Given the eight teams have been locked in since round six, this week was all about the order they would finish in. The final eight for 2016 are Sydney, Geelong, Hawthorn, Greater Western Sydney, Adelaide, West Coast, Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne. Meaning the match-ups for Week 1 are:
Thursday September 8, 6.10pm at Domain Stadium
Second elimination final - West Coast v Western Bulldogs
Friday September 9, 7.50pm at the MCG
Second qualifying final - Geelong v Hawthorn
Saturday September 10, 3.20pm at ANZ Stadium
First qualifying final - Sydney Swans v Greater Western Sydney
Saturday September 10, 7.10pm at Adelaide Oval
First elimination final - Adelaide v North Melbourne
There are some great match-ups here, the first all Sydney final, Geelong renew their rivalry with Hawthorn. Adelaide, despite their loss this weekend are a smokey for the title. West Coast have won their last five and will fancy them to beat the Bulldogs (who have been ravaged by injury).
Not a fan of next weekends bye. I feel its a real momentum killer, but the other side of the argument is that clubs will rest key players if their spot is assured. Will be interesting to see what happens next year.
Week one winners: I'm tipping Sydney, Geelong, Adelaide, West Coast.
- With their loss to the Tigers, the Warriors season is over. Perhaps it can be summarised as slow start, glimpses of promises before falling to earth and crashing in a heap.
- The Melbourne-Cronulla game will decide the Minor Premiership. The other games to watch are the Titans v North Queensland, and the Tigers v Canberra. If the Titans win the eight is sealed, a loss opens the door for the Tigers.
- I am leaning to Canberra as the team to beat at the moment. Brisbane, are my dark horse for the title. The Sharks and Storm are the other main contenders.
- Likely Finals match ups - Storm v Cowboys; Sharks v Raiders; Broncos v Titans and Bulldogs v Panthers.
- Not much to say here. Very impressive performances from the All Blacks to retain the Cup for the fourteenth straight season. Barrett and Cane have been the standouts players for me. I do have to say Owen Franks is a bit lucky. The footage did look incriminating.
- After pushing South Africa last week, Argentina won this morning and will be interesting to see how they go in their remaining games.
- Side bar: I read with interest that South Africa and Australia may lose a team each for the 2018 Season. I hope this means they can find a way to introduce a team based in the Pacific islands.