The news that the Australian Rules Football league is now down to four teams after the final round has sent shockwaves through the sport.
But the news is far from the end of the AFL’s struggles, with the AFL now facing the possibility of a long, painful wait for the NRL to be brought back.
The AFL’s rules committee, in a rare move, last night announced that four teams would be eliminated in the next round, with five remaining on the field.
The announcement came after an agonising final round when the reigning champions Melbourne Storm and the current runners-up, Collingwood, were eliminated after being eliminated from the competition last week.
“We’ve just gone through another tough couple of weeks,” said Collingwoods coach Simon Goodwin.
“To come out here and play the game of footy and win the game we just can’t let this game go.”
The Storm had been the favourite to win the match after finishing with an overall record of 15-3, with Melbourne taking a narrow victory in a close battle that saw the Storm take a 34-point lead.
“It’s obviously a huge disappointment,” Storm coach Mick Malthouse said.
“There’s no doubt that it’s one of the best games I’ve ever played in.”
The teams have played in this tournament in the past and obviously the best teams in the league and now they’re gone and it’s just another big disappointment for everyone.
“Malthouse’s Storm were also on the verge of victory at the final hurdle, after being beaten by the Bulldogs in the quarter-finals.
The Bulldogs are also in the final two teams remaining from the current AFL season, with their last win coming against the Western Bulldogs in round three.”
Hardwick was adamant that the Bulldogs were the only team in the competition to be left out of this year’s finals series.””
It’s a big one for us.”
Hardwick was adamant that the Bulldogs were the only team in the competition to be left out of this year’s finals series.
“Our game has not changed from last year,” Hardwick told AFL.com.au.
“I know that’s probably a little bit premature.
I think that’s just the way the league is.”
The Bulldogs’ win over the Bulldogs is the final victory for the club in this year of the Grand Final, and it comes after the Bulldogs finished on a five-point win-loss record against the Bulldogs, with CollingWOOD winning by five points.
The loss to the Bulldogs comes as a blow for the Bulldogs after they finished in second place in the ladder, with a seven-point difference in the last two weeks.
“If we were playing the finals against the West Coast Eagles, we’d have a real chance of making it to the grand final,” Hardrick said.
But Goodwin said that it was also disappointing for the team.
“Every time we lose we lose a bit of respect for the guys that have come through the team,” he said.
Goodwin said the Bulldogs would be aiming to win their second Grand Final in as many seasons.
“That’s a huge accomplishment and a huge credit to the boys,” he added.
“But we have to be very cautious about our next game because we’ve got a game on the weekend.”
So if we don’t make a good start then we’re in a bit more trouble.