Complete performances from Geelong and Richmond have advanced both clubs to the preliminary finals, where the Brisbane Lions and Port Adelaide Power await them. Let’s take a look at what unfolded during the second week of the AFL 2020 finals.
Top four become final four
Finishing the home-and-away season inside the top four always boosts your chances to advance further into the finals, and the 2020 season has been no different.
There were no straight-set exits from the finals this season as Richmond and Geelong flexed their muscles during the semis.
The Tigers were back to their best against the Saints, basically wrapping the game up in the first half with nine goals to St Kilda’s three.
You couldn’t fault the Cats during their impressive victory over Collingwood, as there wasn’t a single player on the ground wearing the hoops who didn’t pull their weight.
Despite both felines losing their qualifying finals, we can see both clubs advancing to the 2020 AFL Grand Final.
The Tigers will now travel to Adelaide Oval to face the Power, while the Cats will stay in Queensland and prepare for the Lions at the Gabba.
Richmond duo escape suspension for ‘unsociable’ plays
Damian Hardwick has praised his Tigers for playing on the edge against the Saints, but two incidents have stood out from Friday’s game.
While Tom Lynch and Trent Cotchin both had moments where they possibly crossed the line, neither has been punished with suspension.
Lynch intentionally planted his knee into Dougal Howard’s head behind play, but the force was minimal and resulted in a fine – Lynch’s fifth of the season, although the key forward has not been suspended yet.
Cotchin has always been praised for his toughness, but his rough high tackle on Zak Jones when the ball was dead looked horrible at the time.
The label ‘unsociable’ has been attached to the Tigers due to their competitive edge, but they could be one incident away from a crucial suspension in the finals.
Horrifying result for abysmal Magpies
The Collingwood Magpies have a lot of work to do heading into the 2021 season after what was one of the worst finals performances in recent history.
The Pies couldn’t get their hands on the ball and used it poorly when they finally found it, combining for an alarming disposal discrepancy that resulted in an 11-goal loss.
Collingwood only managed 120 kicks, the lowest total ever recorded in an AFL match, breaking the record North Melbourne set in round 17 earlier this season with 123.
While tt was a deflating end to the season for the Pies after their thrilling win over the Eagles a week prior, the Cats now march on to face a Brisbane side they beat convincingly earlier in the season.
Silver lining for eliminated Saints
Unlike the Magpies, there were moments during St Kilda’s semi final loss to Richmond that could be seen as positives.
Even though the Saints went down by 31 points, they recorded only one less scoring shot and could have flipped the script with some straighter goalkicking.
The Saints clearly nailed the 2017 draft, as Hunter Clark and Nick Coffield were tremendous despite only playing in their second AFL finals.
Clark stood out throughout the game with his trusty kicking and excellent movement in traffic, which were on full display when the third-year star pushed into the midfield later in the contest.
The loss of Jake Carlisle, Ben Long and Paddy Ryder proved too big a drain on St Kilda’s resources in the end, but Brett Ratten’s boys will look back on the 2020 season and be pleased with what they achieved.
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