Baton down the hatches, the Flagpies are on the march! In what was the upset of the season, the Pies demolished the Tigers in a dominant first half display that can only be described as the second coming of the Miracle on Grass. At no point did I think that Collingwood couldn’t win, but to destroy the reigning Premiers in a wonderful display of pressure and skill was a sight to behold.
A 10 goal to two first half pretty much had the game wrapped up in a neat little package. The Tigers mounted a late charge early in the last quarter but left themselves to much to late. It also ended the little known 22 match unbeaten streak Richmond had at the MCG.
1. Collingwood turned the MCG into a Pressure Cooker
From the first bounce, the Pie’s were hot. Numbers at the contest, crunching tackles and genuine pressure on the ball carrier made the Tigers look like rank amateurs. It was very impressive to watch. And after 5 minutes the Pies had done to the Tigers, what the Tigers had done to rest of the competition. They outran, out worked and out hustled the Tigers into believing there was more pressure around than there actually was, which in turn led so unforced errors and turnovers, not something that the Tigers had been known for over the last 24 months.
2. Steele Sidebottom is in career best form
Just like a fine wine, this guy is getting better with age. I honestly didn’t think this guy could get any better and then he has pumped the clutch and slammed it up a gear. I will run out of superlatives for Steele Sidebottom but I honestly don’t think there is a better player than him in the comp right this second. Overall, maybe. But right now if all 18 teams were playing, he would be number 1. Silky skills, check. Hard running, check. Getting the pill at both ends of the ground, check. Winning it at the stoppages, check. Right now I reckon they could chuck him in the ruck and he would still win it.
3. Jack Riewoldt can hold his head high.
It was a dark day for the Tigs. Beaten all over the ground. Well, almost all over it. Jack Riewoldt was the one shining light on what was a day to forget for Tiger fans. Belted in the middle, scored against with ease, but Jack never quit. He gave everything he had. He took 9 marks, 3 of them contested and 7 inside 50. He kicked 5 goals 1 and had 3 inside 50’s to go with it. There are many things you can say about Jack Riewoldt, but when it went in his area, he lead from the front.
4. Mason Cox is the best thing to come out of the USA since Creedence Clearwater Revival.
The big man from Texas announced himself on the biggest stage of all last weekend. He had threatened to rip a game a part like this during the season, but I don’t think any of us truly expected him to be this good. He clunked everything that came his way dragging in 11 marks, with 8 of them contested. He kicked 3 second quarter goals when the Pies were on the charge, or were the on the charge cause the big Cox kicked 3? Who knows, and after what we have seen from the big man, we cannot wait to see what the future holds.
5. It’s not all doom and gloom down at Punt Road.
Their season might be over when it looked like a Grand Final beckoned. But if you’re a Tigers fan I wouldn’t be too worried. With all the rumours swirling about Tom Lynch, Steven May and pretty much every other want away player looking to head home, Punt Road seems like as good a place as any. After years of suffering and heartache, Richmond look to be in a very comfortable spot to bring in some talent without losing much at all. So let the prelim hiding burn for a little while, but get excited Tigers fans, I feel like there is more goodness to come!
FIRST PRELIMINARY FINAL
RICHMOND 1.3 2.8 6.10 8.10 (58)
COLLINGWOOD 5.2 10.4 12.7 15.7 (97)
Richmond: Riewoldt 5, Higgins 2, Houli
Collingwood: De Goey 4, Cox 3, Crisp 2, Mihocek 2, Varcoe, Treloar, Grundy, Stephenson
Richmond: Riewoldt, Cotchin, Houli, Higgins
Collingwood: Sidebottom, Cox, Grundy, Adams, Crisp, De Goey, Greenwood
Collingwood: Howe (ankle)
Umpires: Rosebury, Stevic, Ryan
Official crowd: 94,959 at the MCG