Semi Final 2019 Report

H Wyatt was lucky to escape with his jaw in tact.
Hamburg had run away convincing winners in Frankfurt against the Redbacks, the siren had only just sounded, when Wyatt laid a ferocious tackle on his ageing Redbacks opponent.
The pair have history.
Wyatt was knocked out by AFL Germany’s answer to Barry Hall two encounters ago and their reunion earlier this season sparked a first-term wrestling match. The Hamburg defender remains tight-lipped as to what sparked the intense rivalry initially and in the resulting silence rumours of murdered pets and cheated business deals run rampant and unchallenged. Whatever the reason for his untethered rage, Frankfurt’s full forward had Wyatt in his sights late in the game on Saturday while chasing his younger and more agile opponent to the ball. Wyatt gathered before being crudely disposed of the ball, only to wrap the Redback in a huge tackle and drive him into a rock-hard half-forward flank. The Bear had been poked and if we’ve learnt anything from Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2015 survivalist epic The Revenant, it’s that one does not poke the bear. Using his superior body weight to frightening advantage, The Bear (we’re just calling him The Bear now) rolled onto Wyatt and sunk his elbow into the defender’s face. Given the low initial impact but ever-increasing pressure applied, the risk to Wyatt’s jaw was less high-impact shatter than slow crush; picture videos of watermelons wrapped in hundreds of rubber bands.
Luckily for Wyatt and indeed the Hamburg Dockers, Glenn Waugh caught glimpse of the behind-play cowardice and sparked what in Germany equates to a melee; Wyatt managed to escape in the confusion and join his teammates – his rendition of the Dockers’ victory song was apparently sung with more heart than after last year’s premiership.  To say the scuffle overshadowed or tainted the preceding game would be to serve the drama an injustice – nobody could deny it’s entertainment quality and, at the end of the day, isn’t that what this game is about? On the other hand, the Dockers’ performance in trying conditions was exceptional and perhaps deserves its own recap.
Every player contributed in what was the club’s best all-round team performance to date in 2019.
Special mention must be made of C Woodward (midfield domination), H Clarkson (6 goals and several sensational midfield cameos), P Richter (5 majors) and R Taylor-Branco (career-best form), F Naumann (unstoppable in the ruck) and M Klomp (drove home with a broken wrist).
Hamburg was without star forward S Gilbert and key defenders A Klein and N Gordon… but strong contributions and fitness around the ground ensured the Dockers comfortably booked their ticket to AFL Germany’s big dance for the second straight season.
– An Interested Observer

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