Purple haze ... Michael Walters celebrates one of his two goals. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
FINAL SCORE: Geelong 11.14 (80) v Fremantle 14.12 (96)
THE WRAP: With Freo jumping Geelong in the opening term, it was arguably the most fascinating quarter of footy for the season. Matthew Pavlich stood up when the game was up for grabs. The Cats were simply stunned. How would they respond? The pattern continued early in the second term and the damage was done. Geelong came back. Would there be any other way? But it was too late. Plaudits to Ross Lyon's Dockers for a magnificent win. Let's hope Pavlich gets wider recognition after this performance. Read Rohan Connolly's MATCH REPORT. And earlier on Saturday, the Sydney Swans advanced to the preliminary finals after a big-game effort from Adam Goodes.
FREMANTLE 5.7 8.9 12.11 14.12 (96)
GEELONG 0.1 3.5 6.9 11.14 (80)
GOALS: Fremantle: M Pavlich 6 H Ballantyne 3 M Walters 2 C Pearce M De Boer R Crowley. Geelong: A Mackie 2 J Hunt 2 A Christensen H Taylor J Selwood M Duncan M Stokes N Vardy S Motlop
Umpires: Troy Pannell, Brett Rosebury, Jordan Bannister
Official Crowd: 44,460 at MCG
BEST: FREM: Pavlich, Barlow, Walters, Mundy, Fyfe. GEEL: Selwood, Enright
Q4 - 29.11: SIREN! What a mighty win by the Dockers! A 'coming of age' victory by Fremantle. They jumped the reigning premiers and never looked back ...
Q4 - 28.34: MISS. Taylor could have snagged another one.
Q4 - 24.17: GOAL. Harry Taylor. Simply a consolation goal.
Q4 - 22.30: Pavlich! Come the moment, cometh the man! Another goal. Six goals to the Docker! GAME OVER.
Q4 - 21.20: GOAL!!! Hunt for Geelong. Margin down to 17 points. Just less than five minutes to play. Cats four goals to one in the final quarter.
Q4 - 15.21: BEHIND. Hawkins can't quite capitalise on a big moment. Johnson kick out from defence goes out on the full but the Big Cat doesn't do anything with the free kick ... time is fast running out.
Q4 - 12.29: GOAL! Hunt for the Cats. They won't quite go away. Deficit again less than four goals. You would it's still a bridge too far.
Q4 - 10.21: GOAL. Ballantyne runs in. Surely that's the sealer ... Really this time. Cats are applying the pressure in the final stanza.
Q4 - 9.14: BEHIND! Huge shot on goal from Hunt hits the post! The Catters really needed that one.
Q4 - 7.38: GOAL! Christensen gets it this time! Margin now just four goals! Gee whiz, is there another twist?
Q4 - 5.31: MISS! Christensen is off target for Geelong. A desperate tackle from Johnson is to blame. Great footy Dockers.
Q4 - 1.50: GOAL! Mackie steals the footy and boots a goal! Cats with a sniff! No, only kidding.
THE WRAP: Scoring really dried up in the final minutes of the term. What a great term by the Dockers. They were challenged and came up with the answers. Will this be Freo's greatest ever win? Selwood has had 25 touches (the leading man on the ground) but it's hard to see what impact he's having on the game. This victory has Ross Lyon's fingerprints all over it.
It's fascinating that Geelong has had 20 more tackles than Fremantle. It's a sign of a team chasing tail. More intriguing is the stat that the Cats have had 10 more contested possessions than the Dockers. Wierd footy.
Q3 - 19.34: GOAL!! Freo again. Three in a row. The game is done. Walters with his second.
Q3 - 15.48: GOAL. This time it's Ballantyne. Another beauty from a tough angle. It's Freo's night ... it simply has to be. They've got all the answers. Forget a Hawthorn-Geelong prelim!
Q3 - 13.10: GOAL!!! Pavlich with a beauty. That's five already to the Freo leader. He was so composed as he ran in from the pocket. What an effort to resist the Geelong advance ....
