Good old Collingwood forever!
On a glorious spring afternoon, Neos Kosmos Sports Editor James Belias basked in the atmosphere surrounding Australia’s greatest annual sporting event.
De ja vu? You would think there would have been a slight hint of it after the drawn Grand Final the previous week.
But it was a new day, and the butterflies in my stomach were no where to be felt as we joined the hordes through the back streets of Richmond en route to the MCG. Magpies and Saints, walking side by side, seemed to share camaraderie as they approached the legendary stadium, no doubt the legacy of the previous week’s drawn Grand Final.
With the match barely underway, Collingwood wasted no time in asserting their position over their seemingly hapless opponents. As the first quarter unfolded, it seemed clear which of the two sets of fans would emerge victorious from the ‘G. Collingwood’s suffocating pressure, teamwork and incessant running undid the Saints early on, and St. Kilda had few answers for the Magpies’ varied fire-power up front.
In fact the Saints only kicked one goal up to half time, with Collingwood continuing its demolition of St Kilda in the second half. Nothing could stop the Magpie juggernaut as Collingwood became the 2010 AFL Premiers after a thumping 56-point win over their rivals.
The Magpies claimed their first flag since 1990, as Pies fans Australia-wide celebrated in style after the drought-breaking win. Collingwood ultimately won the game 16.12 (108) to 7.10 (52) with the Saints booting most of their goals in the final quarter with the match played and won.
Scott Pendlebury had 29 quality disposals and 11 tackles taking out the Norm Smith Medal. Collingwood’s other major stars were Heath Shaw (28 disposals), Dale Thomas (27) and Dane Swan (26). Darren Jolly dominated around the ground amassing a massive 35 hit-outs and kicking one goal.
Having crossed over from St Kilda last year, Luke Ball tasted victory as a Premiership player despite having played in the losing St Kilda Grand Final team in 2009. Ball was one of the chief architects of his former side's downfall with a smothering job on last week's Norm Smith medallist Lenny Hayes. Nathan Brown again did the job on the highly fancied Nick Riewoldt rendering the St Kilda skipper largely ineffective and goalless.
Mick Malthouse, who spent the last five minutes on the bench was embraced by all and sundry as the final siren sounded with Collingwood premiers for the 15th time in the club's storied history.
"At the half time break we thought we were doing things fairly well," Malthouse said. "One of our indicators is 'relentless' [and] we took the foot off the throat last week - and full credit to St Kilda who came back - [but] I just thought if we maintained that pressure, then I don't care who you are or what you are, you can't score against that pressure. "That was the key to it, and I thought the first 10 minutes of that third quarter was fairly intense - as intense as any third quarter you can get, given what had already transpired in the first half - and if the boys held up in that first 10 minutes I thought we could win the game."
Broken-hearted Saints fans, having lost consecutive Grand Finals (the draw in between notwithstanding), could only look on as euphoric Collingwood army embraced anyone in black and white, singing “Good Old Collingwood Forever” repeatedly. As the Pies faithful snapped up their trademark Premiers posters outside the MCG, even the most pessimistic Collingwood fans would have been looking forward to their team’s Premiership defence in 2011.
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