INDIVIDUAL and team success, and some emotional moments highlighted what was a huge round of finals football, both on and off the field.
Two Seagulls and a Tiger taste success
It was the Victorian Football League (VFL)’s night of nights, and it had a definitive Williamstown flavour. Former Murray Bushrangers midfielder, now Seagull, Michael Gibbons shared the J.J Liston Medal with Richmond’s Anthony Miles, while fellow Seagull, Jess Duffin took out the newly named Lambert-Pearce medal for the VFL Women’s best and fairest award. Miles did his chances of finding a new AFL home no harm with a top season, while Gibbons has been talked up as a potential draft choice as one of the state leaguers that bottom clubs will have priority access to prior to draft day.
Dandenong, Oakleigh emerge as TAC Cup titans
Dandenong Stingrays and Oakleigh Chargers are sizing each other up from opposite sides of the finals draw after smashing their respective opponents by triple figures across the weekend. The Stingrays belted the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels by 110 points on Saturday, before the Chargers went 10 points better with a 20-goal victory over Western Jets. The two sides face off against Sandringham Dragons and Gippsland Power respectively who are worthy preliminary finalists, but the pair go in as strong favourites considering their remarkable form, particularly the Chargers who have a two-game accumulative winning margin of 210 points.
Hawks through, Cats to face Pies
Ladder positions mean very little when it comes to finals and that proved true on the weekend in the VFL Women’s competition. The second placed Hawks upset the top-of-the-table Magpies, while Geelong toppled pre-season premiership favourite Northern Territory (NT) Thunder. Now with no turning back, Collingwood will have to knock off Geelong to earn the right at another crack at the Hawks, and avoid the dreaded straight-sets exit.
Demon fans celebrate
It has been a long time between drinks – 12 years to be exact – but the Demons fans burst into jubilation when their side toppled Geelong with relentless pressure and a four-quarter effort. They booted five goals to zero in the opening term and never let-up to keep the Cats at arms-length, frustrating the likes of Joel Selwood into giving away free kicks on a night that the Geelong faithful would rather forget. But for the long-suffering Demons fans, it was the monkey off the back and they have even started booking plane tickets to Perth for the following week!
Travis Varcoe stands tall
Not many could even imagine what Collingwood’s Travis Varcoe has had to endure the past fortnight following the tragic passing of his sister, Maggie. But such is the bond at football clubs, Varcoe chose to play in the first final over in Perth and was his sister was honoured by a minute’s silence prior to the National Anthem. Then, a moment that could not have been better even if it had been scripted. The exciting speedster won the ball at half-forward, sprinted inside 50 and nailed a running goal from the boundary line. His teammates came from everywhere and no doubt the whole football world was behind him at that moment.