With the final eight basically set and only the exact finishing order at stake in Round 23 of the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition, the AFL is looking at the first week of finals potentially showcasing four games at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The scenario seems a bit far-fetched at the moment, relying upon the Brisbane Lions beating the West Coast Eagles. Collingwood should not have any trouble with Fremantle, but that scenario would see the Pies jump up to number two on the ladder.
Fremantle has beaten no winning club this season and after the 133-point beating laid on by the Geelong Cats in Round 22, it would seem as though the Dockers decided that the 29-point win over the Carlton Blues in Round 21 was their Grand Final for the year.
As for Brisbane beating the Eagles at the Gabba well, stranger things have happened, we must admit, but if the Eagles win, their first finals match will be played at the Gabba in Brisbane.
A look at the last five encounters between the two clubs reveals that all have been won by West Coast, two at Domain Stadium and three at the Gabba. The combined victory margin of those five wins by the Eagles was 246 points.
Based on that alone, it would seem that the crew in charge of having the MCG ready for finals would have, at most, three games with which to deal.
MCG, of course, would be delighted to hold four finals, for the obvious financial reasons.
Victorian footy fans would like it as well, as that means more will have the chance to view live at the AFL’s largest venue by far.
Richmond has run off to hide after securing the minor premiership with a round to spare. If the finals began today, they would have Hawthorn, but they have number five Sydney in their immediate future.
The last five times those two clubs have met, Hawthorn has won three and the Swans two. Early betting markets show the Swans as 10.5-point favourites, so if there were to be a shift in the ladder, this would seem a likely place to look for it.