COLLINGWOOD vs ST KILDA
The last appearance of Collingwood in a Grand Final, where they got smashed by the Lions, was at a time when there were hardly any 50m penalties, you had to have some control of the ball to be awarded a mark, and if someone put their head over the ball, you bumped the living shit out of them and didn't get rubbed out for 6 weeks. Sounds like ages ago but it's only been 7 years! I was watching the replay of that match recently and it was astounding how much more the game made sense, even just 7 short years ago. Amazing how officialdom can do so much to fuck the game up in such a relatively short space of time...but I digress...The last time the 'Pies actually won a flag was when there was no "prior opportunity" bullshit. You got tackled with the ball, stiff shit! And this guy with this rad hair was the business:
Almost a mullet to rival that of Iva Davies in the 'Electric Blue' video clip...almost...
A long time ago that was, but the last time the Saints won, I was years from even being born. It's been a long time between drinks for both sides and I can see the Saints coming out fired up for this one after last year's narrow GF loss to the Cats. Collingwood were amazingly good against Geelong in the preliminary final and the Saints will need to bring the form that they showed against the Cats in Week 1 of the finals to have any chance. I expect that they will, which sets up a potential classic. The 'Pies have an advantage in that they have numerous guys who can kick multiple goals, whereas the Saints rely so much on Riewoldt and Koschitzke, who can both completely lose the radar sometimes. Dane Swan will no doubt have a big game and is my pick for the Norm Smith medal. If he had of played for a team where he was easily the best player, a'la Chris Judd at Carlton, than he would have won the Brownlow by 20 votes. Anyway, the Norm Smith is just as good, if not even more meaningful. The Saints are great value at $3, but I'm going to have to reluctantly tip the 'Pies...they just destroyed Geelong last week. I think this will be a lot closer but that their tackling pressure and run will ultimately prove too much for the Saints. None of us want to see it people, but prepare yourself for the Year Of The Bogan!
TITANS vs ROOSTERS
If your team gets through to a Preliminary Final and awaiting them is the Gold Coast, well you can certainly live with that. The Titans rarely blow teams away and usually give teams enough chances to beat them. I don't think that "home advantage" will be much of a factor for the Titans, considering that when I went to see my Roosters boys play them at Skilled Park during the regular season, there were more Roosters fans than Titans fans. Just how many of them will make the trip up? Hopefully they all couldn't be assed 'cause they're goin' for a surf in the mornin'. There'll likely be many Broncos fans there cheering on the Titans, but no dramas there; the Chooks are 3/3 in QLD this year and have played well in most away games this season. Those of you who are going for the Gold Coast, just think how boring a Grand Final between the Titans and the Dragons could potentially be! Oh the humanity! Tipping my Roosters obviously, I'll be there at Suncorp, sitting with all the Roosters nuts like this guy:
Hopefully, late Friday night I'll be booking flights and accomodation for the big one!
DRAGONS vs TIGERS
Here's how I see this unfolding...Dragons dominate posession early and after numerous back to back sets, Soward takes an early two points through a penalty. About five minutes later he slots another. The Tigers get some ball but can't find a way through like they did early against the Roosters and Raiders. They take a shot at goal just to slow things down and give their forwards a breather. Dragons get more ball and another penalty and Soward points to the sticks. On 32 mins, the Dragons score through Gasnier, prompting loud cries of "Cooking with Gaz" from their ultra-creative fans...
Soward kicks the goal, or maybe he misses, it doesn't really matter. Dragons lead 10/12 -2 at the half. Second half, and if you thought the Tigers looked tired at the back end of the game against the Raiders, you should see them now. The Dragons are turning the screws, another penalty goal and the Tigers are teetering. Marshall starts trying too hard, and you're thinking that if the Dragons can slot yet another penalty, she's all over. They do. And that 5th or 6th or however many penalty goals it is now that they've kicked breaks the backs of the Tigers. Dragons then finish them off with a couple of late tries.
Just can't see the Tigers winning this. Against any other team, I'd give them a big chance but the Dragons defensive, clinical and effective, yet ultimately boring game plan is simply against them here. The St. George-Illawarra-Steeler-Dragons will grind them down early, and when they sense the weariness creeping into their opposition, they'll go for the jugular and join the Roosters in the Grand Final!