The AFL semi-final weekend saw the Bulldogs and Swans advance after a pair of thrilling contests.
Dogs do it again to end Hawks’ reign
Western Bulldogs have continued their fairytale run by downing three-time reigning premiers Hawthorn by 23 points at the MCG. It’s the Dogs second consecutive boilover after upsetting West Coast in Perth last week. The Hawks had the early running, kicking out to a 22-point lead by the middle of Q2. But the courageous Dogs, without their inspirational captain Robert Murphy for much of the season, went on a rampage.
They would kick 12 of the next 13 goals to take complete control of the match. And although, Hawthorn made a late rally, kicking four goals in the row, it was too little, too late. Marcus Bontempelli was breathtaking in the centre with 27 disposals and two goals, while Jake Stringer and Liam Picken kicked three goals each. Some of their younger players, such as Clay Smith and Josh Dunkley, were impressive too.
It ends a golden era for the Hawks, who haven’t missed a grand final since 2011. The Dogs will play GWS at Spotless Stadium next Saturday for their own slice of history. The club has not won a premiership since 1954 and have not made a grand final since 1961. They also lost three consecutive preliminary finals between 2008-10.
Swans rebound to eliminate Crows
Sydney beat Adelaide at their own game, with a blistering seven-goal opening quarter setting up a 36 point win at the SCG. The Crows have been the most potent attacking side this season but it was the Swans who provided a first-half onslaught of 10 goals to four to remind everyone why they won the minor premiership.
Lance Franklin was goalless in last week’s loss to crosstown rivals GWS but came up with a four-goal haul in this do-or-die fixture. Tom Papley also kicked four while Ben McGlynn contributed three. The win came at a cost though because Gary Rohan, who kicked the opening goal of the game, had to be stretchered of the field just before half time with a knee injury. Co-captain Jarrad McVeigh was restricted to only nine touches as he suffered a calf injury in Q2.
Josh Kennedy was at the heart of Sydney’s engine room, producing an inspirational 42-possession game, while Isaac Heeney, Dan Hannebery and Tom Mitchell all had over 30 disposals.
The Swans now take on Geelong at the MCG in a blockbuster preliminary final that pits two of the most successful sides over the last decade against one another. Whoever wins this match will be the grand final favourites.