by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
There was drama even before the game. Star forward Darrel Baldock suffered a bad knee strain several weeks before the Grand Final and, unknown to the media or fans, further aggravated it during the team's final training session before the big game. Coach Allan Jeans called an immediate halt to the training session but did it in a manner which concealed the truth from the reporters.
St Kilda was first on the board in the opening term with Allan Davis winning a free kick and passing to Kevin Neale in the goal square. Minutes later, Baldock kicked another goal for the Saints from a free kick. It took until midway through the term for Collingwood to snag a goal. Tuddenham won the ball and passed to Gabelich for the Magpies' first goal. Thompson won a boundary throw in for the Magpies but it was intercepted by Ian Stewart. Collingwood's Peter Patterson won the ball and kicked to a contest in the goal square. Gary Wallis swooped on the ball and kickedthe Magpies' next goal. The Saints pretty much dominated the rest of the term, but could not make it count on the scoreboard, kicking a series of points. It was enough to give the Saints a four point lead at quarter time.
A boundary throw in at the start of the second term was won by the Saints and Cooper marked the ball. His kick went to forward Griffiths who kicked his first goal of the game. Collingwood's Patterson won a free kick and kicked it long toward the goal square where Gabelich pounced on the loose ball and managed to poke the the ball through for a Collingwood goal. It took until midway through the term for the next score. It was a mad scramble with Collingwood's Potter dropping a mark which was recovered by Saints' forward Griffiths. He was promptly flattened by Potter with a perfect bump and Collingwood's Tully gained possession. He passed to Patterson who got the ball to Tuddenham for the Pies' next goal, reducing St Kilda's lead to just two points. Late in the term, Len Thompson gained possession after an errant St Kilda kick and Richardson put Collingwood in front with a goal. From the ensuing center bounce, the Saints won the ball and Stewart found Neale who won a free kick and tied the score with a goal. The term ended with Thompson kicking a behind to put Collingwood one point ahead at half time.
Collingwood players went on the attack at the start of the third term but were foiled by a host of St Kilda defenders. The ball ended up under a pack and the resultant ball-up was won by Thompson who passed to Potter. Potter punched the ball in Tuddenham's direction and he made no mistake to extend Collingwood's lead. A hotly contested boundary throw in was won by Collingwood's Terry Waters. When he was bumped by a Saint and lost possession, Saint Griffiths swooped and fired the ball to Baldock. His goal put the Saints within a point of Collingwood. Stewart won the ball and passed to Cooper who kicked a goal from 50 yards out to give the Saints a six point lead. Two minutes later, Neale kicked a point to make the margin seven points. Midway through the term, the ball spilled free in the Saints' forward area and was recovered by 18 year old forward Barry Breen. His wayward kick sailed forward. Two Collingwood defenders got in each other's way, allowing Neale to gain possession and put the Saints further in front with another goal. The final score for the term came via a free kick to Magpie Richardson. It was a goal and the Saints led by four points at the final break.
It took several minutes into the final term before either side made it to the scoreboard. A center clearance by the Saints got the ball forward once more but a pack of Collingwood defenders were waiting for it. The ball bounced over their heads, was punched away by Griffiths and recovered by Moran who kicked a goal to give the Saints a 14 point lead, the biggest margin the game would see. Moments later, Collingwood won another boundary throw in and Tuddenham won a free kick 60 yards from goal. His long kick hit the ground in the goal square where Saint defender Murray attempted to grab the ball. That attempt was foiled by a block from Thompson and the ball bounced through to reduce the Saints' lead. Midway through the term, Tuddenham was awarded another free kick and sent the ball deep into Collingwood's forward line to a waiting pack of players. Collingwood's Ian Graham took possession off the pack to goal, reducing St Kilda's lead to a single point. St Kilda coach Allan Jeans sent all but three forward players into the midfield. Collingwood's Henderson won the ball but was tossed to the ground by Saint Ross Smith. Henderson still managed kick the ball away but it was intercepted by Saint Moran. Neale marked Moran's kick and kicked a goal to extend St Kilda's lead once more. Another ball up was won by the Pies and Pitt kicked a goal to again reduce St Kilda's lead to a point.
Late in the term, Tuddenham had a chance to give Collingwood the lead but his shot for goal missed and the scores were tied. Richardson also had a chance to break the deadlock but missed everything. Collingwood's Cooper kicked the ball toward teammate Potter, but it fell short. The resultant ball up was initially won by St Kilda but Potter intercepted the ball. While being tackled he managed to fire off a handball which was punched away by a St Kilda player. Forward Barry Breen, who had been relatively ineffective with just a series of points and few possessions to this point, got his hands on the ball. He was 45 to 50 yards out and near the boundary. He threw the ball onto his boot and let fly. The wobbly kick sailed through for a behind to give the Saints a one point lead.
Collingwood had one last roll of the dice but the ball was marked by Saint defender Murray. Just as he kicked the ball away from Collingwood's scoring area the siren sounded, handing the Saints their first and only Premiership in League history.
STK 2.5 5.6 8.9 10.14 (74) COLL 2.1 5.7 7.11 10.13 (73) GOALS STK: Neale 5, Baldock 2, Cooper, Griffiths, Moran 1 COLL: Tuddenham 3, Gabelich, Richardson 2, Graham, Pitt, Wallis 1 BEST STK: Cooper, Stewart, Sierakowski, Griffiths, Breen, Morrow, Neale COLL: Waters, Richardson, Thompson, Patterson, Pitt, Tuddenham ATTENDANCE: 101,655 Source: fullpointsfooty.net
Article last changed on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - 8:39 PM EDT