Walking into the 2018 grand final, a surreal optimism filled me.
After a spectacular Grand Final, it’s time to rank the fallen Magpies with a rating out of 10 for each of their performances. Many of their players can hold their heads up high after a disappointing result.
Taylor Adams – 8
Adams was probably Collingwood’s best player on the day, finishing with 31 disposals and a goal. His turnover to Elliot Yeo in a key moment may be what he’s best remembered for on Grand Final day though, after runner Alex Woodward got involved accidentally.
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James Aish – 2
A genuine shocker, Aish didn’t have any sort of influence on the game.
Mason Cox – 6
After a nearly statless first half, the big American caught fire in the second half and was great in the second half. He stopped running under the ball and started clunking some big contested marks, providing a strong outlet for the Magpies. He can’t kick the ball more than 35 metres, which is a genuine concern when he needed to kick a score at times, but he had a nice game.
Jack Crisp – 6
Crisp collected his usual 20+ disposals, but his use suffered under the pressure of the big stage. A couple of big spoils and rebounds in the last quarter were memorable moments for him, and his game was pretty solid overall.
Jordan de Goey – 7
It was a classic De Goey game, having some huge moments and kicking some massive goals, but not stringing together a four-quarter effort. If he plays full games regularly, De Goey will go down as one of the competition’s best players.
Tyson Goldsack – 3.5
It’s one of a few feel-good stories coming into the Grand Final, but Goldsack was against outdone by Josh Kennedy. Much credit goes to him for his recovery and effort to get back into the senior team, but he was monstered in each game of the finals series.
Levi Greenwood – 6.5
Greenwood had the lockdown job on Yeo in the first half and played his role extremely well. After moving onto Shuey, Greenwood lost his way a bit, and his floating between the two best West Coast midfielders made it difficult for him to settle.
Brodie Grundy – 5
After a spectacular season, it was a bit of a disappointing Grand Final for the ruckman, who broke even at best with Lycett/Vardy. He wasn’t his usual ball-winning self and his run around the ground wasn’t on display. Grundy had a magnificent season, but this wasn’t his finest performance.
Will Hoskin-Elliott – 7
Hoskin-Elliott had a nice game, with his work rate all around the ground being as big a factor as his ability to hit the scoreboard. He was one of the team’s best players and can certainly hold his head up high.
Jeremy Howe – 6
Howe completely blanketed Darling in the first half before the Eagle got a hold of him in the third quarter. His tackle on Shuey with six minutes to go was huge in halting West Coast’s momentum, but ultimately, it couldn’t prevent the loss. Howe wasn’t 100%, but he gave it his all.
Tom Langdon – 8
One of the better players on the day, Langdon had an excellent first three quarters before the Eagles exploited the height differential at times in the final quarter. He had 23 disposals and seven marks in a great game overall.
Brayden Maynard – 4
He struggled with injuries at different stages on the day and was largely unsighted as a result. Maynard did a good job on the small forwards when needed.
Chris Mayne – 8
Despite the loss, Chris Mayne proved to be worth every cent following a brilliant display. He finished with 15 disposals and 14 tackles, which also included some clutch defensive plays.
Brody Mihocek – 6.5
Another great story for the Magpies, Mihocek was great on Grand Final day. He played on McGovern at times, and was free to roam around a fair bit. His marking was good and work rate was again, fantastic. Mihocek was an unlikely hero in 2018 for Collingwood, but the VFL champion turned himself into an AFL star. It’s unfortunate he can’t go home with a premiership medal around his neck.
Scott Pendlebury – 5.5
Pendlebury had a solid start to the game but failed to have much of an impact in the second half. The skipper may hand over the title to a teammate in 2019 to focus on his game and taking the Pies a step further next year.
Tom Phillips – 6
It was a typical, hard working effort from Phillips who finished with 21 disposals. He didn’t have a large impact on the game from the wing, but when he got the ball he made sure to send it forward. He, along with many teammates, were okay.
Steele Sidebottom – 5
After a massive week, Sidebottom almost predictably had a quieter Grand Final. Mark Hutchings tagged him for most of the game, and it resulted in a lot less of the ball for Sidebottom. What he did was relatively solid, but he just wasn’t able to do as much as usual.
Brayden Sier – 6.5
The young bull had a good game but died off as the game heated up in the last quarter. It’s been an enjoyable season to start a long career, and he’ll hold his head up high after this effort.
Jaidyn Stephenson – 5
The Rising Star, Stephenson kicked two goals in the first quarter but didn’t do much else for the game. He’s a star to watch for the future.
Josh Thomas – 4
A quiet game for Thomas, who has enjoyed a great season as a forward. He laid five tackles which is a minor positive, but he just didn’t impact the game.
Adam Treloar – 7
It was hard to tell if Treloar was 100 per cent coming into the big game, as he featured a fair bit on the outside rather than in contested situations. Still, the midfielder produced a fine game overall and did have his tackling game on point. He finished with 26 disposals and 11 tackles.
Travis Varcoe – 7
Everyone was hoping for Varcoe to have a good game and he couldn’t have started the Grand Final off any better with the first goal. His tackling was excellent and his overall pressure proved to be an elite asset for Collingwood. Varcoe only operates in patches, but those patches were great.