09-21-2007, 04:42 PM
AFL: Geelong vs Collingwood preliminary final
The genetic football mutants Geelong defeat histrionic cheats Collingwood for a place in next week's Grand Final.
Nearly 100000 crammed into the MCG to watch, it was a nail-biting match that went right down to the wire, I'd been looking forward to this match all week
Geelong beat Collingwood in preliminary final
September 20, 2007 10:00pm
GEELONG IN FRONT: Collingwood kicked the last two goals of the half to trail Geelong by five points at the main break in a pulsating AFL preliminary final tonight.
THE Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) tonight apologised to fans after spectators were prevented from entering the MCG to watch the AFL preliminary final between Geelong and Collingwood.
The MCC closed its members reserve 40 minutes before the game began after it reached capacity due to the demand to see the match.
Many fans were locked out of the game and prevented from watching.
The full members reserve - part of a monstrous crowd of 98,002 - was the first time that stand had reached its capacity since the 2000 grand final between Essendon and Melbourne.
The MCC said it closed its reserve because of health and safety concerns.
It apologised unreservedly to members and offered members who bought guest passes for friends refunds.
``The club regrets the situation and apologises to any member who purchased a visitor's ticket for their guests who were unable to gain entry on this ticket to the reserve,'' the MCC said in a statement.
``A refund will be provided.''
Geelong advanced to their first AFL grand final in 12 years with an epic win over Collingwood in the preliminary final at the MCG.
The Cats entered the blockbuster clash as a red-hot favourite following a brilliant home and away season and a smashing of the Kangaroos in their first final.
But they were pushed all the way in tonight's game by a desperate Collingwood outfit which refused to give in to the Cats' undoubted class, notably the brilliance of Gary Ablett and the physical presence of ruckman Brad Ottens.
Geelong's 13.14 (92) to 13.9 (87) win put them in their first grand final since 1995 and gives them a dream chance of breaking their premiership drought that dates back to 1963.
But where either Port Adelaide or the Kangaroos, who meet in tomorrow's other preliminary final, will take heart is knowing that anything can happen come game time.
Like several of the Cats' nine All-Australians being kept to moderate games by a Collingwood side which did not earn one representative.
Like Geelong rarely being able to find the usual space through the midfield given the pressure the Magpies' onballers applied after quarter-time.
And like Geelong blowing several chances in the third quarter - when they booted 2.6 - to open up the possibility of a repeat result of the 1999 preliminary final, when a wasteful Essendon were beaten by Carlton in one of the great upsets in finals history.
Just as like the drama of that game, tonight's match went down to the wire.
Collingwood's Paul Medhurst booted a goal to reduce the margin to five points, but the Magpies were unable to boot what would have been the winner in the remaining 57 seconds.
Geelong are through, but on tonight's performance and the fact that finals are a whole new ball game, the premiership that seemed a shoo-in not so long ago, could still be stolen from the Cats' grasp.
The Magpies recovered brilliantly twice in the opening half to heap the pressure on the Cats, who led 7.6 (48) to 6.7 (43).
Matthew Stokes kicked three first-term goals for Geelong and Sean Rusling put through two in the second term for Collingwood.
Geelong were the strong favourites tonight and had the biggest lead so far when they led by 17 points late in the second term.
But last week's semi-final hero Alan Didak kicked a freakish goal, where he tapped the ball out of mid-air onto his right foot and snapped it over his left shoulder from close range.
Four minutes later, Rusling marked and goalled to reduce the margin to five points and ensure the 'Pies kept pace with their highly-fancied opposition.
But the signs at half-time were still worrying for Collingwood, after last week's epic semi-final win over West Coast.
Veteran defender James Clement left the field just before the main break and Heath Shaw was barely able to walk.
Collingwood have played two finals, including a trip to Perth, while the Cats had the week off after their 106-point canter over the Kangaroos.
Irishman Martin Clarke had been brilliant for Collingwood off half-back, with his clean disposal and clever play crucial.
Newly-selected All-Australians James Bartel and Gary Ablett were again prominent for the Cats, but the key could prove to be ruckman Brad Ottens.
He was dominating the rucks against Chris ***** and Guy Richards, after Josh Fraser was a late withdrawal from Collingwood's team for the second-straight week.
Another big duel going Geelong's way was full-back Matthew Scarlett on Collingwood key forward Anthony Rocca, who was yet to score.
There was a massive buildup to this all-Victorian preliminary final, the first since 2001.
The members area was closed 40 minutes before the first bounce and the crowd will be close to 100,000.
Collingwood kicked the first goal of the game thanks to a Scott Burns snap in the second minute, but the next three went to Geelong as they took a threatening 13-point lead.
The gap was 11 points at the first change and the Magpies piled the pressure on Geelong at the start of the second term to lead by three points.
Just when it looked like Collingwood might be rattling the hotly-fancied Cats, who are aiming for their first premiership in 44 years, the favourites kicked the next three goals.
Midfielder James Kelly was prominent early for Geelong, but limped off early in the second term.
After a quiet first term, All-Australian Steve Johnson had a prolific second term and kicked two goals.