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The Five: Preliminary Final

Jennifer Phelan, AFL Media  September 22, 2017 11:22 PM

Team song: Adelaide Watch Crows celebrate their preliminary final win

1. If Eddie doesn't get you, Charlie will
Just who the Cats would task with the unenviable job of stopping Eddie Betts was talked about this week, with Jed Bews – given his decent record against the slippery Crow – the tipped starter. Bews did play on him and Betts got away early, like he did against the Giants two weeks ago, but it was Charlie Cameron who caused Chris Scott the biggest headache. After a goalless game against the Giants, Cameron – largely against Zach Tuohy – was the Crows' speedy spark and connection between midfield and attack. He nailed five goals – three of which came after half-time as his team charged into the decider. It was the sort of performance that would have next week's opposition's coach scratching his head about which one needs more attention given Betts' finals form in week one.

2. Does Gov get a go?
Andy Otten was the inclusion for Mitch McGovern, who missed with the hamstring he strained at training last Saturday, and it was his first AFL game since Round 19. The 28-year-old was serviceable without starring, and had 13 possessions and kicked a goal in the second quarter. But with the Crows hopeful of McGovern's fitness for next week, and the surety the recently re-signed forward will do everything he can to play in the big one against Richmond or Greater Western Sydney, Otten's place in the team is precariously placed – especially given they appear to have gotten through the Preliminary Final in excellent health.


3. The Crows are an intimidating force to be reckoned with
They're through to their first Grand Final since their 1998 premiership triumph, and they did it having started with the same menacing stance they adopted for the national anthem before their Qualifying Final win over GWS. Adelaide hasn't lost a game at home this season when leading at quarter-time, and maintained that record with a six-goal-to-one opening term that got the parochial crowd up and about. The Crows withstood a Geelong surge in the wet second quarter, showing again they stay solid when things get slick, and they didn't panic when Patrick Dangerfield started at full-forward like the Swans did last week. All up, the Crows proved they're not afraid, and will enter next week's Grand Final full of confidence and with no fresh injuries out of Friday night's game.

4. Patrick Dangerfield is mortal after all.
After the success of last week's opening bounce positioning at full-forward wasn't replicated, the Brownlow Medallist moved into the midfield in the second quarter and showed his true class and flare against his former team. Dangerfield, despite constant ear-splitting jeers from the parochial home crowd, had 12 touches and kicked two goals in an incredible term that helped the Cats stay in the contest. Then, minutes before half-time, his brutal front-on collision with good mate Rory Sloane saw him seeing stars. In true Dangerfield fashion, he courageously returned to the field after the main break, but his influence was well down with just nine touches in the second half. His foggy mind space was summed up as the clock ticked into red time in the final quarter when he missed a running goal from point blank range – the type he'd usually eat for breakfast. The midfield bull will be desperately disappointed with his game, but it just goes to show that even champions are human.

Match report: Crows v Cats

5. Seedsman – from the fringe to the AFL Grand Final in six weeks
There's always a good story or two in the finals, and Adelaide winger Paul Seedsman looks likely to go down as one this year. After a summer groin injury lingered into the season, the former Magpie spent much of the second half of the year in the SANFL before he was called up in round 19 to face his former team when Brad Crouch was sidelined with a fractured cheekbone. He went back to the SANFL the week after and played just another two AFL games – including the qualifying final – but now he's more than justified his position in the team. The pacy Seedsman had 19 possessions, kicked two goals and drove the ball inside 50 four times to almost certainly confirm his presence as potentially a premiership player in just over a week's time.