AFL Grand Final ends in draw, game repaets next saturday
St Kilda and Collingwood have fought out just the third draw in VFL/AFL grand final history, forcing their premiership decider into a sequel next Saturday.
In a remarkably similar finish to the one-point win over Collingwood that delivered the Saints their sole flag in 1966, a scrambled kick from St Kilda midfielder Lenny Hayes bounced through for a behind as the final score.
It left the game tied at St Kilda 10.8 (68) to Collingwood's 9.14 (68), the Magpies left to rue the inaccuracy that has been their one major flaw in what had been a dominant season.
Hayes was awarded the Norm Smith Medal as best afield.
It was an incredible comeback from St Kilda, after the Magpies controlled the match for most of the first half and led the contest for all but a few minutes of the final quarter.
The Saints also had to deal with losing ruckman Michael Gardiner to injury shortly before half-time, in what seemed at the time to be a killer blow, after they gambled on entering the match with just one genuine ruckman for the first time all season.
Collingwood started superbly, with ruckman Darren Jolly goaling 20 seconds into the match.
The Magpies kicked four of the first five goals, to lead by 19 points 13 minutes into the match, before the game became a grind.
Saints' skipper Nick Riewoldt worked his way into the game, after being held early by late inclusion Nathan Brown, while some hard work by Brendon Goddard in the midfield helped St Kilda close to within a goal at the first change.
The Magpies dominated the second quarter in general play, but wasted their chance to blow the Saints away.
They took the ball inside attacking 50m 21 times to St Kilda's four and had nine scoring shots to one for the term, but only managed 3.6 to 1.0 for the quarter, Chris Dawes and Travis Cloke each missing with two good scoring chances.
Collingwood still led by 24 points at the long break, but St Kilda refused to buckle, Goddard and Hayes magnificent in the midfield after half-time, while Justin Koschitzke battled well in the ruck.
The Magpies were again wasteful, with 0.5 in the third quarter, as three St Kilda goals, including one from a huge pack mark from Goddard, lifted them to within eight points at the last change.
An even bigger screamer from Goddard 19 minutes into the final quarter set up the goal which put his side in front for the first time.
A Collingwood rushed behind, then a snapped goal to Travis Cloke put the Magpies back ahead by a point, before Hayes scrambled kick with 90 seconds left tied the scores.