What History Says – AFL Finals Week 2
From the Tigers winning their first finals match since 2001 to the Eagles winning after the siren in extra time, it was headlines galore as the first week of the 2017 finals series kicked off with a bang.
The Cats opting to go without Daniel Menzel and GWS’ lack of intensity against the Crows mean both of those clubs are now under the pump as they face the possibility of elimination, with no more double chance letting them get away with poor performance.
As we edge closer and closer to the final week of the season, still so much can happen and you would be a fool to write off any team.
There was statistically plenty of history that leaned to the results that eventuated in week one of the finals, so how about week two?
Second Semi Final – Geelong v Sydney (MCG)
This is as lopsided as it gets in terms of head-to-head form. The Swans are flying and have only lost to one side since Round 9 of the regular season, with an average winning margin this year of 41.13 points including the Elimination final triumph over Essendon.
On the other hand, Geelong’s lacklustre loss against Richmond was their 7th in a finals series since their 2011 triumph. The Cats have an average losing margin of 28.9 points in 2017 and the difference between their best and worst is stark.
The Swans may only have a win-loss record of 4-16 in finals they have played at the MCG, but you simply cannot ignore Geelong’s finals record under Chris Scott since the successful 2011 season.
However, if there’s one thing every man and his dog should know about the 2017 season, it’s that teams with their backs against the wall have come out and made a statement the following week.
Sydney/South Melbourne has played Geelong a total of four times in the finals, dating all the way back to 1914. The Swans were victorious in all four of these matches, which includes last year’s preliminary final win.
Based on history, and logic, The Swans will go in as favourites this week and should comfortably find their way to a preliminary final against Adelaide the week after, making it 5-0 against Geelong in the finals.
First Semi Final – GWS v West Coast (Spotless Stadium)
Much like the previous match-up, both of these sides will be entering with much different routes, thus making it difficult to assess how the game will unfold.
The Giants have only won four matches since the end of June and the Eagles have had to fight right out until the eleventh hour to first sneak into the finals and then progress into the second week.
Specifically talking finals, teams who have had to endure a high-pressure intense match, often going down to the wire, seem to run out of energy and look flat the next week.
The Eagles have a team full of seasoned veterans who dig deep when the going gets tough, while the Giants struggled in week one to level the wave of intensity the Crows brought to the fore.
GWS has won both encounters against West Coast in 2017 by eight and 21 points respectively, will it be a case of third time lucky for the Eagles?
L-W-L-W-L are the last five semi final results the Eagles have played in, meaning they are due for a win in that sense.
Surprisingly, of the last 18 times the Eagles have won a match by less than a kick, they have backed it up with a win the following week on a commendable 14 occasions, with some of those victories coming during September.
Expect the Giants to bounce back on their home deck, but history is on the Eagles’ side in this one.