Opinion

Poor ending an anticlimax

By James Bennett

The AFL season is finally over — let us rejoice!

Unless you are a Richmond supporter, Saturday was about as exciting as discovering you didn't lose a sock in the washing machine.

The grand final was a bad way to end the AFL season.

You can't fault Richmond's thrashing of GWS. Most supporters would want to win a premiership in the same fashion. There's less pressure on the heart, it shows dominance and you still get to bathe in premiership glory.

But because the grand final was such a dismal afternoon for neutral supporters, it has a flow-on effect to the sport. No-one is jumping up and down demanding we have more football anytime soon.

By three-quarter-time, the average punter was probably focused on the upcoming Group One racing.

It's hard for Fox Footy or Channel 7 to promise an encore screening of Saturday's game.

Think back to the 2018 grand final. For days people were talking about what a great spectacle Collingwood and West Coast provided. It was thrilling.We wanted more and it fed well into our anticipation for the next season.

This year, the AFL coverage will continue due to the trade period and the draft, however other than that it will be pretty tame.

Nothing makes a finale worse than a bad ending. The build-up and anticipation is lost in an instant.

Neutral fans don't want to watch a big soccer final with a 6-0 scoreline, or an American best-of-seven baseball, ice hockey or basketball series finishing in four games.

No matter if it's a TV show, movie, piece of music, book or sport, the finale must be memorable for the right reasons.

Did you know the most famous part of Beethoven's 9th Symphony comes at the end?

The symphony (in D minor) is split into four movements. The `Ode to Joy' section — instrumental and chorus — is performed in the fourth movement.

Technically it's in the first half of the 24-minute movement — but it's still at the end of the last symphony the deaf composer wrote.

It's a shame a majority don't know the last few bars of Beethoven's 9th.It's fast, loud and spine-tingling. It's what the finale to a long piece of music should be.

The ending to a movie, TV show or book isn't always going to be happy and joyful.

We're not always meant to leave the cinema celebrating the good guys beating the bad guys. But that doesn't mean you can't leave satisfied. Usually the first thing we remember is the conclusion to a movie, before dissecting the rest.

One of the classic examples of a satisfying movie with a stressful ending is The Planet of the Apes.

After spending a lengthy time on this "mysterious planet" run by apes, the protagonists discover the truth. The twist takes less than two minutes before fading to black.

It's not a pleasant ending, but it's satisfying. Even if people haven't seen the movie, it's pretty well known in pop culture how the film ends.

A finale can define the product. Sometimes it can be the saviour but on other occasions it will backfire.

The AFL grand final is not what the governing body was hoping for.

You can't blame anyone for how it was played out, because there isn't a script — which is what makes sport great.

But after a regular season marred by constant talk of bad fan behaviour, the state of the game, and umpiring and score reviews, unfortunately for the neutrals it felt like a middle finger is what we deserved.

Thankfully we have six months before we can start worrying about football again.

In the meantime, let's enjoy the racing, cricket and tennis, and hope the next final is not a walkover.