AFL Grand Final 2011: live scores, blog
284 Have your say
Join us for 2011 AFL Grand Final live scores with Collingwood meeting Geelong in a grand final for the first time since 1953. We’ll have live scores and blog from the 2:30pm kickoff this afternoon in one of the best match-ups in years.
Watching Friday’s festivities, as the players reached the steps at Treasury Place, a large banner unfurled in an overlooking tower about 25 stories up: Go Pies! – the thought occurred that this game is truly a hard one to pick.
Michael diFabrizio’s Grand Final preview focused on form and injuries and he drew some interesting comments, but it’s hard to find a clear read on recent events.
Under normal circumstances, any team going into a grand final with two wins against their opponent would be virtually unbackable favourites, but are we ready to give up on the Pies’ chances just yet?
The stats show that Collingwood’s game against Hawthorn in the preliminary was below average, continuing a run of recent poor form, but the key point to not lose sight of is that the Pies went on to win a game that they had all but lost on the stats sheet.
This is a team that knows how to win big games.
The other complexity arises from the fitness questions hanging over key players: Stevie Johnson for Geelong and Darren Jolly for Collingwood.
The clubs are making the right noises about both, but we’ll only know for sure into the first quarter whether they really are fit enough to contribute in a grand final.
Podsiadly and Johnson have been the primary goal kickers for Geelong this season, sharing nearly 100 between them, while Stokes, Varcoe, Chapman, Hawkins and Bartel have contributed a further 127 goals between them.
The spread of goalkickers means Geelong can probably cover for Johnson, but he remains an important part of the Cats’ forward structure, and is always a very difficult player to match up.
An unfit Jolly presents a bit of a problem for Collingwood at centre bounces, where both sides are otherwise very evenly matched in contested footy and centre square take aways.
A further injury cloud for Collingwood remains over Ben Reid. His absence would be sorely felt because of the recent very good form of Tom Hawkins, leaving the Pies to cover two big men in the Geelong forward line.
At the other end, Geelong have problems of their own in containing man mountain Travis Cloke, who was one of the protagonists in last week’s preliminary final in getting the Pies over the line. It’s the sort of raw marking power that wins grand finals.
Man for man, it’s difficult to split these two teams, and the fitness of some key players might ultimately be the deciding factor.
Collingwood remains a team capable of rising to the occasion, but it’s hard to go past the obvious better form of the Cats. Their game plan and dedication to the team ethic have been telling in the run up to the big game. Cats by 3 goals.