I was a very ordinary AFL player and a somewhat better junior coach.
I played in two grand finals for the North Coffs Kangaroos in reserve grade in the 1990’s.
We lost them both….badly.
I coached a Belconnen Cats junior team to a premiership at U13 level in the early part of this century and was on the coaching team that took the same team to junior grand finals at the U15’s and U16’s.
My football experience is very limited, but I know a few things about grand finals.
Grand Finals are played between the ears. Self belief, collective spirit and momentum play such a large role in the fortunes of those sides left battling out on that one day in September.
When you win a Grand Final it’s not you’re best 3 players that get you over the line, it’s your bottom 5. Your game day depth is tested on GF day more than any other day. Sure there are some great players who’ve shone remarkably in September, but I think it’s a day for the lesser lights to be the difference between the two sides.
So, tomorrow then….who wins ?
Surely it’s Sydney.
Last week against the Kangaroos they were amazing. How do you stop Buddy when he’s on song ? I don’t think you can. With Kurt Tippett wreaking havoc and the elusive Adam Goodes cruising around to add to the damage, it’s a formidable forward combo. And don’t worry, tomorrow is the sort of day that Sam Reid could just bob up and kick a lazy 3 goals as well. Hawthorn defend well, but if Buddy gets some decisive early touches, I don’t think they’ll stop him.
Would you have included Cyril Rioli if you were coaching Hawthorn ?
I think they had to include him.
There is a school of thought that suggests every player in a Grand Final must come into the game 100% fit, but to win this game, the Hawks are going to create some goals from nothing and that’s what Rioli does. I daresay we’ll know by quarter time if they made the right call.
I’m forecasting an early arm wrestle. Low scoring and goal for goal in the first half. The Swans to lead by 8 points at half time, Buddy with 1 goal 4 at the main break.
Sydney will ascert it’s assendancy in the 3rd quarter before cruising home to a 5 goal win.
Buddy Franklin to finish the day with 5.5.
What do you think ?