Grand Final preview – position by position

In the midst of the footy card mania of my youth, there was a game that was played between my brothers and I.

The simple premise of the game was that you picked a team and put them into their positions. Then each position would be judged. The coach with the most number of winning positions was declared the winner.

In this age of plus ones, rolling midfields, rotations and third men, this game has become drastically outdated. Therefore it makes perfect sense to pull it out from the back of the cupboard in the spare room, dust it off, and give it a go for the teams in the big dance on Saturday.

The teams are taken from the Hun’s named line-ups. There is no way they will line up like that on the day, but in the interests of fairness, it’s game on!

A.Toovey v P.Chapman

Toovey is honest and a good link man, but he will have a sleepless night tonight if he knows he is on Chappy. A big game player, who has the potential to win the game of his own boot.

Coll 0 – Gee 1

B.Reid v J.Podsiadly

All Australian centre half back on one leg playing full back on a 30 year old reject. One of the match-ups of the game. Reid gets the points here.

Coll 1- Gee 1

H.O’Brien v T.West

I know Harmsy thinks West is a vital cog in this Geelong machine, but Harry’s run and dash will be damaging. He will also be able to zone off his taller oppenent to help spoil kicks to JPod and Tomahawk.

Coll 2 – Gee 1

N.Maxwell v  S.Johnson

All hinges on the fitness of Johnno. Fully fit, he wins this one hands down. Keeps Maxwell accountable and limits his ability to zone off. Also able to run up through the midfield, which would test the fitness of the underdone skipper. Even half-fit, it would be a courageous decision to leave Johnno free in the forward line. Stevie J, just.

Coll 2 – Gee 2

C.Tarrant v T.Hawkins

Another interesting duel. Tarrant is a great spoiler, and Hawkins is not a great mark. His main role is to crash packs and bring the ball to ground, which Tarrant will help him to do. These two cancel each other out.

Coll 2 – Gee 2

H.Shaw v T.Varcoe

This one is a worry for Cats fans. Trav is quite prone to disappearing during games and this would allow Shaw to head off on his customary dashing runs. On the flip side, Varcoe doesn’t need a lot of the ball to do some damage. The Gambler wins this one.

Coll 3 – Gee 2

J.Blair v J.Selwood

Oh dear, Mick wouldn’t would he? A bit like racing my daughter’s pony against Black Caviar.

Coll 3 – Gee 3

D.Swan v J.Bartel

“Do you have a Brownlow?” “Yes.” “Multiple All-Australian?” “Check.” “Premiership.” “Yep.” “Tattoos?” “Nope, got me there.”

A heavyweight clash worth the (rapidly falling) price of admission alone. Both have the ability to push forward and kick goals. Bartel is probably stronger in defence and the air, while Swan is better around the ground and at the stoppages. Either have strong claims on the Norm Smith and both are proven big game players. Toss of the coin. Swan by a sleeve.

Coll 4 – Gee 3

D.Thomas v A.Mackie

Daisy has progressed from an outside player who roamed the boundary line content to do the flashy things to an aggressive inside player whose tackle last weekend typifies his new approach. Even if he is not getting a lot of the ball, his bodywork is made for Grand Finals. Mackie has come back well from finals disappointment last year, but doesn’t quite match Daisy is the intensity around the packs.

Coll 5 – Gee 3

B.Johnson v C.Enright

The Pies have skipped two clear and is starting to worry me. Here is one to even it up a bit better. Johnson is a trier, but I can’t see him getting the room to wheel on to the left to deliver to his forwards. If forced on his right, it could get ugly. Enright is too clever to give him the space he needs.

Coll 5 – Gee 4

L.Brown v H.Taylor

Harry is known around Geelong for being quite laid back. What a stress free night he is in for if this match up eventuates. Brown will attempt to stamp some physical authority on the contest. He will knock someone out, but might not touch the ball.

Coll 5 – Gee 5

A.Didak v D.Wojcinski

Two ways this could turn. Didak continues his horrible form and watches forlornly as Wojo repeatedly streaks away and bombs long inside 50. Then Mick subs him off. Or, he finds his magic, the crowd gets behind him, and he kicks a number of goals from stupid angles. Then Scotty subs Wojo off. Going on recent form, Wojo gets this one.

