2008 AFL finals series

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The Australian Football League's 2008 Finals Series determined the top eight final positions of the 2008 AFL season. It began on the weekend of 5 September 2008 and ended with the 112th AFL Grand Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 27 September 2008. The Hawthorn Hawks were crowned the 2008 AFL Premiers, beating the Geelong Cats by 26 points in front of a mammoth crowd of 100,012.

The eight teams qualified for the finals series by finishing in the top eight positions of the premiership ladder at the completion of the home and away series.

Final Ladder[edit]

With 21 wins and one loss Geelong continued from its crushing 2007 performance to dominate the home and away rounds of 2008.

Summary of results[edit]

  Qualifying / Elimination finals Semi-finals Preliminary finals Grand final
                                   
  QF1: Sep 7, MCG  
1  Geelong 17.17 (119)  
4  St Kilda 8.13 (61)     SF1: Sep 13, MCG  
     St Kilda 17.4 (106)    
EF1: Sep 6, AAMI Stadium      Collingwood 9.18 (72)       PF1: Sep 19, MCG
5  Adelaide 14.10 (94)        Geelong 12.11 (83)  
8  Collingwood 19.11 (125)          Western Bulldogs 7.12 (54)     GF: Sep 27, MCG
         Geelong 11.23 (89)
  EF2: Sep 6, ANZ Stadium       PF2: Sep 20, MCG      Hawthorn 18.7 (115)
6  Sydney 17.8 (110)          Hawthorn 18.10 (118)  
7  North Melbourne 11.9 (75)     SF2: Sep 12, MCG        St Kilda 9.10 (64)  
     Western Bulldogs 16.10 (106)    
QF2: Sep 5, MCG      Sydney 9.15 (69)    
2  Hawthorn 18.19 (127)  
3  Western Bulldogs 11.10 (76)  


The finals system[edit]

Main article: AFL finals system

The system is a final eight system. This system is different from the McIntyre Final Eight System, which was previously used by the AFL, and is currently used by the National Rugby League.

The top four teams in the eight receive what is popularly known as the "double chance" when they play in week-one qualifying finals; this means that if a top-four team loses in the first week, it still has a chance to redeem itself by getting a chance to play in a semi-final the next week against the winner of an elimination final. The bottom four of the eight are forced to play what are called elimination finals, in which only the winners survive and move on to week two to play the losers of the qualifying finals.

In the second week, the winners of the qualifying finals receive a bye to the third week, while the losers of those qualifying finals must play the winners of the elimination finals for a chance to play the qualifying finals winners. Home-city advantage goes to the team with the higher seed in the first two weeks, and the qualifying final winners in the third week, with games in Victoria played at the MCG, regardless of the team's usual home ground.

In the third week, the winners of the semi-finals from week two play the winners of the qualifying finals in the first week, with the latter receiving home-ground advantage. The winners of those matches move on to the Grand Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, where the new premier will be crowned.[1]

Week One[edit]

First Qualifying Final (Geelong vs St Kilda)[edit]

Geelong vs St Kilda
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Final
Geelong 3.7 (25) 7.10 (52) 16.15 (111) 17.17 (119)
St Kilda 1.1 (7) 3.2 (20) 5.5 (35) 8.13 (61)
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Date and time: 7 September 2008 – 2:40PM AEST
Attendance: 71,653
Umpires: Hayden Kennedy, Simon Meredith, Shane McInerney
Goal scorers: Geelong 3: Mooney, Ottens
2: Bartel, Lonergan
1: G.Ablett, Chapman, S.Johnson, Ling, Rooke, Stokes, Varcoe
St Kilda 2: Milne
1: X. Clarke, R. Clarke, Goddard, Montagna, Riewoldt, Schneider
Best: Geelong Bartel, Ottens, G. Ablett, Mooney, Corey, Milburn, Taylor, Ling
St Kilda Goddard, S. Fisher, Jones, Hayes
Reports: St Kilda: Hayes for striking Selwood (Geelong) in the third quarter
Geelong: Nil
Injuries: Geelong: Prismall (knee), Chapman (hamstring), S. Johnson (corked hamstring), Milburn (thumb)
St Kilda: Blake (wrist)
Australian television broadcaster: Seven Network


St Kilda finished in 4th spot on the AFL Ladder after thrashing Essendon by 108 points in the final regular season match. They entered this match with the double chance and were beaten by 58 points. Onballer Lenny Hayes was booked for striking Geelong's Joel Selwood in the third quarter, a report that was later dropped. Geelong earned a bye and home preliminary final with its win, whilst St Kilda was forced to face Collingwood, a team that they had twice lost to in the regular season, in a semi-final.