Q3 - 11.05: GOAL! Vardy for Geelong. Big Cat makes them pay. Geelong is still lurking. There's plenty of time for a mighty revival.
Q3 - 9.48: MISS! De Boer with an unforgiveable miss from close to directly in front.
Q3 - 6.05: GOAL. Pavlich. Against the flow! Dockers back out to a 26-point lead. Four goals to Pavich. Geelong 5.7 (37) v Fremantle 9.9 (63)
Q3 - 4.32: GOAL!! Cats again. Here they come! Stokes pounces on a loose ball. Deficit cut to just 21 points.
Q3 - 1.18: GOAL! Motlop with the all-important first goal of the third quarter! Scott is pumped in the coach's box. Momentum on a pendulum.
THE WRAP: This has to be one of Freo's best ever games. Their intensity, especially in the first quarter, was outstanding and undoubtedly a Ross Lyon trademark. Pavlich stood up with three goals in the opening stanza. Geelong, plainly and simply, was shell-shocked. The comeback (or revival) was inevitable. It happened. Three goals in four minutes to the Cats. Significantly Freo managed one more goal before half-time. Dockers have had contributors across the ground.
Q2 - 29.17: SIREN! Hurried kick from Mackie just before the siren missed to the left. What a half of footy from the Dockers ...
Q2 - 25.35: GOAL. Exactly what Freo needed as the Cats applied the pressure. Walters with an opportune kick off the ground. Critical. Time to breathe again.
Q2 - 22.17: GOAL!! Geelong. Duncan after a morale-boosting mark. Cats are edging back. HUGE four minutes of play coming up before half-time. Geelong 3.4 (22) v Fremantle 7.9 (51)
Q2 - 20.45: GOAL!! Cats with two in two minutes. They are purring again ....
Q2 - 18.15: GOAL. Finally, oh finally. Mackie with a set shot goal. The Cats fans find some voice.
The bad news continues for Geelong. Joel Corey cops friendly fire and is forced off holding his eye.
Q2 - 15.36: GOAL. Pearce for Freo. Seven goals to zip! Extraordinary. This match is close to over.
Q2 - 9.37: GOAL!! De Boer this time. Fremantle dominating! It's now a 44-point lead. Hard to not look at the betting at times like this. Geelong out to $4 to win this game. Anyone interested?
Q2 - 6.54. MISS. Barlow off target with a set-shot. Fremantle 5.9 early in the second quarter. They want to be careful ... You can't squander too many chances.
Q2 - 3.30. BEHIND. Ballantyne with the first score of the second stanza. Cats yet to open their goal account ...
THE WRAP: Fremantle's suffocation of Geelong has set the stage for an intriguing game. Can the great Geelong team somehow recover to get back in this game? ... an elimination final! The first quarter stats are compelling. Completely in Freo's favour. Chris Scott took one look at a sheet handed to him and shook his head. What will unfold from this point? Geelong 0.1 (0) v Fremantle 5.7 (37)
There's the siren! Arguably the most interesting quarter of footy for the season. Cats are rattled in scenes barely seen from Geelong for the past five years. Some of the Cats even argued amongst themselves during the break ....
Q1 - 26.42: Amazing scenes at the MCG. Ten more inside 50s. Dockers with a stack more disposals. Cats are shellshocked .... Garry Lyon on the radio says 'they're a rabble'. Stunning.
Q1 - 19.59: GOAL!!!! Three goals to Pavlich. Dockers destroying the Cats. On all stats measures. Any Freo fans out there still sceptical about the Ross Lyon appointment? Wait until he orders the shutdown tactics in this match. They might already have a match-winning lead! Geelong 0.1 (0) v Fremantle 5.5 (35)
Q1 - 17.57: Two more behinds to the Dockers. Now a 26-point lead. Gee, if Freo had managed to score either of those .....
Freo monstering the Cats at this point. Five more inside 50s after 16 minutes, 10 to five. The Cats looked rattled. Who saw this coming?
