[AFL//[email protected]] “Melbourne vs Brisbane Live”Online @Free
Going into the finals, the Melbourne Demons are the Minor Premiers for the first time since 1964, sitting at the top of the ladder – but just behind them are Port Adelaide Power. Geelong, Brisbane, Bulldogs, Sydney, and GWS follow, with the Essendon Bombers rounding out the top eight.
Port Adelaide has booked a second consecutive home preliminary final after shutting down Geelong to begin the 2021 finals series.
Melbourne and Brisbane will face off on Saturday night to determine the other preliminary final host, with two huge elimination finals also on the cards.
See the finals fixture and how the AFL finals system works below.
Second Elimination Final: Sydney Swans (6th) v GWS Giants (7th)
UTAS Stadium (Launceston), Saturday 28 August 3:20pm
First Qualifying Final: Melbourne (1st) v Brisbane Lions (4th)
Adelaide Oval, Saturday 28 August 7:30pm
First Elimination Final: Western Bulldogs (5th) v Essendon (8th)
UTAS Stadium (Launceston), Sunday 29 August 3:20pm
Aliir’s first quarter of domination
Aliir’s first quarter of domination | 01:00
AFL 2021 FINALS FIXTURE – WEEK 2 (All times AEST)
Second Semi Final: Geelong Cats v Sydney Swans/GWS Giants
Optus Stadium, likely Friday 3 September
First Semi Final: Melbourne/Brisbane Lions v Western Bulldogs/Essendon
Likely Optus Stadium/Gabba, likely Saturday 4 September
AFL 2021 FINALS FIXTURE – WEEK 3 (All times AEST)
Second Preliminary Final: Port Adelaide v First Semi Final winner
Adelaide Oval, Friday 10/Saturday 11 September
First Preliminary Final: Melbourne/Brisbane Lions v Second Semi Final winner
Likely Optus Stadium/Gabba, Friday 10/Saturday 11 September
The AFL’s plan was to move Geelong and Melbourne to Perth, regardless of their week one results, to host their next finals. Around 20 Cats players and staff arrived in WA on Friday.
The Swans (sixth on ladder, 15-7, 119.9%) were the biggest risers of the season, going from five wins and 16th last year to just percentage out of the top four. However they’ve been unable to beat their cross-town rivals in the two previous Sydney Derby finals.
The Giants (seventh on ladder, 11-10-1, 99.7%) won their last three games to seal an unlikely finals spot, having started the year 0-3. No team with a percentage under 100 has won a final against a side with a percentage over 100 in modern AFL history.
Today’s winner will face Geelong in next week’s Second Semi Final, likely at Perth’s Optus Stadium. Today’s loser will be eliminated.
This match gets underway at 3:20pm EST from UTAS Stadium in Launceston.
Essendon will be without breakout recruit Nick Hind for its elimination final against the Western Bulldogs after he visited a tier 2 Covid exposure site.
The running defender, who was acquired cheaply last off-season and has filled Adam Saad’s former role brilliantly in 2020, is unable to enter Tasmania for Sunday’s game after visiting the Altona Gate Shopping Centre on Saturday August 21.
He underwent an immediate test and quarantined until receiving his negative result, but is still not allowed to enter Tasmania, as members of the travelling party must not have visited a tier 1 or 2 site in the 14 days prior to arrival.
“We understand the reasons for these protocols and respect the Tasmanian guidelines, which treat Tier 1 and Tier 2 exposure sites as the same risk,” Bombers GM of football Josh Mahoney said.
“This means that Nick will be unable to enter the state and won’t play in our first final against the Bulldogs.
“This is obviously an unfortunate situation for Nick to be in. He briefly visited a supermarket for a takeaway lunch and has followed the correct procedures, including QR codes while cooperating fully with the AFL and DHHS guidelines.”
“The club has been in constant dialogue with the Tasmanian Government throughout this period and respect their health and safety protocols, which are designed to protect their local community.
