• After the siren: Get set for an elimination final with added spice
• Make your September forecast with the 2014 finals predictor
• Nine things we learned from round 23
• Nine's a charm: How Richmond stormed into September
THE 2014 NAB AFL Fantasy Classic and Elite seasons came to a close this weekend with Grand Finals held in tens of thousands of leagues. The respective winners now have the ultimate summer bragging rights; a Fantasy premiership.
Round 23 panned out very much like the last few weeks with late withdrawals and injuries determining the fate for many coaches in their match-ups.
Let's get into the Fantasy round review for the last time this year.
Collingwood v Hawthorn, MCGComing out of the blocks strongly against a Hawks outfit without popular Fantasy players Luke Hodge and Matt Suckling, Collingwood couldn't maintain its form and eventually went down by 65 points.
Roy's number one tip to bring in for a Grand Final x-factor, Jordan Lewis (149), top scored for the night and the round. The Hawthorn midfielder averaged 130 over the last six weeks of the season, including scores of 144, 156, 108 and 149 over the Fantasy finals series.
Forward Jack Gunston (124) kicked five goals while defender Josh Gibson (120) was solid as a rock in defence collecting 36 disposals and taking 11 marks.
A special mention must go to Billy Hartung (50) who may have been an important midfield emergency for some. He started in the green vest and played less than a quarter but collected 10 disposals, six marks and kicked a goal.
Steele Sidebottom (125) was the only Magpie to score over 100 points thanks to his 36 touches. In his last AFL game, Luke Ball (90) put in a big effort to bow out as one of Collingwood's better performers.
WATCH: Luke Ball's emotional farewell
Carlton v Essendon, MCGIn the first draw of the season, the two points were enough for the Bombers to finish in seventh position on the ladder.
Unfortunately for coaches who own Essendon players, not one Bomber cracked the ton. Brent Stanton (99) and Patrick Ryder (98) topped the table while Paul Chapman (90) posted another solid score for the Fantasy finals series.
Watch the last two minutes from Saturday's MCG stalemateJobe Watson (87) copped the Andrew Carrazzo (101) tag and returning from his week off due to surgery on his hand, Dyson Heppell (84) managed to collect 25 disposals. Other popular selections in Brendon Goddard (79), David Zaharakis (79) and Michael Hibberd (73) failed to reach their season average.
Racking up 30 touches, Brock McLean (122) was the best for the Blues. Kade Simpson (100) has frustrated his coaches with 62 and 27-point games in the last fortnight. His 23 possessions, seven marks and five tackles was a return to form for the premium defender.
Fremantle v Port Adelaide, Patersons StadiumThe Dockers secured a double chance with a thrilling eight-point win over the Power.
Tallying up 34 disposals, Lachie Neale (124) was the star for Fremantle. With just 19 points at the main break, David Mundy (99) enjoyed a big second half to help his side lock in fourth position on the ladder. Hayden Ballantyne (92) kicked four goals.
Travis Boak (73) struggled to post a big score due to the Ryan Crowley (67) tag. Roy was very worried that his unique, Robbie Gray (113) was going to cop the Crowley tag, but he gun FWD/MID finished with an impressive stat line that included 33 disposals and two goals.
Forward Jay Schulz (112) slotted six goals from his 13 kicks and eight marks. Justin Westhoff (111), Brad Ebert (108), Hamish Hartlett (106) and Chad Wingard (106) all contributed to Port's gallant effort.
Sydney Swans v Richmond, ANZ StadiumPrior to the match, Fantasy coaches were devastated to hear that Lance Franklin wouldn't line up for the Swans. No less than 44,697 coaches were left to take an emergency score for the star forward who quite a few brought into their side this week.
I was lucky enough, I’m not sure they were the right words, to be in a pub in Richmond to watch this match. The Tigers faithful were in full voice when the siren sounded. The three-point win granted them eighth position on the ladder that resulted in plenty of cheers and even some tears from grown men!
WATCH: Tigers hold firm in a famous fourth quarterBut to the important stuff. Daniel Hannebery (143), Tom Mitchell (138), Kieren Jack (122) and Luke Parker (112) tackled their way to big scores, laying 10, 13, 10 and nine respectively. It is great to see Mitchell back in the side and doing well. However after drafting him early in my Elite league, I wasn’t able to cash in on his great Grand Final performance due to being knocked out the previous week!
Nick Malceski (112) gathered 29 disposals to be one of the better players for the Swans. Richmond midfielder Brett Deledio (127) also enjoyed a 29-disposal game that included three goals. Ivan Maric (108) was the most dominant ruckman on the ground with 45 hit-outs.
North Melbourne v Melbourne, Etihad StadiumIn a game that offered little to Fantasy coaches over the weekend, North Melbourne won by 30 points over a gallant Melbourne.
The most popular Demons, Dom Tyson (113) and Nathan Jones (109) didn't let their coaches down. Two goals for Jack Ziebell (91) helped him to the top of the list for the Roos. With Todd Goldstein out, Daniel Currie (81) came in for his fourth game of the season and managed 36 hit-outs. His back-up, Ben Brown (83) played forward and kicked three goals. Those taking advantage of his RUC/FWD stats may have had him as a handy emergency in the forward line.
The 26,056 coaches who have put up with some ordinary scores from DEF/MID Nick Dal Santo (53) over the last few weeks were seething when he ran out in the green vest. He was on in the second half and scored well for his time on ground, however he immediately attracted the tag from Daniel Cross (78).