Coll 5 – Gee 6

S.Sidebottom v J.Hunt

Everyone will tell you that Steelo has kicked 10 in a Grannie on the ‘G before, but this is not the Under 18s. This one worries me. Sidebottom seems comfortable under pressure. He has poise and control beyond his years. Hunt on the other hand, does not instill that same confidence. Looks good when it is going his way, but can get shaky when the heat is on. Look for some easy goals from turnovers off the boot of Hunt.

Coll 6 – Gee 6

T.Cloke v M.Scarlett

Another classic battle. The best forward in the competition on the best backman. Scarlett is prone to allowing his man to fly for pack marks. Cloke is one who can hold them. If Scarlo can wriggle free, he will be valuable to the defensive rebounds. If Cloke has his kicking boot on, he could be the key for the Pies. Almost too close to call. Cloke, providing he is wearing his iPod.

Coll 7 – Gee 6

L.Ball v T.Lonergen

Ball is the prototype player for a Grand Final. Thrives on physical contests, relishes the pressure and stays cool when the heat is on. That St Kilda got rid of him is proof that Ross Lyon is not a good coach. Lonergen is a battler who does his job. Ball wins easily and may well be wearing the Norm Smith at the end.

Coll 8 – Gee 6

D.Jolly v B.Ottens

Jolly is far from fit. He really shouldn’t play. But we can only play the game as they are named. Otto gets this one in a canter.

Coll 8 – Gee 7

S.Pendlebury v C.Ling

The Mayor will have his hands full. Pendles is going to get a lot of the ball. It is just a matter of what Lingy can do going the other way.

Coll 9 – Gee 7

A.Krakouer v J.Corey

Yes, he may have had 100 possessions in WAFL Grand Final, but again, this is different. Like Varcoe, I feel Krakouer may go missing during stages of this game.  He also doesn’t need much to damage the opposition. Corey is ever reliable and will not fade out of big games. His consistency gets him the points.

Coll 9 – Gee 8

L.Davis v J.Kelly

There is no way Kelly will start on the bench. Davis may, in an attempt to get that valuable first possession once the game has settled. Kelly is Geelong’s Luke Ball. The harder the game gets, the more he responds. This game will suit Kelly to a tee. Another with strong Norm Smith claims.

Coll 9 – Gee 9

S.Wellingham v M.Duncan

Wellingham always surprises me. Just when I am convinced that he is a wink link in this line-up, he plays a huge game. Reads the ball of the pack beautifully and is dynamite with Jolly in the forward line stoppages. Duncan promises to be a good, honest player for a long time. He is just not there yet.

Coll 10 – Gee 9

C.Dawes v M.Stokes

Stokes is getting better and better as he works to shake off past indiscretions and inconsistencies. What better way to thank those who stuck by him in his darker days than a huge game with 4 goals in a premiership? Dawes started this year on fire, I just think it has been too long since he has tasted the magical Arizona oxygen and his year has all but sputtered out.

Coll 10 – Gee 10

A.Fasalo v A.Christensen

So it comes to the two most unlikely, the super subs. Fasalo has shown he is very good at sitting on the pine until 5 minutes to go in the last. Like a bull at a gate, he will take even half a chance and give it a crack. A long kick who seems very sure of himself. Christensen keeps surprising everyone. Perhaps his likeness to Stokes is why I think Stokes has improved this year. It is easier when you have a clone gaining you credits as well. A couple of goals to either would have them win this position. I’m giving it to Stokes only because I expect he will be on the ground for longer and thus have more impact on the game. Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fasalo kick the sealer.

Coll 10 – Gee 11

So there it is. In a pure and scientifically proven method, Cats to win by a whisker.


About Shane Kennedy

An Eagles supporter living near Geelong. Thankful the Cats have tasted recent success as it means supporters forget '92/'94. My footy intake is restricted to Channel 7 (with no wide screen) and ABC radio. I may not know the score, quarter or time remaining, but I know I hate Brian Taylor's commentary on Saturday nights.


  1. If only the pies had lined up with Chris Tallent on Hawkins it would have been a whole other story.

Leave a Comment