The first round of finals games will see the top four from each conference clash in a knock-out format with no second chances.
Semi-final 1 (Saturday, March 21)
North Melbourne and Collingwood will come face to face in the first match on Saturday, as they’re the 1st and 4th teams in conferences A and B. The Roos are of course coming off a stellar home and away season, having only lost the one game to the Dees by a narrow margin back in Round 1. Many of their wins have been convincing, clearly not having much trouble converting in their forward half.
On the other hand, Collingwood have had wins and close losses in games against the strongest teams in their conference. Only last week, they beat the Brisbane Lions by 29 points. They also lossed against Freo back in Round 3 by a mere three points, meaning that they’re capable of turning up the heat and physicality when the occasion warrants it.
Semi-final 2 (Saturday, March 21)
GWS Giants will host the Melbourne Demons on Saturday afternoon in the second finals game of 2020. The Giants have been simmering quietly on the periphery of the season this year, having only had convincing wins against the two teams sitting bottom of the ladder. It’s anyone’s guess how they might go in a high-stakes knock-out game against the team that have well and truly held their own in Conference B.
Melbourne have the same win/loss tally as their opponents and they’re almost as equally unpredictable. It remains to be seen whether their recent loss to Carlton might have shaken their confidence heading into finals. It is worth remembering though, that they had a very notable win agains the otherwise unbeaten Roos, so we know what they’re capable of.
Semi-final 4 (Saturday, March 21)
The west coast will see an exciting match up of the as yet unbeaten Freo Dockers and the up-and-coming red and gold expansion team, the Gold Coast Suns. The home team have broken a number of records for the AFLW this year; they’re the only team to have made it through six rounds undefeated, they played in the game with the highest ever aggregate score, and they boast Kiara Bowers, the best tackler the league has ever seen. WA has high hopes that their treasured purple-clad warriors will bring home the glory for what would be the first time ever for the club.
The Gold Coast Suns will be attempting to continue their upward trajectory to make it into the preliminary finals in their inaugural season. They’re the only expansion team to make it into the finals this year, and it will be interesting to see what they make of Freo’s physicality. They have had a bit of a rocky season, but there is no doubt that they have some star power that could see this being a closer match than many expect.
Semi-final 3 (Sunday, March 22)
Brisbane Lions will be stepping onto enemy territory for the match against Carlton at Ikon Park on Sunday. While the Lions started the season strong, the last few weeks have seen them falter, first losing to Freo in the Round 5 cross-conference game, and then to Collingwood in the surprise upset of Round 6. Carlton have two more wins under their belt, so the Lions will need to up their game and put the memories from the last couple of rounds behind them if they want to proceed to the prelims.
Carlton have only lost the one game to the Pies way back in Round 2. Their accuracy around the posts has improved significantly since the early days though, and any team will be hard-pressed to challenge their forward line as it stands now. They’ve battled their way to second place in Conference B and they certainly won’t relinquish their hold on the season without a fight. This should be a game not to be missed.
⚡️ I refuse to do the same as everyone else because I refuse to be like everyone else 💯 pic.twitter.com/Ua5DLkAwWL— Tayla Harris (@taylaharriss) March 12, 2020