Q1 - 14.03: GOAL! Yes, another one to Freo. It's four goals to zip. Crowley with a set shot. Make no mistake, the Dockers are hear to play. Chris Scott looks shell-shocked in the coaches' box.
Q1 - 11.48: GOAL. Three to the Dockers. Zilch from Geelong. Ballantyne does the job. What a start by Freo .... Geelong 0.1 (0) v Fremantle 3.0 (12)
We know it's all about the Geel-Fremantle final tonight but it's worth reporting that St Kilda has announced that Lenny Hayes last week underwent corrective heart surgery for a cardiac condition diagnosed during medical screenings at the start of the season. We'll have a full report shortly.
Q1 - 9.10: GOAL! Pavlich again! Freo off to a flyer. Dockers lead by 11 points. Pavlich outmuscled Lonergan and ran into an open goal.
Q1 - 4.43: GOAL. Pavlich makes the most of another opportunity. The (almost) Coleman Medallist splits the big sticks. Nice start by the visitors.
Q1 - 3.11: Early nerves for the Dockers? Pavlich shanks a kick on goal from the arc and doesn't register a score.
7.42pm - Small crowd for a final at the 'G. Sharp contrast to last night's Hawthorn-Collingwood qualifying final.
Geelong v Fremantle, round one. Will the fireworks return? Photo: Getty Images
7.30pm - No late changes for the big Geelong-Fremantle elimination final. The Cats are going with Jordan Murdoch, Mitch Duncan and Steven Motlop on the interchange. Jonathan Simpkin is the substitute. As for the Dockers, Tendai Mzungu, Michael Barlow and Michael Walters are starting on the pine. Nick Suban is the substitute.
Geelong 0.0 (0) v Fremantle 0.0 (0), MCG. 7.45pm
These teams played one of the most spiteful games of the season in round one, with the Dockers triumphing by four points at Subiaco. The previous meeting between the side was in a 2010 semi-final, when the Dockers trailed by seven goals at quarter-time on their way to a 69-point loss. That will not be the pattern tonight under the Ross Lyon regime. The Dockers are currently a hard, disciplined unit, with mature-bodied midfielders who are not easily cowed. Unfortunately for them, that same description could be applied to the confident Cats, who have rediscovered their ferocity and verve since losing to Collingwood in round 16. Geelong have won six out of seven games since then, with their only loss a brave, undermanned effort in going down by five points to West Coast in Perth. They are fielding their strongest team of the season, with a star-studded on-ball unit and defence and an attack that is coalescing neatly around the prodigous presence of key target Tom Hawkins. The effort will be there from the Dockers, but the Cats surely have an edge in class. On every line, Geelong possesses a match-winner where the Dockers have an honest journeyman. Even if this match was played in Perth, we'd be tempted to pick the Cats to overcome the persistent purple warriors.
NEXT WEEK'S SCHEDULE:
Swan midfielder Daniel Hannebery attracts a crowd. Photo: Getty Images
Friday September 14
Second Semi Final
Adelaide Crows v Winner Geelong Cats/Fremantle at AAMI Stadium, 8.10pm
Saturday September 15
First Semi Final; Collingwood v Winner West Coast/North Melbourne at the MCG, 7.45pm (series ticket match)
In each case for the semi-final matches, the AFL said it was appropriate the top-four side had a longer break into the game, than the side coming from the elimination finals.
AFL General Manager Broadcasting, Scheduling and Legal Affairs Simon Lethlean said the First Semi Final had been programmed as a night game at the MCG to maximise both the match-day and television audience, and the AFL would work with its partner airline Virgin to ensure that West Coast was able to return to Perth that night, after the match, should the Eagles qualify for the game.
SYDNEY 2.2 7.2 8.4 11.5 (71)
ADELAIDE 1.3 2.7 3.10 5.12 (42)
Goals: Sydney: A Goodes 3 L Jetta 2 M Morton 2 B McGlynn J Kennedy L Parker S Reid. Adelaide: G Johncock I Callinan N van Berlo R Sloane T Walker.
Best: Sydney: R O’Keefe A Goodes J Kennedy R Shaw D Hannebery T Richards J McVeigh. Adelaide: S Thompson D Mackay B Reilly B Vince M Doughty.
