1. Goodes goes out on top
Adam Goodes was not planning to make an announcement on his future on Saturday night, so the football world was none the wiser as the Swans bowed out for 2015. The dual Brownlow medallist's brother and great friend Michael O'Loughlin were in the Swans' emotional rooms post-match, telling teammates of his decision to retire minutes after the final siren. Goodes made a terrific start on Saturday night, earning a free kick in the opening minute and converting his set shot with pin point accuracy. There were boos from opposition supporters, but they were drowned out all night by the Swans' fans, who cheered every time he won the ball. The fans had plenty of opportunities, with the champion racking up 15 touches in the first half and five inside 50s. He drifted out of the game in the second half but kicked the Swans' last goal of the game in a nice touch. "It's been a tough night and a tough season him," coach John Longmire said. "We'll take a deep breath now and he needs it … he'll talk at the appropriate time."
2. September is the time for shutdown specialists
North Melbourne's win was built on its midfield stoppers who denied their men possession but didn't turn their back on opportunities when they presented. It's a tactic that might not have stood up in a more free flowing home and away match, but in a slog at ANZ Stadium it was a match-winning edge. Ben Jacobs is the in-form tagger in the AFL and he kept Dan Hannebery, the AFL Coaches Association MVP, to eight possessions in the first half and 20 for the match. Sam Gibson forced Lewis Jetta into the red vest with just seven possessions to his name. The hard-running Kangaroo had 17 and kicked two goals. He'll be a key player against West Coast on the open Domain Stadium, giving the Kangaroos a second run-with option.
3. A rest is vital in the AFL
North Melbourne's decision to rest 10 players against Richmond could well be the reason the Roos have become the first team to earn a place in a preliminary final from eighth place under the top eight finals system. Brad Scott downplayed the flow-on effect of that selection move two weeks ago, but the importance of a week off in September cannot be understated. The Kangaroos found a way to get that advantage for their best players without a top-four finish. The Swans missed out on a week off and looked tired and only managed to rally for brief periods on Saturday night. They were beaten in contested possessions (123-140) and couldn't stand up to the Kangaroos tackling pressure.
4. Lindsay Thomas is doing his job as a substitute
Last week Lindsay Thomas started in the green vest and was injected into the elimination final against Richmond in the third quarter. His brief cameo will be remembered for a report for kicking that earned him a fine, but he did his job with an important goal. On Saturday night he was again injected into the match late and his niggle was crucial in upsetting the Swans. His supreme crumbing goal, which put the Kangaroos 20 points clear, was also vital. He only finished with three touches, but he is needed for those half-chance goals, which are worth their weight in goal in finals.
5. The Swans will be kicking themselves for their poor kicking
The Swans kicked the opening two goals of the third quarter and were threatening to turn the game their way. When Gary Rohan broke through the middle of ANZ Stadium to set up a goal for Josh Kennedy, the margin was just three points and the Kangaroos were under serious threat. From that point on they kicked four straight behinds, with Kennedy, James Rose, Nick Smith and Dane Rampe all fluffing chances. The pressure of the match was cranked to maximum and it seemed to suit the Swans but they couldn't capitalise. Jarrad Waite kicked back-to-back goals – albeit 22 minutes apart – and the Roos were free.
6. The Roos' record-breaker will be vital against West Coast
Todd Goldstein had his 1000th hit-out for the season on Saturday night, becoming the first player to ever break that barrier. He now sits on 1017, 59 taps ahead of Aaron Sandilands, who will go up against Hawthorn in next Friday night's preliminary final. Goldstein's value on Saturday night was evident in the output of Ben Cunnington and Jack Ziebell, who combined for 15 clearances and eight centre clearances. It's an area the Kangaroos will need to compete in next week, with Nic Naitanui and his band of ground level midfielders in fine touch.