2009 AFL Finals Series set to go
Sunday, August 30 2009 @ 09:12 pm ACST
Contributed by: Brett Northey
After a tight race to the line the final eight is set and the 2009 AFL Finals Series is set to be one of the most competitive yet. Since the revamp in 2000 no eventual premier has come from outside the top four, so the winner is almost certain to come from St Kilda, Geelong, the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood. But as Adelaide coach Neil Craig recently said, one day a club will break that record, so the other four clubs from 5th to 8th are still in it to win the premiership, with his own club likely to be considered a reasonable dark horse after demolishing fellow contenders Carlton. And although St Kilda was a runaway leader and Geelong the dominant team of the last 3 years, recent wobbles have the Bulldogs and Magpies seemingly not far behind the top two. An intriguing month of football lies ahead.
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AFL Press Release follows:
The AFL tonight announced the fixture for week one of the 2009 Toyota AFL Finals Series, to be as follows (all times are local):
Friday September 4
First Elimination Final, Adelaide v Essendon at AAMI Stadium, 7.45pm
Saturday September 5
Second Qualifying Final, Geelong v Western Bulldogs at the MCG, 2.30pm (series ticket match)
Second Elimination Final, Brisbane Lions v Carlton at the Gabba, 7.30pm
Sunday September 6
First Qualifying Final, St Kilda v Collingwood at the MCG, 2.40pm
Mr Demetriou said the key consideration for the AFL Executive in determining the fixture for week one was to ensure the longest breaks possible going into the opening week of the finals series for the teams that had finished highest on the ladder at the end of the home and away season.
St Kilda, as the top side, had to be awarded a full seven-day break before its opening finals match while Geelong, as the second side, was also given a full seven-day break for its game.
“The AFL’s commitment to our leading teams is that they must have a full seven days’ preparation, wherever possible, for the opening finals match. After this, as the finals series progresses, the greatest benefits are then always given to the sides that win matches,” he said.
“St Kilda, as the side that finished well clear in top position, needed to be rewarded with a minimum of a full week's break after a dominant performance in the home and away season, while Geelong also required a seven day break for finishing clearly in second position with 18 victories for the year," Mr Demetriou said.
“The match between the Brisbane Lions and Carlton was fixtured on a Saturday night at the Gabba, as this both avoids the afternoon heat in Queensland at this time of the year and is a traditional time slot for fans attending matches in Brisbane.
“The match between Adelaide and Essendon was set down for Friday night as AAMI Stadium regularly hosts Friday night matches through the home and away season.
“Adelaide and Essendon will both have equivalent breaks leading into their game, as will the Brisbane Lions and Carlton, and in each case the higher-ranked side at the end of the home and away season has the advantage of playing in their home state.
“We congratulate all the teams that have made the eight and look forward to an exciting finals series given the quality of the football that has been on display through the first 22 rounds,” Mr Demetriou said.
“We thank all football supporters for their support of the game throughout 2009 and look forward to them enjoying the finals series.”
Mr Demetriou said the fixture for the coming weeks of the finals would see the Second Semi Final (loser of Geelong/Western Bulldogs v winner of Brisbane Lions / Carlton) played on Friday September 11 and the First Semi Final (loser of St Kilda/Collingwood v winner Adelaide/ Essendon) as a night game on Saturday September 12.
In week three of the finals, the First Preliminary Final (hosted by the winner of the First Qualifying Final) will be played on Friday September 18 and the Second Preliminary Final (hosted by the winner of the Second Qualifying Final) on Saturday September 19, as a day or night game.