Umpires: Justin Schmitt, Matt Stevic, Luke Farmer.
Official Crowd: 44,849 at AAMI Stadium.
Match report: click here
- Mitch Morton came into the Sydney team as a late replacement for Tommy Walsh and made a crucial contribution in a low-scoring game, with 14 possessions, two goals and a goal assist.
- Key Crows Daniel Talia (shoulder/arm) and Patrick Dangerfield (face) sustained injuries in the final quarter. Swans forward/midfielder Ben McGlynn appeared to tear his hamstring and he was subbed out late in the third quarter.
- Adelaide had 59 inside-50s to 37, and kicked 1-7 to 5.0 from set shots.
- Lewis Roberts Thompson was superb in defence, going back after Heath Grundy was suspended for a week.
- Sydney won the clearances 42-32 and out-tackled Adelaide 76 to 50
- Ryan O'Keefe (37 possessions) and Josh Kennedy (36) out-stripped their Crows counterparts Patrick Dangerfield (21 ) and Scott Thompson (28)
- Between them, feted ruckmen Sam Jacobs and Shane Mumford took one mark.
- Crows forwards Taylor Walker and Kurt Tippett scored just 1.3 between them.
Patrick Dangerfield is led to the footy by Craig Bird. Photo: Getty Images
FINAL SCORE Adelaide 5.12 (42) v Sydney 11.5 (71)
Possessions: Adelaide: Thompson 28, Doughty 26, Mackay 24, Sloane 24, Vince 23, Reilly 23. Sydney: O'Keefe 37, Kennedy 36, Shaw 27, Hanneberry 27, Goodes 22, McVeigh 22.
FINAL SCORE Adelaide 5.12 (42) v Sydney 11.5 (71)
Sydney gets a week off and a home preliminary final. Adelaide will next week host the winner of Geelong v Fremantle. The remaining Crows fans indulge in some ump-booing as the Swans theme song banjo solo rings out across AAMI Stadium. Earlier, that stadium was filled with 44,849 raucous fans. But make no mistake, Sydney was a convincing and deserved winner. Adelaide threw everything they had at the shrewd Swans, but the visitors soaked up incredible pressure, and set up higher percentage scoring chances on the rebound. Players like Goodes and Jetta, whose form had been questioned, produced influential contributions, Lewis Roberts Thompson covered for the absent Heath Grundy magnificently in defence, and Josh Kennedy and Ryan O'Keefe led a hard-nosed midfield.
In two weeks, Sydney celebrates Jude Bolton's 300th game with a home final against either West Coast or Collingwood. They would be confident, even against nemesis Collingwood, after such a sterling performance on the road.
Adelaide didn't want for effort, but their efficiency going forward was poor, and they missed too many set shots in a game where scoring chances were at a premium. They had nine players who were experiencing their first final, and will be better for the experience, but will have to work on their skills under pressure to progress beyond the second week of the finals.
Q4 0.15 Adelaide 5.12 (42) v Sydney 11.5 (71)
Adelaide goes forward, as itt has for the majority of the game. And yet again a Swan stands firm and takes an intercepting mark, Malceski this time.
Crows fans queue outside the stadium before the Second Qualifying Final. Photo: Getty Images
Q4 1.20 Adelaide 5.12 (42) v Sydney 11.5 (71)
Patrick Dangerfield is in the hands of trainers after copping an accidental blow from Bolton when kicking.
Q4 2.18 Adelaide 5.12 (42) v Sydney 11.5 (71)
Suddenly you can hear the seagulls, and the aisles are filled with departing fans. How bad can a traffic jam be in wee Adelaide?
Q4 4.27 Adelaide 5.11 (41) v Sydney 11.5 (71)
Courageous marking effort from Mattner holds up another attack, then Kennedy gets a 50 metre penalty after marking. Set shot from just inside 50 could shut the gate. He nails it with a floating mongrel, and the Swans surely are home. 34 possessions for Kennedy ina typically barnstorming performance, especially since half-time.