Second Qualifying Final (Hawthorn vs Western Bulldogs)[edit]

Hawthorn vs Western Bulldogs
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Final
Hawthorn 4.5 (29) 10.12 (72) 15.17 (107) 18.19 (127)
Western Bulldogs 2.1 (13) 4.4 (28) 7.7 (49) 11.10 (76)
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Date and time: 5 September 2008 – 7:50PM AEST
Attendance: 76,703
Umpires: Chris Donlon, Brett Rosebury, Shaun Ryan
Goal scorers: Hawthorn 8: Franklin
4: Osborne
3: Roughead
1: Brown, Crawford, Lewis
Western Bulldogs 3: Akermanis
2: Giansiracusa, Cooney, Hill
1: Higgins, Johnson
Best: Hawthorn Franklin, Hodge, Mitchell, Osborne, Sewell, Lewis, Roughead
Western Bulldogs Griffen, Cross, Akermanis, Boyd, Hill, Callan
Reports: Nil
Injuries: Hawthorn: Croad (ankle), Birchall (corked thigh), Ladson (AC joint), Stokes (corked thigh), Gilham (virus) replaced in the selected side by Stokes
Western Bulldogs: Gilbee (calf), Murphy (corked knee)
Australian television broadcaster: Seven Network


For much of the second half of the season, Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs looked certain to finish second and third (in some order), setting up this particular qualifying final; Hawthorn would ultimately be the home team after the Bulldogs' late-season form dropped. Hawthorn won the match comfortably, with Lance Franklin kicking eight goals (the most ever in a final by a Hawthorn player) to earn a week's break, whilst the Western Bulldogs were forced to host the Sydney Swans, whom they had beaten twice during the year, in a semi-final.

First Elimination Final (Adelaide vs Collingwood)[edit]

Adelaide vs Collingwood
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Final
Adelaide 2.2 (14) 9.6 (60) 11.7 (73) 14.10 (94)
Collingwood 4.3 (27) 7.6 (48) 14.9 (93) 19.11 (125)
Venue: AAMI Stadium, Adelaide
Date and time: 6 September 2008 – 2:30PM AEST
Attendance: 37,685
Umpires: Mathew James, Scott McLaren, Matt Stevic
Goal scorers: Adelaide 6: Stevens
2: McLeod
1: Mackay, Edwards, Maric, Johncock, Bassett, Gill
Collingwood 3: Dawes, Anthony
2: Swan, Maxwell
1: Cox, Davis, Fraser, Cloke, R. Shaw, Lockyer, Thomas, Clarke, Medhurst
Best: Adelaide Stevens, Bassett, McLeod, Bock, Edwards, Moran
Collingwood Swan, O'Bree, Maxwell, Pendlebury, Anthony, Medhurst
Reports: Nil
Injuries: Nil
Australian television broadcaster: Network Ten


Two teams who were early-season top-four candidates were playing for survival in this elimination final played at AAMI Stadium on a fine 26 degree C day. Collingwood started slight favorites and led early in the match but Adelaide got its game going, with a season's best second quarter, to lead at half-time before quickly falling behind for good during a second half collapse. For the second year in succession, Adelaide were eliminated the first week of the finals, whilst Collingwood went on to face St Kilda in a semi-final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Second Elimination Final (Sydney vs North Melbourne)[edit]

Sydney vs North Melbourne
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Final
Sydney 1.5 (11) 4.6 (30) 12.7 (79) 17.8 (110)
North Melbourne 4.1 (25) 7.4 (46) 10.5 (65) 11.9 (75)
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Date and time: 6 September 2008 – 7:30PM AEST
Attendance: 19,127
Umpires: Ray Chamberlain, Stephen McBurney, Michael Vozzo
Goal scorers: Sydney 3: Goodes, Hall, Jack
2: Moore, O'Keefe
1: Malceski, McVeigh, Richards, Veszpremi
North Melbourne 2: Harvey, Grant, Hale, Lower
1: Petrie, Sinclair, Thompson
Best: Sydney Kirk, Richards, Goodes, McVeigh, O'Keefe, Hall, Jack
North Melbourne Harvey, Petrie, Pratt, Harris, Lower, Hale
Reports: Nil
Injuries: Sydney: Bird replaced in selected side by Veszpremi
North Melbourne: Hansen replaced in selected side by Urquhart
Australian television broadcaster: Network Ten


