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australia:afl_2011

Australian Rules Football League 2011 Premiership - Go Cats!

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introduction

  • the AFL Premiership for 2011 was won convincingly by the exciting Geelong Cats Football team over the season favorites, and 2010 Premiers, Collingwood Magpies.
  • this is Geelong's 3rd premiership in 5 years (2007, 2009 and 2011, and should have been their 4th if not for a seriously missed opportunity as clear favorites in 2008 when they lost to a persistent Hawthorn), and 9th premiership in total (1925, 1931, 1937, 1951, 1952, 1963, 2007, 2009, and 2011) having been runners up in 1897, 1930, 1953, 1967, 1989, 1992, 1994, 1995, and 2008.
    • historically, Geelong has won 50% of its Grand Finals, Collingwood although having won 15 grand finals, has only won 36% hence the legendary Colliwobbles title.
  • Geelong were never considered serious favorites for the flag in 2011 until the few days preceding it
    • at the end of 2010, after losing to Collingwood in the preliminary final, the era of the mighty Geelong team of 2007-2010 seemed over:
      • the Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse had finally developed a way to beat the flamboyant, fast, highly skilled hand-ball dominated playing style of Geelong
      • the dual premiership Geelong coach, Mark Thompson, decided it was time to leave the club, making way for a new coach, Brad Scott
      • Geelong's best player, Gary Ablett jnr, decided to take a lucrative financial offer to captain the new Queensland-based club, the Gold Coast Suns
      • Geelong's stalwart defender and captain, Tom Harley retired
      • Geelong's key forward of 2007-2010, Cameron Mooney was injured and would play little of 2011.
      • Geelong's ruck and forward line appeared to be fragile while their defence was potentially suspect without Harley and with only limited contributions from their aging defender Darren Milburn, and their star fullback, Matthew Scarlett seemingly near the end of his career as well.
      • Geelong's 1st half of 2011 performance, although good enough to give the top place on the ladder was characterised by mainly wins of less than 2 goals which could have gone either way, while Collingwood were winning by large margins.
      • Geelong's 2nd half was a mixed bag with them losing top place after losses to Essendon, West Coast Eagles and later, the Sydney Swans (which ended Geelong's record breaking run of 23 wins at a home ground) but thumping wins over the lesser teams.
      • even after a spirited thrashing of leader Collingwood in the last home and away game of the season, albeit inconsequential and without some main Collingwood players, while the others preserved themselves for the finals, and the fact that Collingwood had lost to Geelong earlier in the year as well, premiership betting had Geelong at $4.55 along with Hawthorn, while Collingwood were placed at $1.80.
  • Geelong's much-maligned young forward, Tom Hawkins was the surprise of the finals series, playing dominant roles in all 3 games and finally showing the form that he had been hoped for over the last 2 seasons.

