It may seem hard to contemplate with the Melbourne winter we have been enduring, but with just five rounds of the AFL Home & Away season to go, it is not long until spring will be upon us. And for footy fans that means finals time!
The top eight is currently split between four interstate sides; Adelaide, Sydney, Greater Western Sydney and West Coast, and four from Victoria; Hawthorn, Western Bulldogs, Geelong and North Melbourne (current as of 22nd July).
Just a short time ago, we thought the finals participants were settled, but North Melbourne’s mid season struggles and their recent loss to Port Adelaide, has left the door ajar for late season change.
Sydney has shown they will once again be a force to be reckoned with come finals time with a rejuvenated Buddy Franklin leading their charge.
Greater Western Sydney will embark on their first finals campaign, continuing their maturity into the competition heavy weights that we always knew they would become. This transformation was perhaps best emphasised by the Giants’ 75 point win over Hawthorn in Round 6.
With the Western Bulldogs firmly entrenched in a finals position, it’s possible Marvel Stadium will be utilised for finals in Week 1, with the competition’s entertainers getting the chance to strut their stuff on home turf.
Geelong is looking to rekindle its not so long ago glory years with their star recruit Patrick Dangerfield putting them back in contention.
In what has been a very even season in the top half of the ladder, Adelaide are the form team of the moment and West Coast still has dreams of avenging their Grand Final loss in 2015.
Meanwhile, the more things change, the more they stay the same with Hawthorn a game clear at the top of the ladder and closing in on a momentous fourth premiership in a row. Thought to be struggling at one stage, the Hawks have won all their decisive matches and are once again looking ominous.
The last four AFL Grand Finals have featured an interstate team, and with the strength of the non-Victorian sides again this season, we can expect an influx of interstate visitors to Melbourne for the traditional September finals carnival.
However with another five rounds to go until the Home & Away Season is completed, and the game of snakes and ladders continuing within the top 8, it is far too early to predict exact finals fixturing at this stage.
One certainty is that the 2016 AFL Grand Final will take place on Saturday 1st October at the MCG with a public holiday the day before, attracting crowds of 100,000 from Greater Melbourne, Regional Victoria and across the country.
Make the most of the AFL footy finals with a weekend in Melbourne. Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders is ideally located within walking distance of Marvel Stadium, and just a short tram ride from the MCG.
The hotel’s Weekend Special package includes:
- Accommodation for 2 adults, staying Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday night
- Buffet breakfast for two
- Late 4pm check-out (subject to availability)
- IHG Rewards Club members receive an additional 5% off. Not a member? Join Free!
- Kids Stay & Eat Free