Come early afternoon Saturday you’d have to be fiercely determined to not be infected by everything that is Aussie rules football. Not even an AFL fatigue, caused by image after image of sequin wearing Brownlow medal darlings bleeding from every form of media, should turn you away from what will be a great end to the 2018 season.
The electric skills, the big bumps and the biff, the raw emotion, the exhilaration and the atmosphere will all transcend the arena (and fill your local or your lounge-room).
Collingwood (the-team-you-love-to-hate because-your-uncle-John-told-you-too but-shouldn’t-because-they are-pivotal-to-the-success-of-the-league) versus the West Coast Eagles (the-team-you-really-don’t-know-anything-about-because-they-come-from-the-other-side-of-the-Nullarbor-which is-simply-too-far-away-to-care)
Two incredibly even teams on paper. Each desperate to win a ‘cup’.
The first 15 minutes will be an absolute war. Let’s just say the game will be fiercely contested as the Magpies covert inner-city bragging rights and the Eagles couldn’t bare the thought of flying back West with only the in-flight meal to comfort them.
Let’s look at a few of the key figures on the big day whom I’m sure you could build a responsible drinking game around.
A particularly tall American. New to the game, coming off the aerial performance of his career in the Preliminary final against Richmond.
Like the clutch behind an EJ20 in an early Subaru WRX, Mason Cox may dictate the success of the entire drive train. If he fires, a Collingwood win is almost assured, but if he fries, then there will be a real stench around the MCG come 6pm.
A champion Eagle possibly set to fly the coup post game. Had his wings clipped weeks prior to the ‘big-one’ for balling a talon and striking an opponent (That’s all the bird references I have - and all that you need).
A forgotten man in so many ways, but win, lose or draw, expect a camera or 4 to pan and tilt towards him in the stands and for each member of the commentary team to share an uneducated take on his emotional state.
Icon of the game? Who? Loved or loathed leader of the Collingwood cheer squad. The antithesis of subtle.
A 3066 postcode celebrity. You can count on an image of Joffa doing ‘his thing’ in the first quarter, half time, moments before the final siren, and in every post game video montage.
Born a Magpie, a media talent and a public villain. From supporter to president and the architect behind the brand.
Whether you like him or not, he’s the president you wish your club had. Every image and soundbite will exude passion from siren to siren. No one cares more about the outcome.
A former Eagles great? Lost soul. A product of temptation and the sycophant. The barometer of perspective.
The perfect reminder that life is and always will be a harder game to play, and win, than any sporting contest. His story should serve as an example to all. His recovery a most important goal.
The Eagles captain. Extraordinary. Consistent. Courageous. Complimentary. A players-player whose foot skills are sublime. Will never win a Brownlow.
Like the vote giving umpires, you probably aren’t exactly sure who he is. Let me remind you. He’s the glue, his foot the axis for attack, and an opponent the Magpies must target and nullify both physically and emotionally if they are to win.
Ninety-five plus kilograms of man. More consistent in 2018 A second fiddle though not second rate. Must impact everything with abandon.
If big Jack comes to play wearing a hard hat carrying a lunch pail whilst sporting his kicking boot the Eagles might just head back home with the hardware. Three or more goals would see him play an enormous role - think De Niro in Taxi Driver, or WALL-E in ummm WALL-E.
Funny last name. Well rounded. Professional. Not the Captain. Might just win a Brownlow, or two!
See Shannon Hurn.
Part of the Collingwood-work. Servant of the club. Checked his ego in 2018 & implemented a different approach. Hats off. His finest hour upcoming?
Expect a tear or two either way post game as the revered Collingwood coach addresses the outcome. Drew a line in the sand ahead of the season. Stood with his players and didn’t cross it. Deserves credit, as does his team.
Eagles by 15pts.
Piece by Glenn Manton