The hard hitting and opinionated Daryl Taber returns with a review of the 2nd Preliminary Final, Geelong Vs Collingwood.
FAVORED CATS ALMOST MISS OUT ON THE CREAM
Supporters are rarely satisfied with a loss. I imagine the disappointed Mighty Magpie Army consider Friday’s loss to Geelong heartbreaking as they finished their season just one straight kick away from a grand final. But when they evaluate their efforts in the fullness of time, considering how much the odds were stacked against them, they will look at the positives and towards a bright future.
When a match is decided by just one kick any one play can make the difference. But how much did the brave decision of Josh Fraser before the game, not to play, affect the result?
Big Brad Ottens had the most influence on this match and try as hard as they did, the second string ruckmen for Collingwood just couldn’t nullify his impact.
Collingwood were also coming off a return trip to Perth the week before when they needed to play extra time to run over the Eagles whilst the Cats had a week’s rest. Most tipsters forecast a bigger winning margin.
The modern Collingwood just never say die! They harass, tackle and smother as well as any team in the competition. Many times it looked like the Cats were about to break free but the Magpie runners kept getting them back into the match. Lockyer, Maxwell and Shaw led the way most of the night.
The biggest crowd at the ‘G’ since it’s redevelopment, 98,002, watched a determined Magpie defence led by James Clement, Shane Wakelin and Martin Clarke, doggedly hold up the purring Cats. Dane Swan also played well especially when you consider he had the game’s best tagger on him in Cameron Ling. Cam Mooney was kicking straighter than many of his teammates and his few possessions were telling. Stokes and Johnson were also lively each kicking 3 goals. Gary Ablett used the ball plenty of times with poise as usual. He often combined well with Ottens at stoppages. A typical display of brilliance steadied the Cats near the end of a thrilling final quarter when he pounced on the ball, broke a tackle and snapped a match-saving goal.
Paul Medhurst again revived the Magpies with a goal leaving 55 seconds to play. These seconds probably take years off coaches lives. Bomber Thompson must have been so relieved when the centre clearance went the Cats way and they were able to keep possession of the ball.
One game highlight worthy of special mention is Alan Didak’s freakish goal. He tapped the ball out of mid-air onto his right foot and snapped it over his left shoulder, somewhat similar to a soccer ‘bicycle kick’, from close range.
The Cats are within one win of their first premiership in 44 years but will need to better next week if they are to hold the Premiership Cup aloft. Collingwood supporters can be proud of their team’s achievements this year.
It’s a cliché of old that there’s always next season but I think they’ve got a lot to look forward to.
Geelong 13. 14 (92) def
Collingwood 13. 9 (87)