The Sydney Swans had a big problem in its semi-final match against Geelong at the MCG on Friday night -- and his name was Patrick Dangerfield.
While the first quarter started off as a scrappy hotpot of play between the two sides that left both sides more or less on equal terms, Dangerfield's name was the one that kept popping up whenever it looked like the Swans might slip behind.
The full-forward notched up two goals in the opening quarter to seal an early, thin lead for the Cats at three goals to the Swans' two. And while the damage didn't look too bad from the Sydney-side of things, it was the second quarter that really drove home how big of a gap Geelong wanted to create between the two sides.
Sydney were restricted to scoring just a single goal in the second quarter after what seemed like endless miss-kicks, poorly timed passes and badly directed attempts at goal. Even Lance 'Buddy' Franklin seemed to struggle to reach top gear, scoring just a single behind.
And all the while the Cats continued to roar, piling on six extra goals and three behinds. As for Dangerfield? Well, he also kept on scoring with two more goals added to his tally.
Where the gap between Geelong and Sydney started at just a goal, that was soon stretched to two goals, then three, then five, and then before you knew it, it was half-time.
The Swans' deficit was left at 36 points and they looked like they were in for a serious talk from coach John Longmire once they hit the change rooms.
Regardless of whatever Longmire may have said to his team, things didn't get any better for the Swans in the third quarter. The Cats came out looking as strong as they were in the first half and continued to stack on the goals, while also keeping the Swans more or less scoreless.
Sydney managed just a single goal and five behinds while Geelong added four goals to its tally to leave the score at 4.9.33 to 13.4.82 going into the final session of play.
And even though Dangerfield eased up on his attacks, his teammates stepped up to keep the pressure well and truly on the Swans' hopes of progressing any further this season.
This season's finals series was always going to be important for Sydney -- they started the season with 6 consecutive losses, and no other AFL team in history has ever gone on to play finals footy after suffering more than five defeats at the start of a season.
For them, this semi-final was do-or-die and they needed a win to play on, but with Geelong performing as well as they were, it just wasn't to be for the Swans. In the end, Geelong tore away with a 59-point victory, leaving the score at 15.8.98 to 5.9.39.
This win also means the Cats have secured a playoff final match against the Adelaide Crows in Adelaide.
In other finals footy news...
On the flip-side of Friday night finals football, the Brisbane Broncos managed to beat the Penrith Panthers 13-6 at Suncorp Stadium in week two of the NRL finals series.
The game looked predominantly in the hands of Brisbane from the get-go after an early try had them up 6-0 over Penrith in the first 15 minutes.
The Broncos are always a tough team to beat while at home at Suncorp and it seemed the Panthers were in for a tough time after the six-point deficit was extended to 12 following the half-time break.
And while a Reagan Campbell-Gillard try provided a flash of hope to bring Penrith within a converted try of Brisbane within the last 15 minutes of the game, it was Jordan Kahu's field goal in the 70th minute that really sealed a Broncos victory.
The win for Brisbane now means they'll face the Melbourne Storm in the hopes of snagging a Grand Final spot.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated the victory was a 61-point margin. The game was in fact won by 59 points.Suggest a correction