23rd Sep 2012 4:58pm | By Jahn Vannisselroy
What a season it’s been. Now it all boils down to two teams who will fight hammer and tongs to claim the flag on Saturday morning.
Like every finals series, there are always talking points and controversies that emerge. Here, we give you a run-down of all the hype leading up to the AFL’s biggest day of 2012.
Debate always rages about who should make the cut, despite the fact that the All Australian team is only chosen on paper and never actually plays.
Still, it’s a big honour for the players named and a source of pride for their clubs and fans.
Fifteen players were first-time selections on this year’s team, captained by West Coast’s Darren Glass – the most since 1982. Of the returning players, Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett and West Coast ruckman Dean Cox joined seven other players as six-time selections.
The West Coast Eagles had the most selections (four), while North Melbourne was the only finalist not to have
a player feature.
Meanwhile, Richmond fans were outraged when Jack Riewoldt was left out, the first Coleman medallist omitted in the same season since Fraser Gehrig of St Kilda in 2005.
Players will be dusting off their suits for the AFL’s annual night of glamour on Wednesday evening.
Gold Coast’s Gary Ablett, considered the league’s best player by many fans and critics, is the bookies’ favourite to take the award, although he will have to see off a strong challenge from Richmond’s captain-in-waiting Trent Cotchin, who recently won his club’s ‘best and fairest’.
Essendon’s Jobe Watson rounds out the top three ahead of hopefuls Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide), Scott Thompson (Adelaide), reigning medallist Dane Swan (Collingwood), Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn), Josh P Kennedy (Sydney), Dayne Beams (Collingwood) and Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood).
The WAGs will be glad with Channel 7’s decision to ditch the ‘WAG-On Wheel’ gimmick that had the ladies standing on a revolving wheel to give fashionistas a 360-degree view of their outfits.
The rotisserie was always a controversial move, one critic labelling it a “giant lazy Susan”.
The AFL was moved to defend its video review system after the reviewer intervened seconds after a Collingwood goal in the Eagles v Magpies semi-final, ruling that an earlier rushed-behind attempt at play from West Coast’s Andrew Embley was indeed successful.
Collingwood fans, whose team eventually won by 13 points, were furious with the call after Magpies utility Tyson Goldsack had appeared to grab the ball on the line and not let it cross entirely.
“The video umpire has that power, but only six calls have been made by the video person this year as the majority are made by the goal umpire,” the league said in a statement.
“The video umpire can call for a review if he sees something before play restarts and the on-field umpires are alerted by audiolink.”
Goldsack also defended the review system.
“It’s a good thing to have – if it went the other way, then you’d like them to call it back,” he said.