Well, I predicted that the Bays versus Dogs matchup would not be as easy as it seemed, and boy was that true. Glenelg had it all to play for, and the Dogs came within one point of seriously disrupting the race to the final 4.
It was not to be, and with a week to play, all teams now know where they stand.
The Eagles will play the Roosters in the 2nd semifinal; North has their first Double chance in over a decade.
The loser will face off against one of Glenelg and South Adelaide as winners of the First, Elimination Semifinal.
That the season hinges on one result for both breeds of cat is exhilarating, given these teams have mixed it with the best this season. It has admittedly been a month since we saw South Adelaide take down a top four-opponent, fittingly Glenelg back in Round 9, and they did so convincingly. However, they will no doubt be pleased with their timely, prolific scoring from their last fortnight of footy.
Glenelg, well, they might still be catching their breath after being made to earn every inch of their win against the Bulldogs on the weekend. Luke Partington made all the difference in the second half, with an exceptional crumbing effort in the 3rd quarter to put the Bays back in front, and one more for good measure in the 4th quarter to seal the deal. Matt Snook nonchalantly slotted back-to-back set shots in the second quarter; converting his clearance currency into multiple majors for the first time on record.
The Eagles have earned their spot as imminent minor premiers through some ruthless efficiency in attack, and the Bloods were the latest on the receiving end again last week. Woodville West Torrens could be a commercial cleaning business with all the crumbs they vacuum inside their forward half. Both Rowe and Redden goaled early in the first; Redden has now kicked majors for a month straight. Then, halfway through time on in the first, they combined for the purest of stoppage goals that set the tone for the afternoon’s deluge.
The Eagles have chastened their opponents time and time again, and only the Redlegs have managed to exact revenge on a club that has handed out mostly drubbings, since Round 1’s slipup against South. North Adelaide were unsurprisingly their closest opponents, and for that reason the second semifinal should be a belter.
North Adelaide will encounter many highly talented players in superb form, and the Eagles even had the audacity to add one more last week, in Sam Lowson, who bagged 4 goals on debut. His mid-season draft to Woodville could soon make up for missed opportunities due to injury.
Speaking of, The Eagles have a handful of consistent performers out with manageable injuries, and the nature of this dead rubber means they will not rush to return. However, I would not be surprised to then see six or eight ‘ins’ for the Eagles in the clash with North Adelaide.
I expect Central Districts to continue their distinct, late-season hustle against this week’s opponents; they are certainly gaining respect in a similar vain to the Adelaide Crows with their strong, even performances to finish an unfortunate season. Can they grind out a win against the competitions best team, even in cruise mode, and even in front of the home faithful?
I think it is a bridge too far, and the Eagles have shown no signs of roosting. Woodville West Torrens are in the habit of winning, and they will not for it to stop now.