AFL 2nd Qualifying Final : Adelaide v Sydney Swans
The Swans who lead at every change against Adelaide ran out winners by 29 points to give them a home final. The win came at a cost though, as Ben McGlynn will miss the rest of finals after tearing his hamstring in third qtr. Final score 11.5(71)to 5.12(42). Photo: Getty Images
Q4 6.20 Adelaide 5.11 (41) v Sydney 10.5 (65)
Riley finds Johncock 40 metres out with a fine left foot pass. He must convert to give the Crows a chance. Never a chance, way to the left. 1.7 from set shots Adelaide, 5.0 the Swans.
Q4 8.31 Adelaide 5.10 (40) v Sydney 10.5 (65)
The frenzied attack of Adelaide's opening minutes of the quarter has abated a little. They are looking to boot the ball as long as possible from the midfield, but the heroic Swans defence is still dominating.
Q4 10.24 Adelaide 5.10 (40) v Sydney 10.5 (65)
Talia looks to have injured his arm, wrist or shoulder, and the rising star is being helped off the ground.
Q4 11.42 Adelaide 5.10 (40) v Sydney 10.5 (65)
There it is. Jack intercept mark, Goodes inside 50, Morton mark, and ghosting past is Jetta, who finishes on the run from 40. Crucial goal. The roaring crowd is silenced for the first time in an hour.
Q4 12.39 Adelaide 5.10 (40) v Sydney 9.5 (59)
Sydney's push-back against the Adelaide surge is on in earnest now. They know one more goal may be enough.
Q4 12.39 Adelaide 5.10 (40) v Sydney 9.5 (59)
Tippett twice gets to the front and nearly marks. Goodes provides for Morton, whose kick goes wide, and O'Keefe's snap goes through for a behind.
Q4 14.17 Adelaide 5.10 (40) v Sydney 9.4 (58)
Immense pressure on Sydney. Their defenders kick out on the full twice in a row. But they hold on. Can they keep doing so for another 20 minutes?
SUBSTITUTION ADELAIDE RILEY ON FOR CALLINAN
Q4 16.20 Adelaide 5.10 (40) v Sydney 9.4 (58)
Long, long Thompson kick seemingly sets up Tippett, but he overruns the footy and Callinan spirits in to boot the goal from the square. Crows will not lay down, this will go to the wire.
Q4 16.20 Adelaide 4.10 (34) v Sydney 9.4 (58)
Sub Parker's first kick is a right-foot snap from 20 metres out on the pocket, which restores a four-goal lead for the Swans
Q4 17.23 Adelaide 4.10 (34) v Sydney 8.4 (52)
Adelaide taking the game on in defence, playing with verve, but O'Keefe then Pyke stand firm to turn the tide.
Q4 18.55 Adelaide 4.10 (34) v Sydney 8.4 (52)
Perfect start for the Crows, with Talia's contested mark at half back setting up Dangerfield. His long kick was roved by Johncock, who converted on the run from 45 metres.
SUBSTITUTION SYDNEY PARKER ON FOR MCGLYNN (SUSPECTED HAMSTRING INJURY)
THREE QUARTER TIME Adelaide 3.10 (28) v Sydney 8.4 (52)
THREE QUARTER TIME Adelaide 3.10 (28) v Sydney 8.4 (52)
The footy got better the harder it became to score that term. A pulsating quarter of finals footy which would make anyone underestimating there two teams take pause. Just a goal each in the third quarter, with Sydney answering Adelaide's belated major immediately inside the last two minutes.
Q3 0.52 Adelaide 3.10 (28) v Sydney 8.4 (52)
From the centre bounce clearance, Morton outmarks two defenders, then cooly converts the set shot from 35. Magnificent from the late inclusion, a stroke of genius from the Swans brains trust. the quick answer from Sydney cancels out a quarter of work from Adelaide.
Q3 1.25 Adelaide 3.10 (28) v Sydney 7.4 (46)
Finally! Mackay's long kick bounces high close to goal, Sloane pushes off, grabs a yard and screws it back over his left shoulder ot make the crowd go crazy. First goal of the quarter keeps Adelaide in the game.
