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Birds fly out for AFL final

AFL: Australia’s sports mad public are gearing up for tomorrow when nearly 100,000 will be in attendance at the world-renowned Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), also known simply as ‘The G’.

By The Phuket News

Friday 28 September 2018, 05:00PM

Panoramic view of the Melbourne Cricket Ground during the national anthem prior to the AFL Grand Final on September 30, 2017. Photo: Flickerd /

Panoramic view of the Melbourne Cricket Ground during the national anthem prior to the AFL Grand Final on September 30, 2017. Photo: Flickerd /

But will the Magpies down the Eagles?

Yes, the AFL Grand Final kicks-off tomorrow (Sept 29) amongst the hype and sensationalism that always accompanies this great game.

This year has the added bonus of interstate rivalry with the West Coast Eagles targetting the Victorian-based Collingwood Football Club (Magpies).

The Eagles last played in an AFL Grand Final in 2015, and lost. Collingwood last won in 2010…so one could say the stakes are very high.

Everyone talks about the professionalism of the West Coast Eagles and at the same time the collie-wobbles for their competitor, but what will happen in 2018? Skill is the name of the game and both teams have plenty.

West Coast have beaten Collingwood in each game this year including the first final but both teams had emphatic wins in the preliminary final making the choice of a winner as difficult as predicting the toss of a coin…it really is 50/50.

There is great respect amongst the two camps but that goes out the door tomorrow with the highest award in the land going to the winner.

Both teams list magnificent superstars, some earned by years of diligent work ethic and others by instant stardom bought about by gut-wrenching performances of speed and firebrand muscle.

Let’s have a look at some of the stars of both teams:

Collingwood have come from a previous year of turmoil finishing 13th of 18 teams in 2017 with much criticism of their performance and their coach, Nathan Buckley, nearly dumped as controversy raged.

A proud club with many raging questions. In 2018 they lost the first two games of the season but then what a turn around.

Steele Sidebottom – Master class performance all year and a star of the finals series, can play anywhere and on anyone, his class alone can win the game for the Maggie. Clearly their best player.

Scott Pendlebury – Captain courageous and Norm Smith medallist when the ‘Pies’ won in 2010 Untouchable in defence and sensational in attack, just an extraordinary performer.

Mason Cox – All 211cm of him. The American Eagle who plays for the Magpies. Funny that, yes USA born and only playing Australian football for a short time but given his height no one can touch him and he comes off a best on-ground performance from the previous week. Can he repeat it?

Gordon Degoey – Full forward firebrand with speed, agility, toughness and wonderful kicking skills. He can be the man of the day but pressure comes in big doses from the Eagles.

Tyson Goldsack – An inspiration from oblivion because of injury but what a role he has been playing during the finals. A critical defender and experience from when the Pies won in 2010.

Brodie Grundy – Is he the best ruckman in the AFL? Some would say definitely yes and this is hard to argue with. A wonderful distributor of the ball and a huge man and heart to go with it.

Travis Varcoe – The Speedstar, the Bolt of Australian football who overcame personal tragedy to play magnificently through the finals.

And on the list goes on for a very hard working and talented team. Too many great players to mention!


The West Coast Eagles have the horsepower and leadership to beat any team They are superbly led by supercoach Adam Simpson and have a history that suggests success in any finals campaign. Their backline has some of the best and they apply manic pressure leading to perhaps the best forward line in the competition.

Willie Rioli – The Rioli name is enough to terrify the opposition. What a family and what a wonderful young player that sets the Eagles alight.

Mark Lecras – Forwarder, follower, goal sneak…you name it he has it. In the twilight of his career so no one deserves a premiership more.

Josh Kennedy – The bearded wonder, captain, the Eagles leading goal kicker and as tough as nails.

Jack Darling – A huge man at full forward and a wonderful year in 2018. Look out for Jack.

Luke Shuey – Fast, durable and a wonderful team man. Steady as a rock.

Jeremy McGovern – In my mind the best (for many seasons) back man in the game. A tower of strength, a wonderful kicker and can thwart so many Magpie attacks.

Elliot Yeo – As good as McGovern and that means a very strong back line, a great mark and as tough as they come.

Like the Magpies the team in total is tough and talented so what a game heading our way!

Bangla bars will be alive with emotion come tomorrow and crowds will be attracted regardless of whether you are a skilled commentator on the game or a new comer interested in what all the noise is about.

Australians think the world stops for the Australian Rules Grand Final and so it may come Saturday September 29. Some 100,000 people packed into the MCG and millions watching or listening wherever they may be.

The start will be determined by the toss of a coin and in the minds of many the result could fall the same way.

So let the war begin and let us all pay homage to these superb athletes who put their bodies on the line, who play the game they love and entertain us to such a high degree for six months of the year.

I for one will be watching and enjoying every minute of what will be a wonderful exhibition of Australian Rules Football.

No doubt half time will be the calm before the storm.

So up there Cazaly, in there and fight, fly like an angel, fight like the devil, you're out their to win!

Good luck to both teams!

Text by Peter Bricknell



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