“Given Nick’s negative test result, the club will work with the AFL and the relevant state bodies on his availability for future finals should we continue to qualify.”
The Bombers will also be without star forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, who’s kicked 34 goals from 20 games this season, but been managed through a personal issue over the past few weeks, with coach Ben Rutten stressing his player’s wellbeing was the club’s top priority.
Kyle Langford also won’t play, with the Bombers midfielder not named as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.
Former Giants midfielder Jye Caldwell will play just his third game for the club, having not played since Round 2 due to a hamstring injury, while Martin Gleeson also comes in with Dylan Clarke omitted.
The Bulldogs have resisted the temptation to re-call veteran ruckman Stefan Martin to face the Bombers, naming an unchanged side.
Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge earlier this week hinted it’d be a gamble to select Martin off such limited preparation after a long sideline stint. Ultimately, the Bulldogs opted not to risk the ruckman, with Lewis Young and Tim English to share the ruck duties against Essendon’s Sam Draper.
Ryan Gardner, Josh Schache, Anthony Scott and Rhylee West were named on the extended bench but have ended up as emergencies.
Sydney has been dealt a major double blow for its sudden-death final against the Giants, with star midfielder Callum Mills and co-captain Josh Kennedy falling short in their bids to play.
Mills was subbed out of last week’s clash against Gold Coast with an Achilles issues, while Kennedy didn’t face the Suns after suffering a hamstring injury the week before.
Both players were given every chance to prove their fitness this week, but ultimately weren’t named in the Swans’ line-up on Thursday night.
Emerging Swans Chad Warner and James Bell were named to make their finals debuts.
Pick 5 Braeden Campbell was dropped after 10 and eight-disposal performances against North Melbourne and Gold Coast respectively, while Robbie Fox was last week’s medical sub.
The Giants have turned to experience for their elimination final against Sydney, with Shane Mumford and Sam Reid both recalled to the side, alongside Rising Star chance Tom Green.
Mumford replaces young ruckman Kieren Briggs, who’s been omitted from the side despite showing recent promising signs. Tanner Bruhn has also been dropped, while Adam Kennedy and Xavier O’Halloran miss through injury.
Giants captain Stephen Coniglio keeps his spot in the Giants’ starting 22 after being subbed into last week’s game for the injury O’Halloran.
Geelong veteran Shaun Higgins hasn’t been named in his club’s line-up for Friday night’s clash against Port Adelaide as star midfielder Mitch Duncan’s return was confirmed.
Higgins was managed last week and was the unused medical sub, but has been named as an emergency alongside the omitted Max Holmes, Esava Ratugolea and Zach Guthrie.
Port Adelaide will be boosted by the return of livewire forward Orazio Fantasia, but will go into its clash against the Cats without a fourth tall forward after Mitch Georgiades was ruled out due to a hamstring injury.
As expected, Brisbane has been boosted by the returns of All-Australian defender Harris Andrews and veteran winger Mitch Robinson after both missed the Round 23 match against West Coast as a precaution.
They replaced injured duo Ryan Lester and Callum Ah Chee, with Rhys Mathieson the unused medical sub from last week.
Melbourne has named an unchanged line-up, with Nathan Jones, Michael Hibberd, Jake Melksham and James Jordon the four emergencies.
AFL FINALS WEEK 1 (All times AEST)
PORT ADELAIDE v GEELONG CATS
Friday August 27, 7:50pm AEST at Adelaide Oval
B: R.Burton, T.McKenzie, A.Aliir
HB: M.Bergman, T.Jonas, D.Byrne-Jones
C: X.Duursma, O.Wines, D.Houston
HF: K.Amon, T.Marshall, Z.Butters
F: R.Gray, C.Dixon, C.Rozee
FOLL: S.Lycett, T.Boak, W.Drew
I/C: O.Fantasia, P.Ladhams, R.Bonner, S.Motlop
EMG: S.Powell-Pepper, S.Mayes, B.Woodcock, T.Clurey
OUT: M.Georgiades (injured), S.Mayes (omitted)