Q3 1.45 Adelaide 2.10 (22) v Sydney 7.4 (46)
Swans win a series of one on ones on the wing, Jack getting a free for a high tackle, McGlynn marks 60 out, Kennedy's snap off the pack just misses.
Q3 3.17 Adelaide 2.10 (22) v Sydney 7.3 (45)
Crows shares the footy, trying to prise a gap in the pack following the play. Stoppage two metres from the posts deep in attack.
Q3 4.00 Adelaide 2.10 (22) v Sydney 7.3 (45)
This is real finals footy now, the pressure massive, stoppages fewer, these boys are going to need a rest after this game.
Q3 4.59 Adelaide 2.10 (22) v Sydney 7.3 (45)
Walker leads yet again, and this time holds on to a low short pass. Set shot from 45 is crucial. It fades late to hit the post. 1.6 from set shots for the Crows.
Q3 6.54 Adelaide 2.9 (21) v Sydney 7.3 (45)
Richards cleans up after Walker dropped a chest mark on the lead, but the Crows keep coming... and Richards spoils Walker again, brilliantly, from behind.
Q3 8.53 Adelaide 2.9 (21) v Sydney 7.3 (45)
Jetta runs down Dangerfield on the wing, the two quickest players in the game taking each other on, thrilling stuff. Talia holds Goodes at bay deep in defence. Neither team finding it easy to score. Game in the balance.
Q3 9.47 Adelaide 2.9 (21) v Sydney 7.3 (45)
Amazing pressure inside Sydney's 50 metre arc as the Crows tackle desperately, trying to avoid a five-goal margin. Next goal crucial.
Q3 11.05 Adelaide 2.9 (21) v Sydney 7.3 (45)
Walker misses a precious set shot after a strong mark, then Mackay sprays a good chance on the run from 35 from the kick-in.
Q3 16.40 Adelaide 2.7 (19) v Sydney 7.3 (45)
Crows going man on man, rather than allowing loose men in defence, but Sydney is having the better of the early exchanges in the second half, their defence again clearing from the contests at half-back.
Q3 19.15 Adelaide 2.7 (19) v Sydney 7.3 (45)
Morton's snap hits the post, saving Adelaide from a big margin early in the second half.
HALF-TIME Adelaide 2.7 (19) v Sydney 7.2 (44)
30 inside-50s to 16 for Adelaide, but just two goals. It's a defensive peformance reminiscent of St Kilda under Ross Lyon. Sydney 44 tackles to 29. Clearances: Adel 22, Syd 19. Contested possessions 69 apiece.
HALF-TIME Adelaide 2.7 (19) v Sydney 7.2 (44)
Defensive, opportunistic masterclass from the Swans that half. They made every Crows forward entry a chaos of pressure and congestion, and most of theirs matters of space and set shots. One can't help but feel that the Crows will string a few consecutive goals together at some stage, but this is a big margin for ean experienced team playing with confidence and good systems. Adam Goodes has kicked more goals than Adelaide, and his skill in space is causing all sorts of issues for the Crows defence.
Q2 0.21 Adelaide 2.7 (19) v Sydney 7.2 (44)
Reilly tries to find Shaw across goals, but Goodes worries the youngster into letting the ball go out of bounds. Next play? Goodes mark 35 metres out. Goal. That's three for Goodes, they have no answer to his smarts and work ethic.
Q2 1.51 Adelaide 2.7 (19) v Sydney 6.2 (38)
Mackay wins the ball strongly on the wing, but his kick is aimless and the Swans disect the midfield with foot passes, Mattner starting a series of passes which end with Goodes on 50. He tires to pass short inside 50 and it comes unstuck. Adelaide pressing hard after the team-lifting van Berlo goal.
Q2 4.20 Adelaide 2.7 (19) v Sydney 6.2 (38)
Thompson's snap from an inside 50 stoppage drifts wide. Sydney has kept Aelaide on the outer side for most of the quarter, where the breeze is at its trickiest.
