Mick Malthouse has hailed the first week of the finals as a fillip for football after a year in which it has been dogged by off-field controversies.
Hawthorn's dispatching of Sydney on Friday night was the only match in which the result was expected, with Fremantle, Port Adelaide and Carlton all notching unexpected victories.
The last match of the weekend, between Richmond and Carlton, attracted 94,690 to the MCG. It was the biggest attendance for the first week of the finals since the final five was introduced in 1972.
Malthouse has been a player or coach for 41 of the past 42 years yet he insisted the noise generated by the Richmond supporters before the match – he estimated they accounted for at least 70 per cent of the crowd – had been incomparable.
"When I walked up the race and Richmond ran onto the ground that's the loudest noise I've heard at a stadium . . . it sent goosebumps right up my spine," the Carlton coach told 3AW on Monday morning.
"I haven't heard a sound like that, and I've been involved in a lot of finals. That was just outstanding."
Malthouse said the four week-one finals matches, even allowing for the Hawks' comfortable victory over the Swans, were a welcome contrast to – without mentioning it specifically – the negativity generated by the Essendon supplements saga.
"It was a great weekend for football. It got rid of a lot of those things throughout the year that were so negative and we've come away with a wonderful first week of the finals series," the Blues coach said.
"The last thing on anyone's mind was anything that took place during the year. It was all about the football, it was all about the players, all about the occasion.
"We've forgot all about the traumas and tribulations we've had and got back into raw football. It was just fantastic."
Malthouse also declined to gloat that the Blues, who finished ninth but were the beneficiaries of the Bombers' expulsion from the finals, had progressed to the second week of the finals while his former club, Collingwood, had not.
"I've got satisfaction at Carlton going forward, not at Collingwood finishing where they did," he said.
"I spent 12 great years there and have got some wonderful friends there. I know they'd be very disappointed."