Monday, December 12, 2016

2010 Grand Final

St. Kilda and Collingwood met twice during the 2010 home-and-away season. The Saints won a round 3 matchup way back in April, and the Magpies took the round 16 rematch three months later.

Collingwood won the minor premiership and were the #1 seed as a result of having the best win-loss record during the season, while St. Kilda finished third on the ladder. They would meet in what would normally be the last game of the season, and then they'd do it again.

The 2010 Grand Final between the two sides was a riveting affair, the Pies clinging to a one-point lead with under 2:00 to play and the Saints knocking on the door, bringing every ounce of desperation they had.

Saint Lenny Hayes kicked from just outside the forward 50-meter line, hoping to find a friendly face near the sticks. Not having the distance, the ball caromed away from teammate Stephen Milne and through for a behind, tying the game at 68. Had the ball bounced into Milne's hands (he'd gotten away from his defender), he had an open kick at goal from point-blank range that would've given the underdog Saints a five-point margin late in the match.

Instead that's where the scoring ended. Hayes won the 2010 Norm Smith Medal as the best on ground.

This match became the third of its kind in AFL history. In the other two, Melbourne beat Essendon in 1948 and North Melbourne defeated Collingwood in the rematch of the 1977 Grand Final.

The exhaustion...
and the stunned disbelief of both sides following a drawn Grand Final.

It's fascinating to watch the closing moments as the siren presided over drawn teams. The feeling is surreal at the MCG-- all the energy just completely left the building, replaced with a feeling of bewilderment at having to process a tie.

The sting must have been a little sharper for St. Kilda because they squandered a fourth quarter lead and lost the 2009 Grand Final to the Geelong Cats.

Instead the Saints and Pies went through more preparation and somehow tried to get their minds and bodies ready to play another match on the biggest stage of them all.

What's amazing about this is the overtime rules were in effect for all other finals matches, and were actually implemented in 1994 (North Melbourne over Hawthorn) and in the 2007 playoffs when Collingwood defeated West Coast.

Those games were settled with two five-minute extra periods, with sudden death in case scores are still level.

I compare this to America and the feeling that would be out there if the Super Bowl was still tied and everyone went home. It wouldn't happen of course because of how the rules are set up, but what if the Packers and Patriots were told to come back next week? Disbelief and outrage, correct?

So earlier this year the AFL amended their bylaws so that the Grand Final would also go to the two five-minute extra periods. I feel like this should have been done sooner, but part of the reasoning is that they seemed to like the possibility of having a tie. It makes sense, since they get to have another 100,000 fans buy tickets. Another stated reason is travel, as a non-Victorian side may have a disadvantage of added plane rides.

As for the 2010 Grand Final replay, Collingwood held St. Kilda to one first-half goal and won by 56 points. It marked their 15th (and most recent) Premiership. Scott Pendlebury for the Magpies won the Norm Smith Medal.

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