Ten Things I Learnt from the Grand Final

TEN THINGS I LEARNT AFTER THE 2018 GRAND FINAL.

1.  It’s time we put to bed the notion of playing it at the MCG is a disadvantage to interstate teams.

The Grand Final will be at the MCG for the next 65 years or more, so all this talk of interstate sides being disadvantaged is not only pointless, but today proves it’s BS.  West Coast won plenty of times on the road.  Good sides tend to do that.

2. Mark Hutchings’ job on Steele Sidebottom tells me we have another A-Grade tagger.

Keeping a guy who’s been averaging well over 30 possessions a game in the finals to just 14 is no mean feat.  Whilst much of his work was probably not as prominent as the exploits of Shuey and Sheed, I’d say Adam Simpson would have his own Norm Smith put aside for Hutchings.

3. Nathan Buckley probably no longer believes in fairytales.

You have to feel for the guy who keeps coming close to premiership success without tasting it.  But it’s fair to say he’s answered his critics and can clearly coach.  It will be interesting how they go next year with what will be a tougher draw.

4. A lot of talk throughout the year was the injuries at Collingwood.  I’d question which of these two teams had the more significant players missing..

I know it was a fairly bad year in terms of their injury list, but when you consider the Eagles went in to the GF without Naitanui, Gaff, Shepard & Mackenzie, I don’t think we can use that as any sort of excuse for the Pies.

5. Jack Darling would be counting his blessings that his late fumble didn’t cost them the game.

I’m sure Jack would love that moment again.  Can you imagine the headlines if, after his fumble in the goalsquare which cost a certain goal that would’ve iced the game, the Pies swept the ball away and scored a goal with what would’ve been seconds remaining?  He’s a very lucky man!

6. Collingwood lost to West Coast three times in just 10 weeks - including twice at the MCG.

It would seem the Eagles have no fear of playing the Pies, and no fear of travelling to the MCG.  They played just 3 games at the MCG this year and won them all.  Being undefeated at the MCG is something not even Richmond can say in 2018.

7. I’m not sure if Facebook is quiet tonight because the Collingwood fans don’t want to talk or because they’ve all smashed their phones.

There’s nothing worse than leading a game for over 90% of the time only to lose it late.  Back in my day, you’d punch your seat or kick it on the siren.  These days, you smash your phone into the ground.  There’ll be a lot of very happy phone repairers tonight, and we’re all glad we don’t have wall to wall black and white on our newsfeeds.

8. Dom Sheed’s late goal was sublime.

Under two minutes to go, just metres in from the boundary, trailing by two points in a Grand Final in front of 100,000 people. A beautiful kick off the boot with the best camera angle imaginable - followed by the sound of tens of thousands hearts breaking. If you haven’t seen the goal, don’t worry.  It’ll be on every news service every ten seconds for the next 24 hours.

9. A five-goal lead in the first quarter means nothing.

It was an awesome start, but my mind went back to Round 1 when my Blues burst out of the blocks and kicked the first five against the Tigers, who steadied and eventually won in a canter.  And once Willie shinned through the first goal for the Eagles, the game was, for the most part, played on West Coast’s terms. I still believe the better side won on the day.

10. Luke Shuey is elite!

This is not something most didn’t already know.  That said, the Eagles were in trouble early, and he and Dom Sheed got them back into the game. Many thought the Pies midfield runs deeper than the Eagles, but this was where the revival came from, and ultimately the victory. And I felt Luke was definitely a Shuey-in for the Norm Smith!  Hey, I’m allowed to finish on a Dad joke if I feel like it.

Well done to West Coast.  You and the Pies surprised us all this year. Stay tuned as next week I’ll give my ten things I’ve learnt about season 2018.

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