, though, with key player Harry McKay (pictured above) forced off with concussion, meaning that he misses next week due to protocols.

Meanwhile forward Jack Martin has been slapped with a two-match suspension, by the MRO, after catching Nick Blakey in the jaw with a swinging arm during a tackle.

The Blues supporters certainly had their nerves tested late on and were put through it as the Swans, last season’s grand finalists. They came really hard in the second half – Hayden McLean getting them within a kick with just 20 seconds left on the clock.

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Speaking in the presser, a delighted coach Michael Voss (pictured above) said “We played some really strong footy early.”

“Not only did we have some of the things we wanted in the game, we were able to restrict Sydney and their ability to put speed on the game.”

He added “That flipped in the game, so that’s something we’re going to have to go to work on: we were poor at times with being able to defend that.”

“To their credit, Sydney is a very resilient team, the runners-up from last year. They know their own moments; they’ve got some finals experience within that team.”

“To be able to get the lead as we did and then hold on in the end was a special effort.”

In the other Elimination Final, Jake Riccardi (pictured below) booted three majors as a fast starting Greater Western Sydney got the job done against a spirited St.Kilda outfit.

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They registered their biggest ever first quarter score at the MCG which set them up very nicely and a decent buffer as they led for nearly the whole afternoon.

It is now the sixth time in eight seasons that the Giants have progressed to the second week of September and a first finals triumph for coach Adam Kingsley.

He has done a remarkable job turning a squad that finished 16th in 2022 into one that is now in contention; they will travel down to South Australia with absolutely no fear.

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Young midfielder Tom Green (pictured above) (36 disposals and nine inside 50s) really stood up on the big stage, alongside the more experienced pair of Lachie Whitfield and Josh Kelly.

The forwards got to work and hit the scoreboard as the Orange Team became just the second side this season to kick 100+ points against the Saints.

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It was certainly a rollercoaster week for Toby Bedford (pictured below) – he was initially banned, for this encounter, but managed to get that overturned at the AFL Appeals Board. He played in his first final for the club and had a real positive impact with a fine display.

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Speaking post-match to Channel 7, the 23-year-old said “To be honest I didn’t think about the game too much as I didn’t think I was playing!”

“It was definitely different but, to be honest, I just tried to act like I was playing, prepared and trained all week and I guess it paid off.”

He continued “We have a great bond amongst the whole group – we are away up in Sydney, with a lot of us away from our family and friends, so we have just got each other and everyone loves to play with each other.”


Carlton 11.8 (74)
Sydney 9.14 (68)

St.Kilda 11.11 (77)
GWS 15.11 (101)

AFL finals: Week 2 fixtures – Semi-Finals

Friday 15 September – Melbourne v Carlton @ MCG (7.50pm AEST)
Saturday 16 September – Port Adelaide v GWS @ Adelaide Oval (7.40pm AEST)

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