AFL Grand Final 2003
Well, Waltzing Matilda was still ringing through the MCG when the game started shaping up. Brisbane killing Collingwood in the ruck and Keating taking all the bounces, despite courageous work by Fraser. The Maggies were finished early and I spent the entire second half in a deep maroon funk.
Gawd, I hate the Lions!
When I had arrived home from work, ready to get dinner out of the way and watch the GF live, I came home to a yard full of Magpies. Wow, I thought, a great omen, no?
What is it about Lynch, Black, Pike, Voss, and, of course, Akermanis, that makes them come out the way they do when the whole shebang's on the line? Why do the 'Pies suddenly close up and run scared when they've been smothering and hammering opponents all season long, including these selfsame Lions only 3 weeks earlier.
Did Rocca make the difference? Did his vagrant elbow on Lade in the Prelim cost the 'Pies the Grand Final? Conceivable. With Rocca in at Half-Forward the 'Pies have size and a huge boot from 60. He isn't afraid to manhandle and get into the ruck and he is no respecter of persons.
Walker was ineffective in replacement, Buckley couldn't do it all on his own, and Fraser was outmatched. Didak booted three majors and played some hard footy. Tarrant took some good marks, but miffed two important ones, and missed two critical goals. Hell, all of their attempts were critical. Opening the fourth quarter, they took 4 straight behinds, two on inaccurate kicks and two on balls that were handed through by Lions defenders. Had they been made, the margin would have been only 3 goals with nearly 20 minutes left in the game. They didn't get back into their forward 50 until junk time.
In the end, the Lions had their eye on the ball, while the 'Pies had their eye on the Lions. The Maggies were mauled, and mercilessly so. Much as I hate to say it, and I do, the Lions were the best team out there, and can rightly lay claim to being the greatest team of the modern era with their Premiership hat trick.
Word is that Joffa is hanging up the golden coat for good. I wish he'd been able to bring it out one last time. Guess it's time I do like the Aussies, put that jumbuck in my tucker-bag and go a-Waltzing Matilda until next year.