If history repeats, this year’s AFL premiers could well be the Adelaide Crows. They last took the flag in 1998, when they finished the home and away season in the identical fifth position they found themselves in this year.
They will be playing an ugly Swans side that put in a desultory performance in their week one game against that other team from Sydney.
When the Crows lost to the Demons by 48 points in the qualifying final in 1998, they took careful measure of themselves, and then swept the Swans, Bulldogs and Kangaroos out of their way, averaging nearly 120 points per game in the process. It was the last time that a team finishing outside the top five captured the flag.
The Crows benefitted from the break between the end of the home and away season and the first round of the finals. It also seems as though their loss in round 23 to the West Coast Eagles, a loss despite having home ground advantage, gave them a respite in the form of elimination game against the Kangaroos, the eighth finisher.
It appears that the Grand Final this year is going through Sydney. Sorry, all of you Cats, Bulldogs and Hawks supporters.
Take solace in the fact that the NRL sewed up Keith Urban for the entertainment at their Grand Final before the AFL could get an audience.