Geelong v Brisbane Lions, Simonds StadiumBenches were stretched when news filtered through that FWD/MID Dayne Zorko and the Fantasy pig Tom Rockliff would not be taking the field. Rockliff was Calvin's number one pick for captaincy this round and he now finishes the season averaging 134.8 points, overtaking Dane Swan's recorder of 133.5 in 2012.
Captain Joel Selwood (139), who was the second most selected vice captain, put in an outstanding performance to give double points due to Rockliff's late withdrawal for illness. He collected 29 touches, five marks, nine tackles and kicked two goals.
Tom Hawkins (132) kicked a career-high seven goals to help the Cats to a 62-point win on the eve of their finals campaign.
FWD/MID Mitch Duncan (124) picked up from where he left off last week with 36 disposals and Jimmy Bartel (114) once again produced good numbers for his owners.
The inclusion of Matthew Leuenberger (85) into the Lions' line-up didn't affect Stefan Martin's (124) scoring whatsoever. The RUC/FWD has been arguably the best ever mid-season pick up in the history of Fantasy. He finishes the season with an average of 112.2 from his 12 matches, third on the overall list behind Rockliff and Gary Ablett.
Zac O'Brien (100) was handy midfield bench cover for some genius coaches who had the 'E' on him. Oh, hey… that would be me!
Gold Coast v West Coast, Metricon StadiumWith the Sunday games having no influence on the make-up of the final eight, they still remained interesting for Fantasy fans in the home stretch of the Grand Final round. The Eagles enjoyed a strong finish to the season defeating the Suns by 52 points.
With no Dean Cox this week, Scott Lycett (119) and Nic Naitanui (112) worked well together managing 29 and 28 hit-outs respectively. Naitanui kicked three goals, while Lycett booted one.
Forward Josh Kennedy (116) booted the opening goal of the game and went on to finish with eight. Mark LeCras (103) chimed in with four majors while Matt Priddis (103) was busy racking up 28 touches.
It took until the final round, but Michael Rischitelli (133) scored his first ton of the season in impressive fashion – by collecting 34 disposals. Brandon Matera (112) and first year player Jack Martin (102) kicked six goals between them.
WATCH: Showreel - Jack Martin gives a glimpse of the future
Adelaide v St Kilda, Adelaide OvalIt was all about the 'plus fours' as retiring champion Lenny Hayes (108) tackled his way to an outstanding Fantasy score to end a fantastic career. The midfielder finished with 21 disposals, and 13 tackles in is final AFL game.
WATCH: Saint champ Lenny Hayes' record-setting goodbyeOver the last few weeks we have been talking up Rory Sloane (130) as a potential Grand Final-winning selection due to the Saints giving up a lot of points this year. He was able to rack up 30 touches, nine marks and kick three goals to handsomely reward the coaches who jumped on board. 2014 has been Sloane's best ever Fantasy season, increasing his average by over 10 points from last year.
After posting mediocre scores of 67, 66, 39 and 54 over the last month, Brodie Smith (104) stood up in the big dance. Eddie Betts' (100) five goals and Sam Jacobs' (100) 49 hit-outs also saw them crack the Fantasy ton in Adelaide's 13-goal win.
Letting a few coaches down in a time of need was Nick Riewoldt (48) and popular bench player Cameron Shenton (17). Crow defender Brodie Martin (23) was subbed out with an ankle injury late in the third quarter.
Western Bulldogs v Greater Western Sydney, Etihad StadiumLivewire Devon Smith (92) kicked the winning goal in the Giants' six-point win over the Dogs to round out the home and away season and Fantasy Grand Finals.
After posting 165 last week, Toby Greene (125) backed it up with 32 disposals to score 543 points over the four weeks of Fantasy finals; the most of any player.
Heath Shaw (113), Adam Treloar (98), Dylan Shiel (96) and Will Hoskin-Elliott (95), who kicked five goals, were the biggest contributors for the Giants.
Bulldogs midfielder Ryan Griffen (144) got his hands on the Sherrin 38 times. He also laid five tackles, took six marks and kicked a goal. Forward Stewart Crameri (96) booted four goals while Matthew Boyd (90) finished with 27 disposals.
How did the Traders finish up?In our mates' league Grand Final, Roy's team destROY scored 2298 to defeat Goatsy's Mob by 99 points. Roy is stoked to breakthrough in a tough week where both he and his opponent, Steve, lost captain Tom Rockliff and Lance Franklin. Unfortunately for Steve, he also lost Dayne Zorko and his forward bench emergency, an impressive 83 from Ben Brown, has already been used on Franklin. Rumour has it that Roy has already ventured to the MCG to do his lap of honour with the cup in hand.
Calvin posted an impressive 2425 this week where everything was coming up Milhouse for team Calvinator. Jordan Lewis as vice captain for the ill Tom Rockliff worked wonders, doubling his 149 points.
As for me, I wish I could have taken eight points from this week's score so that I was able to take Roy on in our main league Grand Final. My Warne Dawgs pumped out 2473 thanks to 14 players cracking the Fantasy ton and my lowest score being from Luke Dahlhaus, still a solid 79. This ranked me 27th for the round and I finished 750th overall.
I checked out some of the leagues I was added to and it looks like there will be a fair bit of silverware in the trophy cabinet down at Warne Dawgs HQ from this year!
As this is the end of the home and away season, Fantasy Classic and Elite are now completed. The good news is that the Fantasy season isn't over just yet. Match Day is back next weekend with $1000 up for grabs in every finals game through to the Grand Final where $3000 will be on the line. Be sure to enter your team in the quickest and easiest Fantasy game to play!
Thank you for an exciting year. On behalf of Roy and Calvin, we have had a great time as 'The Traders' this season and we're already looking forward to next year. Pre-season Fantasy training is just around the corner!