For first time in 7 years the Tigers got together to watch the Grand Final party(Australian SuperBowl) away from any of the local area bars. With Dingo’s threatening to go offline and no other bar options leaping out at us we were really lucky when Lauren Lane (Mrs. Coach)was able to arrange the use of her apartment clubhouse for the spectacular. This meant there were no problems with bouncers trying to make us head for the door as the game passes closing time at 2, and that we could be as loud as we wanted to. . . . And let me tell you, WOW, what a gripping Grand Final it was, especially the last quarter!!!!
The 2010 Grand Final saw Collingwood take on St. Kilda in a good old fashioned battle of the Melbourne suburbs. Collingwood entered as a hot favorite after an emphatic victory over defending champs, Geelong in the Semi-Final. The Saints however wore the scars of an agonizing defeat in the 2009 Grand Final as incentive and appeared a determined unit after a turbulant year dogged by off field allegations and the loss of Saint Nick for a significant part of the year.
Collingwood were quick out of the blocks looking like they may repeat their strong semi-final win, but credit to the Saints however, as they flowed with the early pressure of the Pies to slowly stifle the onslaught of The Magpies game. While still trailing for most of the second half it had become apparent that the Saints were hanging tough and not going to give in. With Collingwood frustrated by the inability to bury the Saints due to some inaccurate kicking one could hear the ghosts of wobbles past coming to haunt the Magpie faithful. At 3 quarter time with the Saints only a goal down it was anyone’s match.
The final term was a classic, and in our clubhouse the excitement was at fever pitch with people screaming loudly for their team and growing hoarser by the second. The adrenaline was flowing and the tension was palpable. By now the Saints had reduced the Collingwood run to a trickle and it was not long before the scores had been leveled. It was now panic stations for the Magpies, and as Brendan Goddard soared above a pack to mark and goal, putting the Saints up for the first time all day it seemed that the Collingwood nightmare was going to become a reality. Collingwood not to be denied though, replied with a quick goal setup by the courageous play of their inspirational skipper, Nick Maxwell, to tie the game up and send things to overtime!!!!!
Hold on. . . . , there is no overtime in Aussie Rules Grand Finals. What an eerie feeling it was across the ground, indeed across the city and even spreading all the way to Baton Rouge Louisiana, as the final whistle blew and the spent and bewildered players on both teams could only drop to the ground in sheer exhaustion following the most epic of grand finals. A DRAW!!! one of only 3 draws in over 150 years of Aussie Rules history, No Overtime, No sudden death and the only way to find the overall chanpion was to regroup and come back again in 1 week for a rematch and fight again for the glory of the 2010 premiership!!!
With the no overtime rule a rematch was scheduled for the following week and Lauren was again gracious to allow the use of her clubhouse. Unfortunately the rematch would not live up to the drama of the previous week( really, how could it?).
It seemed that the Saints were a spent force from the moment the game started as they were never really in the game. It was ultimately a just result as Collingwood had struggled the previous week while the Saints you felt had given everything in battling to a stalemate. With St. Kilda failing at the final hurdle for a third time in 2 years you wonder if a premiership is on the horizon for this group of Saints that now seem destined to only add to the history of failure at a club who has tasted premiership glory only once in over 100 years. While ultimately the replay was a disappointing spectacle, you can never argue with another week of footy.
Thanks to everyone who was able to make it and who contributed so much to the 2010 season and we look forward to another great year of footy in 2011.