Q2 5.37 Adelaide 2.6 (18) v Sydney 6.2 (38)
Having almost reached the point of no return, Adelaide respond, with Smith running and bouncing, then passing to van Berlo, whose 55 metre drop punt sails through.
Q2 6.54 Adelaide 1.6 (12) v Sydney 6.2 (38)
Sydney rebounds into an open forward line, Goodes sets the kick in front of Jetta and he outruns Doughty to snap the major from 20 metres out. Goodes and Jetta are rising to the occasion, having had their form questioned in the lead-up.
Q2 7.00 Adelaide 1.6 (12) v Sydney 5.2 (32)
23 inside 50s to 12, but Sydney hold a solid lead.
Q2 7.40 Adelaide 1.6 (12) v Sydney 5.2 (32)
Lewis Roberts-Thompson tags the bouncing footy right on the line after a snap from Scott Thompson.
Q2 9.05 Adelaide 1.5 (11) v Sydney 5.2 (32)
The Sydney defence has been superb, Adelaide are kicking to packs under pressure, unable to set up easy scoring chances or hit up leads in space.
Q2 10.57 Adelaide 1.5 (11) v Sydney 5.2 (32)
Q2 12.05 Adelaide 1.4 (10) v Sydney 5.2 (32)
Late inclusion Mitch Morton delivers a long, right to left set shot goal from 50 after another skill error under pressure from the Crows. Four in a row to the Swans. Adelaide are yet to have a possession inside 50 this quarter despite going in foru times.
Q2 14.54 Adelaide 1.4 (10) v Sydney 4.2 (26)
Swans are going forward less frequently, but finding way more space when they do. Two passses in the centre square, then a brilliant long passs from McVeigh for Reid, and the tall key forward converts for a more than handy lead.
Q2 16.32 Adelaide 1.4 (10) v Sydney 3.2 (20)
Vince set shot from free kick at 50 drifts wide. Crows need reward for effort, Swans are picking them off on the rebound. Or they might need to hang tough and keep it close until this exhausting defensive effort wanes.
Q2 17.35 Adelaide 1.3 (9) v Sydney 3.2 (20)
Turnover goal for McGlynn in the goalsquare after forward pressure coughed up an errant handball at halfback.
QUARTER TIME Adelaide 1.3 (9) v Sydney 2.2 (14)
Tight, tough quarter, as expected. Sydney defended well, Adelaide went forward more.
Inside 50s: Adelaide 14, Sydney 7. Tackles: Adelaide 15, Sydney 22. Marks: Adelaide 27, Sydney 12. Contested possessions: Adelaide 33, Sydney 37.
Q1 0.34 Adelaide 1.3 (9) v Sydney 2.2 (14)
Sydney tries some keepings off, but LRT's kick is not up to it, and another inside-50 results for Adelaide.
Q1 1.45 Adelaide 1.3 (9) v Sydney 2.2 (14)
The tackling is fierce, and there are plenty of stoppages, neither team setting up much space for their forwards. Both teams are clogging up their backlines with a spare defender.
Q1 2.54 Adelaide 1.3 (9) v Sydney 2.2 (14)
Johncock's clever centreing kick finds Mackay 40 out directly in front. Set shot starts left and stays left for a behind. It's shaping as a game in which the team that takes its chances will win.
Q1 3.45 Adelaide 1.2 (8) v Sydney 2.2 (14)
Great pressure from the Crows forwards but tough nuts like Kennedy stand up to the frenzied tackling, and Porplyzia catches O'Keefe too high.
Q1 5.00 Adelaide 1.2 (8) v Sydney 2.2 (14)
Adelaide forced into slow ball movement along the wings, Sydney manning up well.
Q1 6.39 Adelaide 1.2 (8) v Sydney 2.2 (14)
Jetta's long shot on the run drifts wide to the right. He's more involved early than he has been in recent weeks. The action is frantic but not as brutal as last night's opening quarter.
