What the hell was that? The big AFL let-down
On the eve of the AFL Grand Final, I wrote just two words. Colliwobble Day.
It wasn’t a deliberate curse – I was simply acting on a sickly feeling that the Magpies might kind of wobble.
My instincts proved right, when the Pies died in the second half of their Grand Final showdown against the Saints. It’s scary, when you feel those Colliwobbles invading the hallowed turf once more.
In 1977, Collingwood played in a drawn Grand Final against North Melbourne. I remember the hollow feeling all too well – and watching on in horror as the footballers collapsed like flies all over the ground.
I relived that weird feeling on Saturday afternoon, 33 years after the Pies-Roos draw.
Pressure is a funny thing. It can choke the most gifted, skilful athletes and therefore sporting teams. Those Magpie goal-kicking yips appeared again.
The Pies were confident their days of inaccurate kicking were behind them. But just that smidge of doubt haunted the Woods – again – on Saturday. And it cost them the premiership cup, drawing 68-all.
In the first half of the Grand Final, it appeared the Pies were on their way to yet another cakewalk. But then the demons of 1977 returned to haunt the hallowed turf.
Collingwood’s composure and confidence seemed to evaporate as the Saints let it rip.
The Magpies could feel the game slipping from their grasp in the dying minutes and they fought tooth and nail, whacking through a couple of goals.
But the Saints hate losing, especially after their narrow, painful loss to Geelong last year. So they fought back – and tied the score – just hours after Prime Minister Julia Gillard pleaded with the footballers not to draw the game.
Ms Gillard might have put the mozz on the Magpies. A logistical nightmare follows the draw, as people’s plans are put on ice for another week.
It’s tough to predict the outcome of a match that rides on emotion. I was convinced the Pies would win the Grand Final, based on their form, player dynamics and confidence.
But there is a much greater force at play … desire. The hungriest team will win this Saturday. Who knows if it will be another Colliwobble Day?
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