Dennis Cometti: Best grand final yet?
Dennis Cometti: Best grand final yet?

Long footy seasons can end quickly. And this one has for many people in WA.

In the space of just 24 hours at the weekend, fans of both the Eagles and the Dockers watched as their teams fell short, and out of the AFL finals race.

But it wasn't for lack of trying.

Both teams showed plenty of grit. But grit sometimes isn't enough!

So what did we (and they) learn?

Probably that West Coast are close and Fremantle aren't far way.

Maybe, too, the Eagles don't need much tinkering to remain one of the best four sides in the competition (although this season's ladder won't reflect that).

They just need to stay healthy.

Too many good players were missing on Saturday night (LeCras, Nicoski and Waters). While Kennedy looked like a man in need of a fresh start. It's worth remembering he had no pre-season before missing almost all the season.

His chances of being a final round saviour were slim at best.

But perhaps the biggest surprise to come out of that semi-final loss was the lion-hearted performance of Collingwood's Darren Jolly.

That was something!

Single-handedly he blunted Dean Cox and Nic Naitinui.

Based on his season, Cox is almost above criticism but for the second time in three weeks his partner failed to flatter in Melbourne.

Nic's trip to superstardom remains one of the stranger trips in the AFL.

By contrast, Fremantle probably need a couple of things (apart from Luke McPharlin on Friday night).

A tall midfielder wouldn't hurt. That's right somebody like Brendan Goddard, although maybe not Brendan Goddard.

Not that I'm anti Goddard, it's just that he no longer appears to be the player he was in 2010.

Having said that, first-year success story Ross Lyon, all class after the loss to Adelaide, clearly thinks he can work a reclamation project on his former star.

Me, I can't help thinking about that scene in Jerry Maguire after Renee Zellwegger's character falls for Jerry, the down-on-his-luck sports agent and tells her sister: "I feel like I'm getting a great break on a used car."

It's that nagging doubt. But clearly the Dockers are keen.

They also desperately need an interchangeable tall forward.

Mitch Clark was the one. I know that, you know that and so do the Dockers. They tried.

The fact they missed out puts them a year behind where they would like to be but the second half of their season leaves the impression they can be something.

For West Coast and Fremantle fans it was a good ride, enjoy the early onset of spring.

The West Australian

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