2011 AFL final series from a Geelong perspective

  • Geelong's first game of the series was against 3rd placed Hawthorn and their nemesis.
    • Geelong had never beaten Hawthorn in ANY finals game since 1963, and importantly, Hawthorn had beaten Geelong in the thrilling, most memorable 1989 grand final, and stole the 2008 grand final from the clear favorites, Geelong.
      • see details of the 1989 grand final when Gary Ablett snr kicked an amazing 9 goals while Geelong's Brownlow medallist, Paul Couch was kept under control by a tough Hawthorn team which had only 13 fit players on the field by the end of the game to only just survive a spirited Geelong comeback.
      • see details of the 2008 grand final, the warmest grand final on record which Hawthorn won despite pre-match betting of only $3, thanks to inaccurate kicking by Geelong (and 11 rushed behinds by Hawthorn which was to force the AFL to change the rules for 2009) losing 11:23 to 18:7.
    • but this Geelong time was different, it had vowed never again to lose to Hawthorn, and in the end Geelong won a hard fought game easily, however, they paid a big price in losing their upcoming star,David Menzel, to an ACL knee injury. Menzel had been best on ground in the previous week's thrashing of Collingwood and would be missed as a key forward.
  • Geelong then played 4th placed West Coast Eagles, another nemesis.
    • a defensive, boring Westcoast Eagles under the now Collingwood coach, Mick Malthouse had beaten Geelong in 2 grand finals in the 1990's - 1992 and 1994.
      • in 1992, Geelong had finished 1st in the home and away season, but West Coast which had finished 4th, beat Geelong by 28 points after keeping Gary Ablett snr to only 3 goals.
      • in 1994, the situation was reversed with West Coast finishing 1st and Geelong 4th, while Geelong played 3 tough finals including 2 which were decided after the final siren by marks taken in the last seconds against Footscray and North Melbourne. West Coast were favorites and thrashed a tired Geelong by 80 points, keeping Gary Ablett snr to only 1 goal.
        • Geelong also lost the 1995 grand final, this time to Carlton when Gary Ablett snr was kept goalless by one of the best ever full backs, Steve Silvagni, and ended Geelong's 1st run of Grand Final appearances since 1967, albeit with 4 losses (1989, 1992, 1992 and 1995), it would not be until Gary Ablett snr's son, Gary Ablett jnr, in 2007 before Geelong would win a Grand Final.
        • Gary Ablett Snr is the only player in VFL/AFL history to kick 100 goals and win the Coleman Medal in three successive seasons.
        • Geelong learnt a valuable lesson from 1992-1995 not to rely on 1 or 2 key forwards to kick a winning score but to develop teams with a dozen potential goal scorers each week to reduce the risk of injury or tagging nullifying a key forward.
    • a revitalised West Coast was one of the few teams to have beaten Geelong in the 2011 home and away games
    • but Geelong took them on and won the preliminary final easily and marched on into the grand final, but again had a major injury concern with their star Steven Johnson suffering a knee injury which would have put most players out of contention for a grand final berth.
  • Collingwood's finals games:
    • in contrast to Geelong, Collingwood's final series were hard fought, rugged, close games, and by all accounts, they should have lost the preliminary final to Hawthorn, but somehow managed to scrape past them. Collingwood to suffered injury concerns with groin strains to ruckman Jolly and one of their key defenders.
    • Collingwood's coach Mick Malthouse announced his retirement and his players would use this as additional motivation for the Grand Final which would be his last game after a long and illustrious career as a player and coach.
    • Collingwood's Dane Swan was awarded the coveted Brownlow Medal for Best and Fairest in the AFL during the home and away games, but this medal has a long history of being associated with the winner's team losing the Grand Final later that week (2011,2006,2005,2003, 2000, 1997, 1989, 1987, 1979, 1978, 1974, 1965 although Geelong's Jimmy Bartel and Gary Ablett jnr won it in their premiership years on 2007 and 2009 respectively, and dominant Brisbane team replicated this in 2001,2002 while Wanganeen won it in 1993 for Essendon and DiPierdomenico won it in 1986 for the incredible Hawthorn team of the 80's which won 5 grand finals over 9 years, and Ian Stewart won it for the 2nd year in a row in 1966 and this time won the GF as well.).
      • based on historical data for the past 50 years, if a player wins the Brownlow for the 1st time, and his team is playing in the Grand Final, there is a 67% chance they will lose it - even greater if the team is heavily reliant upon the Brownlow medallist.
        • if you exclude the 3 teams that were dominant for extended periods winning Grand Finals - Geelong 2007-2011, Brisbane 2001-2003 and Hawthorn in the 80's, then the probability of losing the Grand Final becomes a staggering 92%!

2011 AFL Grand Final

  • both teams managed to field largely unchanged teams with Geelong risking the injured Stevie Johnson and Collingwood risking their injured.
  • the day was cold and wet after a week-long drenching of unseasonal Spring rains and exactly what Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse had been praying for over the past few weeks as it should suit his defensive style.
  • Geelong started well but by the middle of the 2nd quarter, it had all started to unravel - their key forward, Podsiadly had dislocated a shoulder and would play no further part, and their captain and key tagger on the Brownlow medallist Dane Swan, Cameron Ling, had suffered a broken nose which had to be reduced but would not prevent him playing out the game.
  • Geelong had given away a 2 goal lead and were now down by 3 goals and staring at defeat.
  • Their key players Selwood and Bartel stepped up the pressure and managed to level the scores by half time, but the half-time rooms were quite different scenes, Collingwood were calm, confident, while it seemed there were major anxieties in the Geelong rooms with concerns of how they would cover the loss of Podsiadly.
  • The 3rd quarter was a hard-fought affair with the lead changing 12 times but surprisingly it was Geelong that went into the last break with a narrow but psychologically important lead after reducing the influence of Collingwood 1st half stars, Cloke and Pendlebury.
  • The last quarter was a different game altogether with the Collingwood players starting to look tired as the brilliant Geelong defence time and again repelled Collingwood attacks, while Geelong's Tom Hawkins was playing a dominant running and marking game in the forward half.
  • In the 2nd half, Geelong kicked 10 goals to Collingwood's 3, and the Geelong defence held Collingwood goal-less in the last quarter.
  • Geelong went on to win by 38 points and showed again what a dominant, professional and exciting team they are to watch.
  • Geelong's Jimmy Bartel was awarded the Norm Smith medal for best player of the match, although had Tom Hawkins kicked accurately, it could have well gone to him.
  • “We are Geelong, the greatest team of all…“

Too old, too slow, TOO GOOD

  • this was the oldest side to win a flag in 67 years and the fourth-oldest in league history.
  • after the 2010 preliminary final loss to Collingwood, they were dubbed “too old, too slow” but the Geelong fans added “too good” throughout the 2011 season - and it proved true.
australia/afl_2011.txt · Last modified: 2013/04/29 14:01 by gary1