These two teams were clashing in a final for the first time since the 1996 AFL Grand Final, which was won by North Melbourne by 43 points. Sydney entered this match having won only three matches since Round 13, but, after a slow start and an ordinary first half, they got on with the job and ended the Kangaroos' season. It was also the last game for retiring Kangaroo and ex-Swan Shannon Grant. The Swans won the right to face the Western Bulldogs the next week at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where they had not won a final since the 2005 AFL Grand Final.

Most controversially, the crowd for this game was a very low 19,127. The AFL attributed the poor turnout to several factors, including high ticket prices, the bad weather (it was raining heavily, and had been doing so for several days) and North Melbourne's lack of popularity in Sydney (where they had once played home games). However, it also attracted heavy commentary in the media and public against the viability of the AFL's decision to base its 18th franchise in Western Sydney.

Week Two[edit]

First Semi Final (St Kilda vs Collingwood)[edit]

St Kilda vs Collingwood
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Final
St Kilda 4.1 (25) 8.1 (49) 14.2 (86) 17.4 (106)
Collingwood 3.4 (22) 4.11 (35) 5.16 (46) 9.18 (72)
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Date and time: 13 September 2008 – 7:30PM AEST
Attendance: 76,707
Umpires: Hayden Kennedy, Brett Rosebury, Scott McLaren
Goal scorers: St Kilda Riewoldt 5, Milne 3, Koschitzke 3, Gram 2, Dal Santo, McQualter, Schneider, Gwilt
Collingwood Clarke, Brown, Medhurst, McCarthy, Cloke, Goldsack, Anthony, Swan, Lockyer
Best: St Kilda Riewoldt, Dal Santo, Gram, R Clarke, Fisher, Blake, Koschitzke
Collingwood Pendlebury, Swan, R Shaw, O'Brien, O'Bree
Reports: St Kilda: Koschitzke reported for rough conduct on Wakelin. Collingwood: nil.
Injuries: St Kilda: Ball (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Allen, Allen (hip). Collingwood: Burns (calf) replaced in selected side by R Shaw, Prestigiacomo replaced in selected side by Wakelin.
Australian television broadcaster: Network Ten


Collingwood came into the game as favourites to defeat St Kilda, who had been on the end of a heavy defeat at the hands of Geelong the week prior, and whom they had beaten twice during the year. St Kilda led by just three points at quarter time but kicked ten goals to Collingwood's two in the middle two quarters to take a 40-point lead going into the final quarter. Justin Koschitzke was reported for a dump tackle involving Shane Wakelin, but the charge was later dismissed. St Kilda progressed to play Hawthorn in the preliminary final, hoping to atone for two previous preliminary final losses (2004 and 2005) to make the Grand Final.

Second Semi Final (Western Bulldogs vs Sydney)[edit]

Western Bulldogs vs Sydney
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Final
Western Bulldogs 2.3 (15) 6.5 (41) 11.9 (75) 16.10 (106)
Sydney 2.4 (16) 5.7 (37) 5.13 (43) 9.15 (69)
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Date and time: 12 September 2008 – 7:50PM AEST
Attendance: 42,731
Umpires: Michael Vozzo, Stephen McBurney, Shaun Ryan
Goal scorers: Western Bulldogs Murphy 3, Welsh 2, Hill 2, Eagleton 2, Johnson, Akermanis, Minson, Griffen, Lake, Hahn, Higgins
Sydney Hall 4, Bevan, Crouch, Goodes, Roberts-Thomson, Jolly
Best: Western Bulldogs Boyd, Morris, Griffen, Murphy, Gilbee, Minson
Sydney Hall, C Bolton, Kirk, Kennelly, McVeigh
Reports: Western Bulldogs: Nil.
Sydney Swans: Leo Barry for striking Shaun Higgins in the final quarter.
Injuries: nil
Australian television broadcaster: Seven Network


Sydney held a one-point lead at quarter time, but failed to score a major in the third quarter, and fell apart to lose by 37 points, thus ending their season at the semi-finals stage. Fullback Leo Barry was booked for striking Shaun Higgins but the report was thrown out. The Western Bulldogs were drawn to play defending premier Geelong in the preliminary final to battle for a Grand Final berth.

