at 4.46am EDT
at 4.31am EDT
Good evening and welcome, fans and fanatics of this most excellent sport. There’s something uniquely exhilarating about the preliminary final stage of the season, something even grand final week can’t match. And it’s hard to quantify what makes it so special. It might be because the journey can be better than the destination, it might be the sensory overload of anticipation, delight and total fear merging into one inexplicable emotion.
Whatever it is, falling at the prelim hurdle can be the cruellest of tumbles. Get to the grand final, and nobody can say you didn’t have a good year. Lose in the last four, however, and it will always be a case of what might have been. You were close, but at the same time so very far away. Winning fans awaken the following day with a glow only a spot in the grannie can bring; losing fans would rather the sun didn’t rise. The stakes are so high.
The penultimate weekend of the season should bring together the best of the best and this year it has done just that. Starting proceedings tonight is a contest that has classic written all over it. It should really be a great game. Port Adelaide have been the standard bearer all season, even if some pockets of doubt exist within the AFL community. We will find out tonight if they are pretenders or if they are building up to something special. Get over a white-hot Richmond, the competition’s best team for the past four seasons, and the Power’s bona-fides will be beyond question. That might be easier said than done, however. Richmond have barely put a foot wrong for months, their loss to Brisbane in week one of the finals their only defeat in eight matches. Port have already beaten Richmond this season but the Tigers will look a different team to the one that went under in round 11. This Power outfit are new to the preliminary final caper; this is Richmond’s fourth in four years.
at 4.17am EDT