We're footy mad at the Ambient Lounge office in Melbourne (both the guys and the girls) and it just happens to be a year where all of our staff's teams are in the finals mix with a shot at the flag. If we can't get to the games we plan to set up the big screen TV, the surround sound and lounge out on our designer bean bags with a brew or two sitting atop the Versa Table. There is simply no better seat to watch the footy finals unless you are sitting on the MCG sidelines! If you ask us, this beats a corporate box anyway (and is a hell of a lot cheaper!) and we love being armchair critics without the hassle of squeezing your way through a crowd for overpriced snacks and the prospect of 2 hours trapped in a carpark afterwards ..
So the long season of disparity between top half and bottom half of the ladder is almost over and the AFL heavyweights are finally about to clash in the much anticipated AFL finals series. Collingwood are the clear powerhouse and the magpie army of fans are already claiming back-to-back flags … but the reality is that on their day that any of the top 5 or so sides can beat one another so this will put the finals in a pressure cooker spin. Remember Geelong in 2008 when they only lost one game for the season and lose the Grand Final with poor kicking? Still, it's hard to see Collingwood beaten when their list contains such strength in every department let by midfield generals Pendlebury, Swan and the much improved Thomas. Anything can happen on the day though. Hawthorn have re-emerged this year with extra depth and an exciting fast-paced game of precision football led by the giant of the game Lance 'Buddy' Franklin and the lightning footed Cyril Ryoli, both of aboriginal origin.
The Cats are still there playing their ever-so consistent brand of football with old wise heads that know how to win when it counts and play 15 minutes of 'burst footy' to blow teams away. Steve Johnson and Jimmy Bartel might now be senior citizens in the AFL but they still have the fire for a flag. West Coast are the big surprise of the year coming from a pathetic last in 2010 to explode into the top 4 this year. Having the best ruck duo in the competition (Dean Cox and Nick Natanui) means that a high % of the time their improved midfields get first use of the ball and this means they can be dangerous in September.
Carlton need to come from outside the double chance and have got the 'other bald genius' in Chris Judd and some real pace around the contests with their little men… but might be found out against tall marking forwards. Of the rest, well it's hard to see any of the teams stringing three final wins together against the leagues best but you know that the Saints and the Swans in particular will fight hard an make any opposition team earn a win.
So, bring it on! Let's see the elite vs the elite…. Let's see some close, tough games and let's ride every bump from the comfort of our Butterfly Sofas ;)