Week Three[edit]

First Preliminary Final (Geelong vs Western Bulldogs)[edit]

Geelong vs Western Bulldogs
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Final
Geelong 5.3 (33) 8.8 (56) 10.9 (69) 12.11 (83)
Western Bulldogs 4.3 (27) 5.5 (35) 7.9 (51) 7.12 (54)
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Date and time: 19 September 2008 - 7:40PM AEST
Attendance: 70,140
Umpires: Michael Vozzo, Stephen McBurney, Shaun Ryan
Goal scorers: Geelong Rooke 2, S. Johnson 2, Stokes, Bartel, Wojcinksi, Lonergan, Harley, Ottens, Varcoe, Mooney
Western Bulldogs Higgins 2, Harbrow 2, Johnson, Akermanis, Eagleton
Best: Geelong Mackie, Ling, Harley, Corey, Selwood, Bartel
Western Bulldogs Harbrow, Gilbee, Hargrave, Lake, Murphy, Callan
Reports: Geelong: Nil

Western Bulldogs: Josh Hill for making head-high contact with Andrew Mackie in the third quarter.

Injuries: Geelong: Nil

Western Bulldogs: Giansiracusa (ankle)

Australian television broadcaster: Seven Network


Geelong progressed to their second straight Grand Final but had to, for the second year in succession, withstand a late challenge from their preliminary final opponent. The Western Bulldogs had much of the play, but missed shots on goal in the second half when they were available. This was the Western Bulldogs's furthest finish in a season since 1998, when they made back-to-back preliminary finals.

Second Preliminary Final (Hawthorn vs St Kilda)[edit]

Hawthorn vs St Kilda
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Final
Hawthorn 4.4 (28) 11.5 (71) 15.8 (98) 18.10 (118)
St Kilda 2.3 (15) 3.6 (24) 7.7 (49) 9.10 (64)
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Date and time: 20 September 2008 - 7:00PM AEST
Attendance: 77,002
Umpires: Hayden Kennedy, Brett Rosebury, Scott McLaren
Goal scorers: Hawthorn Williams 5, Roughead 4, Rioli 2, Young 2, Bateman, Brown, Crawford, Franklin, Osborne
St Kilda Riewoldt 3, Fisher 2, Fiora, Milne, Montagna, Schneider
Best: Hawthorn Lewis, Mitchell, Williams, Sewell, Young, Hodge, Guerra, Birchall
St Kilda Hudghton, Goddard, Fisher, Clarke, Hayes
Reports: Nil
Injuries: Hawthorn: Hodge (ribs)

St. Kilda: Nil

Australian television broadcaster: Network Ten


Hawthorn defied a poor recent record against the Saints to post one of their best wins of the season, with strong performances by much of the team making up for Coleman Medallist Lance Franklin being kept to a single goal by Saints backman Max Hudghton. The loss was the 383rd and last game for St Kilda's Robert Harvey who left the game as the most capped player without an AFL premiership.

Week Four[edit]

Grand Final (Geelong vs Hawthorn)[edit]

Main article: 2008 AFL Grand Final


Geelong vs Hawthorn
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Final
Geelong 5.3 (33) 6.12 (48) 9.18 (72) 11.23 (89)
Hawthorn 5.2 (32) 8.3 (51) 14.5 (89) 18.7 (115)
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Date: 27 September 2008 – 2:30PM AEST
Attendance: 100,012
Umpires: Scott McLaren, Michael Vozzo, Shaun Ryan
Goal scorers: Geelong 2: Mooney, Ablett, Rooke, Lonergan
1: Chapman, Milburn, Johnson
Hawthorn 3: Williams
2:
Rioli, Dew, Franklin, Roughead
1: Bateman, Ellis, Brown, Young, Hodge, Mitchell, Ladson
Best: Geelong Ablett, Scarlett, Selwood, Chapman, Corey
Hawthorn Hodge, Sewell, Crawford, Dew, Ellis, Osborne, Williams
Reports: Nil
Injuries: Geelong: Harley (concussion)
Hawthorn: Croad (foot), Young (ankle)
Coin toss winner: Geelong
Norm Smith Medal: Luke Hodge
Australian television broadcaster: Seven Network
National Anthem: Amanda Harrison and Lucy Durack


See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]