West Coast prevailed in one of the great Grand Finals on Saturday, claiming their fourth Premiership as a result of their nail-biting five point victory over Collingwood. The Magpies began the match firing on all cylinders and had quickly built a 29-point lead during time-on in the first quarter in their best start to a Grand Final since 1970. Unfortunately for Collingwood the game would end very similarly to that decider too.
With scores level at three-quarter time, the scene was set for a grandstand finish and that is exactly what transpired after Collingwood kick-started the final term with two goals in a minute. Determined, rather than defeated, the Eagles renewed their efforts and spent much of the remainder of the game camped in their forward half locked in a bitter arm-wrestle with the Pie defence. Despite a spirited defensive effort, a Dom Sheed goal in the final 90 seconds of play would finally prove the difference in the epic encounter.
Eagles flew under the radar.
Just like they had done a week earlier for the Prelim Final, the majority of the Herald Sun’s expert tipsters overlooked the Eagles when picking a winner for the Grand Final. Given that the Eagles finished second, and had spent just two weeks outside the top two since round four, this is a staggering lack of respect for a team that has consistently been at the pointy end of the ladder this season.
Given that more ‘experts’ tipped West Coast to finish last than win the flag preseason, the disrespect is perhaps not that surprising. Even Premiership victory isn’t enough to change this thinking, with Richmond already installed as Premiership favourites for 2019.
Ice water courses through Dom Sheed’s veins.
With the small matter of the Grand Final lead riding on his kick, Dom Sheed lined up for a goal deep in the Eagles pocket, 40 metres out with time running low. Rather than wilt under the weight of pressure and expectation, Sheed rose to the occasion and kicked a goal worthy of the place it will hold in football folklore.
Collingwood are glad they stuck with Jordan De Goey.
Collingwood had a difficult decision to make when Jordan De Goey was caught drink driving in the off-season. After an earlier indiscretion saw him lie to the club about his involvement in a bar fight, there were many who thought the Pies should cut ties with the talented small forward. The turn around produced by the 22-year-old, which saw him kick 48 goals including three on Grand Final day, will mean those Magpie decision makers who chose to stick with him will be pretty happy with themselves right now.
West Coast might have won the Judd trade.
It might not be a unanimous decision given that Judd captained the Blues, won three Best & Fairests and a Brownlow, but Saturday’s result might have enshrined West Coast as the winners of the trade that saw their former skipper join Carlton. With all due respect to Dennis Armfield who also ended up at Carlton as part of the trade, West Coast’s return of 2018 Premiership Players Chris Masten and Josh Kennedy probably puts their noses ahead in one of the most famous exchanges of modern times.
Everybody is a secret expert on ‘blocking in a marking contest’.
A little like what we see every four years when the Olympics come around, the coming together of Willie Rioli and Brayden Maynard has seen an outpouring of expert opinion from almost every Australian. Whether it be in agreement with the umpire who allowed play to continue and Dom Sheed’s match-winning goal to occur, or in opposition, there has been a surprisingly high level of conviction as to what should have occurred. The only thing more certain than these firmly held opinions is the fact that the decision will join Wayne Harmes’ tap back and Tom Hawkins’ ‘goal’ in the pantheon of Grand Final moments sure to spark debate.
WEST COAST 2.2 4.3 8.7 11.13 (79)
COLLINGWOOD 5.1 6.3 8.7 11.8 (74)
West Coast: Kennedy 3, Hutchings, Shuey, Sheed, Darling, Yeo, Cripps, Vardy, Rioli
Collingwood: De Goey 3, Cox 2, Stephenson 2, Hoskin-Elliott, Varcoe, Mihocek, Adams
West Coast: Shuey, Sheed, Barrass, Kennedy, Hutchings, Schofield, McGovern
Collingwood: Adams, Langdon, Crisp, Treloar, De Goey, Mayne
West Coast: Nil
Umpires: Stevic, Ryan, Rosebury
Official crowd: 100,022 at the MCG