It's a sunny saturday morning, the first day of October, and here we are again expectantly waiting to find who the 2010 AFL premiers will be.
It's been a week in footy. Somehow the grand final re-match has been overshadowed by the big news events off the field. It's added another layer on what would have been an unusual week in any case. Now it's saturday there's only one story in town: who's going to win?
As I did last week I'm tipping St Kilda, for much the same reasons plus an added few. They have the momentum and the belief I think, and quite likely history on their side. I tipped Goddard last week for the Norm Smith, and though acclaimed by most as BOG he lost out to Lenny Hayes, a great warrior. This week I'm picking someone else. I figure the game is all set-up for Nick Riewoldt. He was good last week without being great. His opponent Brown did everything he could to contain him, and did a reasonable job. The thing is though I can't see him doing it two weeks running against arguably the best player in the comp. Riewoldt is a player of steely resolve and he'll have set himself for a big game.
History has been a recurring topic all week, but with only two previous grand final draws I doubt anything conclusive can be drawn from them. The consensus is that will be a more open game. It may well be. In the two previous re-matches one team has drawn away from the other earlier and won easily. I expect there will be more space in the result this time – well there has to be, hasn't it? – and in my mind see St Kilda winning by about 22 points without being seriously challenged after the half.
The last draw and re-match was in 1977, and I remember it well. It was the first grand final to be broadcast live. We had one of the few colour TV's in the street so my mate and I sat down in front of it two weeks running. We were just kids. I remember the players well, the key moments, my determination even then that Collingwood shouldn't win it (in a time when the supporters were less feral I think). My mate, Peter Woody, was by contrast a Collingwood supporter, and was gutted by the ultimate result. Like kids everywhere, I danced all over his disappointment, gleeful that the dreaded Maggies had lost once more.
As I did last week I'll be at the Cheeses for lunch: this week it's hamburgers I believe. I'm taking over some cheese and some party pies to chew on at half time for traditions sake. I have to dash off afterwards. This was to be a dirty weekend for me, but I cancelled because of the grand final. The only part of the original deal was the dinner booking at Maze, and I'm going with a different woman now. It will be different today and, for the inportance, lower key I think. I may be wrong, but I don't expect the tension and drama of last week. (Famous last words?) Regardless I'm looking forward to it, as i always do.
One last note. For years the AFL has been concocting pre-game entertainment that verges on the embarassing sometimes. The NRL, a much inferior sport and poorly administered never fail however to put on a much better spectacle than their rich cousins the AFL. The problem is that the AFL have had a cool bypass. They are stuck in another era that seems pretty well irrelevant now,
Last week it INXS. Twenty years ago it would have been pretty groovy, but someone ought to tell Andrew Demetriou that Michael Hutchence is no longer with us. For the re-match they hastily engaged – wait for it – Lionel Ritchie. Now nothing against Lionel, but even in his heyday he wasn't really happening. His heyday is 20 odd years ago. He was probably sipping on a Long Island Iced tea enjoying a fruitfuil retirement when the AFL gave him a call. Dance on the ceiling? Yeah right.
Good luck to him, he might be great, but next year let's avoid the bland, innoffensive option and go for some excitement, let's go for someone who is current and happening. Let's get a vibe going. If this is not the premier sporting event in the country it's close to it – it deserves much better.
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