Grand Final – West Coast v Collingwood: Footy was the real winner


What can I say? Footy is the real winner.


By the time you finish reading this article, I will be on a plane to Europe with my school. Fortunately, we leave after the Grand Final ends. And I could not be more grateful.


After a finals series filled with blowouts and early wrap-ups, there were only two matches which I considered classics, and both of them involved West Coast and Collingwood.


I wasn’t as excited for this grand final; I expected that it would be another blowout, in favour of the Pies. For some reason, I thought the Eagles were incredibly overrated, especially without Nic Nat, Gaff and Sheppard in their team.


Who knows why I thought that? Even though Collingwood were the better team on the day, they failed to stand up when it counted. This was the story of both these finals.


My dad and I plonked ourselves on the couch to watch, while I intermittently made trips to my room to pack for my school’s Europe tour. Luckily we leave one day after the Grannie!


Collingwood race out of the blocks early. Varcoe boots the first goal, like he did last time he was on the big stage. Stephenson pops up for a pair of rippers, while De Goey and Hoskin-Elliot cap off a phenomenal opening quarter.


The Eagles hit back late, especially in the second term. However, for all their pressure, it results in nothing but another De Goey goal. Bruce almost has a stroke in the commentary box saying his name. But West Coast do come back with two quick ones before half time.


They manage to hit the lead late in the third, and it is all tied up at the final change. I begin to realise that this could be the best grand final I have ever watched. I was too young in ’05 and ’06, and the first time I really started watching was 2012! This game is a classic slugfest.


But Mihocek and De Goey kick the Pies out to a two-goal advantage within the first minute of the last term. During this period, I intermittently move in and out of my room, packing everything for my trip.


I manage to pack everything by the five-minute warning. West Coast are down by eight points at this stage, and Liam Ryan manages to find the diving Josh Kennedy, who snaps truly. Two points. This game is insane!


It manages to stay like this for the next few minutes until the Pies move forward once again. But McGovern manages to do what he always does and intercept once again, in a moment which sums his career up brilliantly.’


He threads a pass through to Vardy in the centre, who goes to a fifty-fifty contest, and Flyin’ Ryan takes a screamer! He has certainly had a rollercoaster year, but in this last quarter, he has been brilliant. He passes to Dom Sheed, in what is soon to be his second goal assist in the dying stages of the Grand Final.


Dad and I are going bonkers!! As two neutrals watching this game, it is so enthralling. We watch and follow the ball as it sails through, and as my dad says, “The crowd is going ape***t!!!”


West Coast do have a bit of a scare. Darling drops a sitter in the goalsquare which would have sealed the deal, similar to his drop in the 2015 Grannie. But while this drop was way worse, it still did not matter in the end.


The siren sounds and the Weagles have won what is officially the greatest decider I have ever watched live on TV. Buckley and McGuire and Joffa are of course, shattered. They were probably the better team, but West Coast were irresistible in that last quarter!


Collingwood will consider themselves super unlucky. of course, people will point fingers at Alex Woodward, the runner, who cost them a goal late in the third term. But it is hardly his fault. If he does not get in the way, it is impossible to say whether Collingwood would have won or not. It was a tight contest all throughout. West Coast were simply better than the Pies late in the game.


No matter what happens from now on, whether they get rid of the runner entirely or not, this was cracking game; definitely one of the five best grand finals ever played. And if you are a Collingwood fan, you have to acknowledge how good the football was.


I have no idea what the AFL is thinking with 6-6-6 zones and 18m goalsquares. If there is anything we learnt today, it is that the state of the game is completely fine, as these two teams showed us.


Let me just say, before I leave for Europe, that AFL is the best sporting code out there. Incredibly unique and captivating. This grand final will go down in history as one of the greatest ever played, and in fifty or sixty years time, all the old-timers like me will remember this day and say, “Footy was the real winner in 2018”.

About Daniel Saunders

I have been an AFL fanatic and Swans supporter for most of my life, much to the dismay of those around me; they never hear the end of it! What else do you expect from New South Wales school life?


  1. Spot on Daniel. The game was brilliant, and the game, as a whole, is brilliant. If we want to rid the game of its magic, if we want to dumb it down, if we want to create a bland and predictable affair, then we should change the rules.

  2. Cracking game, Daniel, I agree.

    All the best in Europe.
    Take that perspective with you. You’ve already seen so much.

  3. Fully agree with your “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” sentiments, Daniel.
    Often the best grand finals are those where goals are at a premium.
    This century, neither team in the 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010 (draw), 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2018 deciders reached the magical ton, with the average margin being 8.67 points.

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