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How's that then – a draw!
Great game yesterday – Collingwood shot out to a good lead and the Saints reeled them in. Tough, tight, hard-fought, it had everything you want from a Grand Fnal in my op. There'll be a few ratbags out there decrying the relative dearth of goals, but that's crap. It's all about the contest, and this was one of the best.
In so many ways the result yesterday mirrored the result in 1966, lacking only a last minute behind to give the Saints the lead. They had opportunities for it, and in fact it was a long shot forward that bounced erratically through for a behind to level the scores a couple of minutes before.
What this means is that they do it all again next week. Yep, a re-match to decide the 2010 premiers. This is the third time in history that's happened, and while there are many who reckon extra time should be played to decide the big one I disagree.
Who in their right mind would really decline the chance to witness another blockbuster like that? Sure, it upsets some plans – including mine – but a competition like this deserves to be settled properly, and not in a few frenzied minutes of extra time.
It's interesting to see how the teams come up next week. History tells us that the re-match is generally an easy victory to one of the teams. It's not surprising really as the mental letdown of battling so long for no result can be hard to overcome. It can be a challenge to regain that edge and raise yourself to the necessary pitch to do it all again at the same intensity. It becomes a battle of minds now, and the coaching staff I think becomes crucial in the period between.
On that front I think the Saints have the edge. Moments after the game the Collingwood captain was interviewed and complained that the game should have been decided by extra time. In comparison a St Kilda rival shrugged his shoulders at it, it was not something they could control he said, get ready for next week. These opposing attitudes seemed to broadly reflect the two teams. One was bitter at the situation, the other positive and ready to go.
In large part I think these attitudes came out of the game. This is yet another premiership the Magpies let slip. They were well in front and in control halfway through. They might have been further in front and might have been but for some poor finishing. Then, in characteristic St Kilda fashion, they ground themselves back into the contest.
Early in the 3rd quarter I said to my companions that I thought St Kilda would win. They seemed more lively, inventive, they were playing with more intent. They outscored Collingwood 6 goals to 2 in the second half and held the lead late in the game. Had the game continued I think they would have won it, but in any case they had the momentum when the siren sounded that Collingwood had lost.
The other thing counting against Collingwood is confidence. They didn't countenance defeat last week. Their captain when questioned thought about it and then answered that he was certain they would win. They didn't, and into their minds their must now be that seed of doubt, particularly as they had the game in their keeping almost.
For St Kilda Hayes and Goddard were epic. In a way that counts against them. They may play as well next week, but it's hard to see them playing better, while there were a number of Collingwood players short of their best and sure to improve. Balancing that out was Riewoldt, good without being dominant, and set to break-out; and the thumping St Kilda endured on the inside 5o count which will surely be more even next week.
I feel very confident that St Kilda will win well next week. It feels as if they took everything Collingwood had and went back at them. They know they've got it in them, and you can be sure that Lyon, their coach, will be looking to patch up any gaps. They'll learn more than Collingwood will, and for Collingwood the pressure of history and the weight of expectation looms.
Yesterdays game reminded of the last drawn Grand Final. On that day in 1977 Collingwood went into the last quarter with a 4 goal lead, only to see North Melbourne storm back and take the lead before a late Twiggy Dunn mark and goal levelled the scores. Yesterday St Kilda came back from a similiar deficit half time, took the lead before the modern day equivalent of Dunn in Cloke kicked the goal that virtually levelled it.
I'm hoping that's an omen because in the replay North Melbourne were comfortable victors. Do it again Saints.
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