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It’s that time of the year again; the 2010 AFL Grand Final is upon us and this year it is Collingwood and St Kilda who will battle it out at the MCG on the last Saturday in September for the Premiership.
Both teams have had pretty solid seasons, but Collingwood has been the standout team finishing the year as minor premiers. So far this season these teams have played two games and have won one each, which makes this final very interesting, despite the Pies being the big favorites.
In the preliminaries the Pies dominated last year’s premiers Geelong from early in the first quarter to win by 41 points. On the other hand the Saints had a much closer contest with the Dogs in the opening half but pulled away in the second half to win by 24 points.
Everyone is looking forward to the Grand Final, so bring on Saturday afternoon!!
Round 16, 2010
Collingwood – 15.10 (100)
St Kilda – 6.16 (52)
The Collingwood Football Club has climbed to the top of the AFL ladder after a convincing 48 point win over St Kilda at the MCG on Saturday afternoon.
The Saints got the early started and kicked a goal in the first 2 minutes of the opening quarter, but from then on the Pies kicked 7 of the next 9 goals to lead by 26 points at the main break and never looked back.
They kicked 8 of the last 11 goals of the match to assert their dominance leaving the Saints shell-shocked.
How the Collingwood got to the big dance
It’s been an enormous year for the Pies with 17 wins for the season, 4 losses and 1 draw. From Round 11 through to Round 21 they remained undefeated and were able to produce the goods week in and week out. When they defeated the Cats in Round 19 they cemented themselves as premiership favourites and deserved it the way they were going about their footy. They finished the season as minor premiers and defeated the Western Bulldogs in the first Qualifying Final and headed straight into the Preliminaries. Last Friday night they demolished Geelong it what was hyped to be a tight encounter, but they proved they can win the Premiership by dominating the best team in the last four years and last year’s premiers all over the ground.
How St Kilda got to the big dance
The Saint’s road to the big dance has been one that when you look at key incidents in their season, makes it a remarkable achievement.
Starting with the Andrew Lovett saga, Riewoldt ripping his hamstring to shreds and the Gilbert non-story that became a story.
With such on and off field turmoil they still managed to get to 3rd place with relative ease in the end.
Ross Lyon said towards the end of the season that they peaked around round 16/17 last year, and that this year they were planning to peak on Grand Final day……
Key players for Collingwood
Travis Cloke - Cloke is probably the Pies most important big man and he is going to have to stand up and be a strong target up forward. If he can kick accurately he Pies will be once step closer to the flag. He will be also hoping for an early goal to lift his confidence. His presence up the ground will also be important and all Pies supporters will be hoping for him to have a big match.
Likely match-up: Zac Dawson
Dane Swan – The Pies ball magnet will need to gather both uncontested and contested possessions this week and heaps of them against a strong Saints midfield. If he is on fire alongside Pendlebury and Didak, the Pies could rip the game wide open. He has managed a few goals from the midfield in recent weeks too, so his hard running and midfield pressure in pushing the ball forward will be enormous this week. Hard go past him for the Norm Smith Medal also.
Likely match-up: Lenny Hayes, Clinton Jones, Nick Dal Santo
Nick Maxwell – The Pies skipper will be important as a leader on the big stage of the Pies as well as a rock in defence. For most of this season he has been the loose man in defence for the Pies and been the last man standing in front of goal guarding the big sticks. He hardly get’s matched up on and is likely to be the extra man to go up in contests with Riewoldt. If he is the loose man and doesn’t get manned up, the Pies defensive “box” is likely to rule the game and the Saints will have troubles going forward.
Likely match-up: No one and second/third man up against Nick Riewoldt
Darren Jolly – The Pies ruckman has been excellent this season and with his grand final experience he will be extremely valuable on Saturday. He will be up against a good opponent in Michael Gardiner (reportedly likely to retire at the end of the season), however Jolly has shown already this year how good he has been up forward for the Pies and that he can kick goals, so he will be important in both positions with his versatility.
Likely match-up: Michael Gardiner
Scott Pendlebury/Alan Didak – Both these guys are play makers for the Pies and set up a lot of the inside 50 attacks. Both guys have the ability to gather the ball easily and run riot in the middle and Didak can also do so up forward. If these two players and fellow midfielder Swan are not controlled by the Saints, the Pies run will be deadly.
Likely match-up: Clinton Jones/Brendon Goddard
In: Simon Prestigiacomo, Leon Davis
Out: Nathan Brown, Tyson Goldsack
Key players for St Kilda
Nick Riewoldt – An amazing player who can quite frankly drag his team over the line, especially if it turns into a low-scoring scrap.