Q1 10.19 Adelaide 1.1 (7) v Sydney 2.1 (13)
Adam Goodes nails a set shot from outside 50 after Sydney wins the centre clearance following Walker's goal.
Q1 10.59 Adelaide 1.1 (7) v Sydney 1.1 (7)
Ivan Maric's mullet may be more famous in Melbourne, but Walker's hairdo is at new heights of ugliness today, trimmed in front and flanging behind.
Q1 10.59 Adelaide 1.1 (7) v Sydney 1.1 (7)
Walker spoilt well by LRT after fine work on 50 from Wright. Swans defence holds firm as the Crows press hard. But Reilly's long kick gives mullet-headed Walker another chance and he outmarks Mumford. Set shot from 35 goes through the middle.
Q1 13.34 Adelaide 0.1 (1) v Sydney 1.1 (7)
McVeigh's corridor kick finds Goodes 80 out with an empty forward line ahead. He runs, bounces and delivers a goal.
Q1 14.20 Adelaide 0.1 (1) v Sydney 0.1 (1)
Walker hits the inside of the post with a set shot from 50. First convincing inside 50 for the Crows.
Q1 15.35 Adelaide 0.0 (0) v Sydney 0.1 (1)
McGlynn's snap from 20 metres goes wide.
Q1 17.46 Adelaide 0.0 (0) v Sydney 0.0 (0)
No meaningful forward entries yet as play is confined to the member's wing. Jack appears to be running with Dangerfield.
Q1 19.22 Adelaide 0.0 (0) v Sydney 0.0 (0)
Less than a minute gone and three stoppages already.
Q1 Adelaide 0.0 (0) v Sydney 0.0 (0)
Adam Goodes lines up on a wing. Roberts Thompson starts on Tippett, Richards on Walker.
Latest feeling of pundits is that Sydney will have to dominate the midfield to win, given its iffy attack and the absence of Heath grundy in defence.
The sky is clearing and the sun is breaking through at AAMI Stadium as the teams huddle for the last time before the bounce. Ground looks in perfect condition.
"Ladies and gentlemen..."
The familiar voice of announcer Craig Willis asks spectators to be upstanding... for the familiar recorded voice of Julie Anthony singing the national anthem. Cue big roar.
It's cool and grey in Adelaide, with the temperature hovering beneath the forecast top of 15 degrees. The Swans have shuffled deckchairs with their last-minute change of Morton for Walsh. Neither has made the third forward's role their own this year, but ex-Tiger Morton has looked more dangerous in his two games than Walsh in his three games.
Adelaide: NO CHANGE
Sydney Swans: Tommy Walsh replaced in selected side by Mitch Morton
STARTING INTERCHANGE BENCHES
Adelaide: Graham Johncock, Ian Callinan, Brodie Smith
Substitute: Aidan Riley
Sydney Swans: Nic Malceski, Craig Bird, Lewis Jetta
Substitute: Luke Parker
There are pundits who were relieved that ace Swans defender Heath Grundy missed this intriguing qualifying final through suspension. Not because they have anything against the All-Australian contender, but because it made tipping a winner in this game a little easier. Add Grundy's absence to Adelaide's home ground advantage and their dominant recent record over the Swans - 13-4 in the 2000s and wins in eight of their past nine clashes - and the Crows appear the obvious pick.
Taylor Walker and Kurt Tippett are more obvious key forward targets, the Crows beat the Swans earlier this year on their favoured SCG, and the Crows have won four of their past five games, whereas the Swans have dropped three of their past four matches.
However, that Sydney midfield, deep, and tough, appears perfectly suited to finals' footy, they were only beaten by five points by Adelaide in round six, and their recent losses have been marginal affairs against the best teams in the league. And Lewis Roberts-Thompson, who cut his teeth on playing as a key backman, is a more than capable replacement for Grundy.
Expect a firece, exciting clash, with both teams proud of their ability to win the contested ball and spread with alacrity. If Lewis Jetta has learnt how to break the shackles applied to him by the league's elite in recent weeks, the Swans have the firepower on the rebound to push the hosts all the way.
The easiest tip might be to expect a thriller.