Grand Final Preview 2018: The biggest stage

 

To state the bleeding obvious, Grand Finals are about big game players and those who have the opportunity to be remembered for taking hold of the biggest moments.

 

When you look to both sides there are big game players. The ones that assert themselves on the main stage come Saturday afternoon will dictate the tone of the contest and go a long way in deciding the winner.

 

The dark cloud of the 2015 decider still looms over the Eagles. Hurn, LeCras, Kennedy, Shuey and co have the opportunity to make amends. The Western Australian side carries an aura of excitement and flare. Their forward line and run off half back is electric. Players like Rioli, Ryan and Jetta possess a ‘no fear’ attitude when playing at Optus Stadium in Perth. Whether they and Simpson can translate that mentality into the team will be pivotal.

 

However the precise ball movement of Pendlebury, Sidebottom and Phillips coupled with their ability to command the pace of the game presents ominous signs for the Eagles. Collingwood have proven again their leaders can take control at the MCG, seen in the Anzac Day clash and last week against Richmond.

 

The various subplots underlying this clash add to the intrigue. Buckley’s revival, Varcoe’s showing of immense mental strength and the fact Josh Thomas was driving for UBER two years ago during his ban and now gets an opportunity to become a premiership player.

 

The 2018 season has produced many surprises. Many would expect another one tomorrow.

 

West Coast has all the ingredients for a famous premiership win. But the influence of the MCG, Collingwood’s momentum and the greater class of their big game players will be the Eagle’s undoing.

 

Expect a close one early but as the Magpies settle themselves they will eventually prevail.

 

However in saying all of that, there is only one certainty for tomorrow. Eddie will cry tomorrow come the final siren, whether they are tears of joy or consolation, the Footy Gods will decide.

 

Collingwood by 22 points. 

Comments

  1. Colin Ritchie says:

    It was a fabulous grand final, a classic in the true sense of the word, and until the final minutes it was still anyone’s game. Collingwood did extremely well I thought, especially when their bigger name players had relatively quiet days and did not have the same impact as in previous weeks. However, some of their lesser lights, or perhaps lesser known players, stepped up. Langdon comes to mind, I thought he played a cracker of a game, and Mihocek looked threatening at times. I think the difference was when Darling and Kennedy came into the game; it really exposed Collingwood’s lack of an extra tall down back. Howe was hampered by his injury and did not have the same influence expected of him on the game. A great game though!

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