A packed house at the MCG for the two clubs with (probably) the biggest following in Melbourne made the most noise heard all year at the MCG. It began in the lead up to the sides running onto the arena for the first Preliminary Final. Richmond were undeniable favorites going into the game, but there has been something special building at Collingwood this season under a more relaxed coach Nathan Buckley, Perhaps taking his lead from the 2017 Damien Hardwick success story.
It took until the dying minutes of the game for the West Coast Eagles to overcome a spirited Collingwood Magpies in the 2nd Qualifying Final. It was the second trip to Perth for the Pies in as many weeks, and they proved that they are not overawed at the prospect of playing in front of nearly 60,000 hostile fans in the cauldron of Optus Stadium. There were a dozen lead changes over the course of the game and it could have gone either way as time ticked down. Both sides were spent, but it was Lewis Jetta who danced on a dime to put the Eagles in front when it mattered – five minutes out from the final siren.
West Coast Eagles vs Collingwood Magpies (Optus Stadium)
STATE OF PLAY:
The Saturday clash between West Coast and Collingwood is a top four battle of two teams that have been hit hard by injury during the season but have come through in pretty good shape nonetheless.
The Collingwood Magpies had to battle until the dying minutes of the match to pull off a narrow win over a spirited Fremantle Dockers side and lock up a top four position at the end of the home and away rounds. Fremantle took the game right up to the Pies, who traveled west in one of their rare forays across the country. It was Michael Johnson’s last appearance in a distinguished 244 game career, and his teammates dug in for him to nearly cause a "boil-over".
With De Goey and Treloar out of the Collingwood team over the past few weeks, few gave Collingwood a chance of defeating ladder leader and reigning premiers, Richmond. They pushed the Tigers for three quarters before the toll of losing two defenders in Howe (to concussion) and Scharenberg (to a knee injury) saw Richmond run away to a 28-point win.
As July days go this was a warm one in Melbourne. It was an overcast day and perfect conditions for footy and 88,180 fans in black and white or black and gold packed the MCG. There was an earlier than traditional Saturday afternoon kickoff time but most fans were in well ahead of first bounce.
The West Coast Eagles have confirmed that Nic Naitanui has a torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on his right knee. His left knee was reconstructed in late 2016 and kept Naitanui out of the competition for all of 2017. American specialist Bill Knowles, who assisted Naitanui with his recovery in Philadelphia last July, has suggested that this second reconstruction could require a longer recovery period. It is expected that Naitanui will undergo reconstruction surgery as soon as the initial swelling subsides. He will miss the rest of this year and most of the 2019 season. The twenty-eight year old has played 160 games for West Coast; he will be nearly 30 when he returns to the game.
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
Not since 2002, when Nick Riewoldt (drafted in 2000) won the Rising Star Award*, has a Number One draft pick been the winner. Now, Essendon's prized frist selection from 2016 joins Riewoldt in the unique double. He was named and presented with the award on Sept. 1 after an impressive debut season. McGrath, 19, earned his nomination in Round Four against Adelaide. He had 28 disposals, laid four tackles and had five scoring involvements. McGrath becomes the second Essendon player to win the award, following Dyson Heppell's win in 2011.
Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth
The Collingwood Magpies flew into Domain Stadium and dominated in the first quarter to stun the slow starting Fremantle Dockers. It was only the poor goal kicking of the wayward Magpies that allowed the Dockers to remain in touch at quarter time as the visitors entered the attacking zone 17 times to score just three goals. The Dockers on the other hand made just six attacks but were more effective to score two goals.
by Lisa Albergo reporting from AFANA from ChicagoThere can be many descriptions of Lou Richards - a cheeky rover, a larrikin, a wit never lost for words, a media star and clown, a gentleman who always was happy to have a chat. Richards, 94, passed away quietly in his sleep in the nursing home where he resided on May 8. Some say he was one of first superstars of Australian Football, which was the VFL during his playing career. For most fans, it is the media work for which he is best known