In my opinion, he is in-defendable when he is on’. With his huge-tank, will to push himself, hands and leap (where he marks the ball at the highest point), no defender can stop him.
After last year’s restricted performance due to a reported adductor tear, he will be playing like a man possessed.
Put your house on it.
The only chance the Pies have of stopping him is by limiting supply.
Likely match-up: Ben Reid, Nick Maxwell, Simon Prestigiacomo
Lenny Hayes – Is there a player more universally loved than this bloke?
It’s no real surprise given how good he is and how he goes about his footy though.
He was BOG by a mile after the first quarter of last year’s Grand Final with Bartel then doing a match-winning role on him to restrict his influence for the rest of the game.
He will be going head-to-head with Luke Ball in a mouth-watering match-up given that Hayes was the number 1 inside mid and Ball was the number 2 in the latter years.
Likely match-up: Luke Ball, Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan
Brendan Goddard – Where will they use him? I’m guessing behind the ball where they’ll need him to use his precise kicking to get through Collingwood’s Zone.
The fact that they can also use him up forward (possibly to make Maxwell accountable?) and on the wing makes him a super important player.
His excellent and courageous (broken nose and collarbone anyone?) performance in last years Grand Final must be noted as well.
Likely match-up: Brent Macaffer, Dale Thomas, Nick Maxwell
Adam Schneider – Bank on him playing like a man possessed after lowering his color’s last year with some shocking misses.
He’s a very important player in his presence around the half-forward area gives the Saints good usage. His usual “late” arrivals to the contest in the forward 50 makes him a very dangerous prospect who needs to be watched closely at all times.
Likely match-up: Alan Toovey, Heath Shaw, Harry O’Brien
Brett Peake – It may seem a bit surprising to have a Freo off-cast who struggled for most of the home & away season here, but quite frankly he’s been excellent in the Saint’s two Finals.
Adding to the fact that he is one of the very, very few Saints that have genuine pace makes him a very important and potentially damaging player.
Watch for him on the wing and don’t be surprised when he starts to hurt Collingwood given the amount of space he manages to find.
Likely match-up: Dale Thomas, Ben Johnson
In: Steven Baker
Out: Ben McEvoy
Why Collingwood will be Premiers
Gameplan. Fresher bodies. Discipline. Pressure. Confidence. Form.
That last point is the significant one given the difference in performances displayed from both teams. Whilst St Kilda has been good, Collingwood have been scary good.
Their best bunch is in great form, and more importantly, so are their bottom 6 group as well.
Having to back off in the second-half against Geelong to preserve their bodies compared to the Saints who had a tough scrap against the Bulldogs with a day less rest gives them further advantage and is something that has bee overlooked by many.
The Saints tendency to chip the ball around the backline whilst setting up their forward forays will play into Collingwood’s hands brilliantly thanks to their Forward-Press which punishes teams that like to possess the ball in the backline due to ground coverage and pressure.
It’s the Pies Flag’ to lose basically.
Why St Kilda will be Premiers
It’s the intangibles that give St Kilda the edge.
Quite frankly, the hurt of last year is only going to help them and with inspirational duo Nick Riewoldt and Lenny Hayes, they have two players that can and will do everything possible to drag them over the line.
The likes of Adam Schneider and Stephen Milne who were widely panned last year after a poor Grand Final look set on redeeming themselves. Milne was excellent against Geelong, and Schneider has kicked many important goals when his time came this year including against Geelong in the Qualifying Final that Milne performed in as well.
The fact that Ross Lyon will do everything in his power to work out on how to expose the Pies and that the playing group seems to be a very coachable one gives them a massive chance to unsettle the Pies from the outset.
Did I mention Hayes and Riewoldt as well? I know I did, but those two are just phenomenal leaders who will be nigh on impossible for Collingwood to stop. The domino effect from those two players playing well is immeasurable.
It’s all about the intangibles.
Ben: Collingwood by 2 goals and Didak for the Norm Smith.
Brent: Collingwood by 28 points and Didak for Norm Smith
Cladi: Collingwood by 2-3 goals and Dane Swan or Scott Pendlebury for the Norm Smith.
James: Saints by 3 goals and Kosi for Norm Smith.
Luke: Collingwood, 3 goals, Goddard (just to not pick Swan) for the Norm Smith.
Vish: Collingwood by 7 goals, Thomas for Norm Smith.
Collingwood sections and Introduction by Christine
St Kilda sections and why each team will be premiers by Vish