THE 2017 season ended in the perfect way to summarise how the year panned out. Heartache and ecstasy overwhelmed West Coast and Melbourne fans as the last spot on the ladder was up for grabs right until the final siren at Subiaco Oval.

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In A Nutshell

– EMOTIONAL scenes began Round 23 with the curtain falling of the wonderful careers of Luke Hodge, Robert Murphy and Matthew Boyd. Hawthorn gave their champ the perfect send off with a nine point W, as the Bulldogs finished 10th drawing a line through their chances of going back-to-back.

– MELBOURNE only have themselves to blame for missing out on the finals in season 2017 after a loss to Collingwood on Saturday. A topsy turvy affair looked like the Dees were going to take the lead late, but Buckley’s men hung on to record their 9th win of the year.

– IN the battle for the wooden spoon, North Melbourne claimed victory handing Brisbane their first bottom of the table finish since 1998. Ben Brown starred with seven goals as the Roos recorded their 2nd biggest margin of victory for the season.

– A timely 10-goal haul delivered Buddy Franklin his 4th Coleman medal and helped the Swans smash the Blues to the tune of 81-points. Sydney recorded their 14th win in 16 games, making them a dangerous finals opponent despite finishing 6th.

AFL Round 23 Wrap Up 1Image from adelaidenow.com.au

– A message was sent to the rest of the league by Geelong as they trumped the Giants by 44 points. The win leaves Geelong in second on the AFL ladder while Greater Western Sydney hung onto a top four finish as well.

– PORT Adelaide strung 12 goals in a row together during the second quarter to run out 115 point winners over the Suns. The massive loss for Gold Coast ends their disappointing season on a low night as the Power surge (pun intended) into the finals.

– WITH a finals spot on the line Essendon took care of a pesky Fremantle outfit and booked their place in September. After back-to-back 100 point losses the Dockers put up much more of a fight, but it still wasn’t enough.

– NICK Riewoldt couldn’t end his career as a winner at the MCG on Sunday with Richmond gearing up for the finals by comfortably beating the Saints. The Tigers 41-point win gave them their first top four finish since 2001 and left the Saints languishing at 11th on the table.

– 2017’s final regular season game didn’t fail to deliver with the Eagles needing to win by 20-25 points to record a spot in the finals. Leading by just 17 points late in the last quarter, Lewis Jetta and Jack Darling kicked late goals to break the hearts of Demons fans across the globe and give Subiaco Oval a fitting farewell.

The Four Points

Can The Swans Pull A Bulldogs On Us?
MANY people think the Swans should be flag favourites after their stellar second half of the season. Cemented by a 13 goal thrashing of Carlton, Sydney will have to do it the hard way if they are going to compete for a flag. With an in form Buddy though anything can happen.

Just How Dangerous Are The Eagles?
WEST Coast showcased on the weekend how well they can do, even if Josh Kennedy doesn’t kick a bag. The Eagles star managed just 1.4 on the weekend in the game against Adelaide with 10 other players managing to kick a goal. They could severely challenge the Power on Saturday night and upset the apple cart.

Will We See Stevie J Again?
AFTER making his way back into the team this week Steve Johnson didn’t exactly shine for the Giants. Managing just eight touches in GWS’ loss to the Cats then Leon Cameron might have to make the tough calls if they are to claim the clubs first flag.

AFL Round 23 Wrap Up 2Image from sbs.com.au

Can Joel Selwood Make A Triumphant Return For The Cats?
WITH the double chance sewn up Geelong faces a tough task this week against the Tigers. If they are going to get the win they will need to be at full strength and that includes skipper Joel Selwood returning from injury.

Power Rankings

1. Sydney Swans (level) – Their smashing of Carlton should put the rest of the league on notice.
2. Geelong Cats (Increase 1) –
My tip for the flag at this point in time.
3. Adelaide Crows (Decrease 1) –
 With back to back losses heading into the finals they aren’t exactly in the perfect place.
4. Richmond Tigers (level) – This weekend could help them shed the label as pretenders.
5. Port Adelaide Power (Increase 1) –
Nearly a 20 goal win is a great way to hit September.
6. GWS Giants (Decrease 1) –
I’m not sold on the Giants, need to show up against the Crows.
7. Essendon Bombers (Increase 1) – Tough ask this weekend.
8. West Coast Eagles (Increase 1) – They had to fight for it, but they deserve to be here.
9. Melbourne Demons (Decrease 2) – 
Shattered.
10. Collingwood Magpies (Increase 2) –
The last few wins may have saved Buckley’s job.
11. Western Bulldogs (Decrease 1) –
Rough end to the season.
12. St Kilda Saints (Decrease 1) –
Couldn’t give Riewoldt the send off that he deserves…
13. Hawthorn Hawks (Increase 1) –
…but the Hawks could for Hodgey.
14. Carlton Blues (Decrease 1) – Didn’t end the season in the best of ways.
15. North Melbourne (Increase 1) – They might have won, but it could be considered a loss getting the #2 pick instead of #1.
16. Brisbane Lions (Decrease 1) – Pretty bad way to end the season.
17. Fremantle Dockers (Increase 1) – Gutsy end of the year.
18. Gold Coast Suns (Decrease 1) –
Ended the season from hell with a triple digit loss.

AFL Round 23 Wrap Up 3Image from twitter.com

YOU have to feel for Demons fans after their gut wrenching finish to the year which caused them to slide down two spots. The rest of the rankings mirrored the results from the weekend, with GWS unable to move up after losing to the Cats. Despite not finishing last on the real table the Suns were the worst performers for season 2017, hence their bottom of the power rankings finish.

Fantasy +3

2153 – WITH Hugh Greenwood out, I decided to throw caution to the wind and bring in Luke Hodge (47) for his farewell game instead of my pre conceived plan of Matt Crouch (150). It was the final disappointing move in a year from hell thank I’m thankful is over.

  • THAT 150 from Crouch was the second highest score of the round. His brother Brad (133) and teammates Rory Sloane (149) also delivered. The ‘Big 3’ Zach Merrett (144), Patrick Dangerfield (114) and Tom Mitchell (120) all delivered while Lance Franklin’s 10 goal haul saw him score a Round 23 high 171 points.
  • HEENEY (64), Dahlhaus (66), Beams (76) and Docherty (66) all failed to fire in the Grand Final for fantasy coaches and it may have coached some a premiership. The first two haven’t exactly been on fire lately, but the latter pair had been dominating as of late.
  • GAME, set, match. The season is done and dusted. Congrats to all those coaches who were able to claim premiership victory and condolences to those who couldn’t. Season 2018 is shaping up to be another one full of incredible highs and agonizing lows, but I’m sure we will all sign up on day one for another year of fantasy action!