Cats to play Saints in AFL Grand Final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats to play Saints in AFL Grand Final

By Roger Vaughan 19/09/2009 10:23:29 PM Comments (0)

Geelong and St Kilda, the two teams who have dominated this AFL season, have realised their grand final destiny.

The Cats overwhelmed Collingwood in the second half on Saturday night in front of 87,258 fans at the MCG, obliterating the Magpies by 73 points in their preliminary final.

The 17.18 (120) to 6.11 (47) domination follows St Kilda's epic win over the Western Bulldogs in their Friday night preliminary final.

It will be the first grand final between Geelong and St Kilda.

The last time they met was the pulsating round-14 clash at Etihad Stadium, which the Saints won by six points for Geelong's first loss of the season.

The Saints, who last made the grand final when they lost to Adelaide in 1997, only lost twice this season and were convincing minor premiers.

Geelong, the 2007 premiers, are in their third straight grand final after just four losses during the regular season.

Some late-season losses by both teams raised some concerns about their form, but they had solid qualifying-final wins.

While the Saints were below their best on Friday night, they held their nerve against the gallant Bulldogs.

Geelong flexed their considerable muscle to blow away the Magpies, after leading by only 11 points at the main break, to show they are back to their brilliant best.

Magpies coach Mick Malthouse tried to put the heat on Geelong earlier this month, saying in a newspaper column the pressure was on the Cats.

But Geelong torched Collingwood instead.

Cats star and Brownlow Medal favourite Gary Ablett was best afield with 34 disposals, while Paul Chapman impressed with five goals and Joel Corey was prolific through the midfield.

Most importantly for Geelong, key players who had late-season injury worries came through the game unscathed.

Chapman is two games back from a hamstring injury, while 2007 Norm Smith medallist Steve Johnson successfully returned from late-season hip surgery.

Ruck-forward Brad Ottens has also returned well after missing most of the season with a knee injury.

The Geelong defence monstered their opposition, with Harry Taylor shutting down Travis Cloke and Matthew Scarlett outstanding again at fullback.

Scarlett completely shut down John Anthony, who kicked the match-winning goal in last Saturday night's brilliant semi-final win over Adelaide.

Collingwood had fought back well towards the end of the second quarter, emulating the start of their incredible comeback against the Crows.

The Cats even seemed tired late in the first half, despite having the week off.

But Geelong kicked the first four goals of the third term to blow the lead out to 40 points.

The Collingwood fans had bronx cheers during the third quarter for Anthony and Leon Davis, who made his first All-Australian team earlier in the week.

There was only one late change, with Collingwood onballer Scott Pendlebury predictably dropping out of the side for Dayne Beams.

Pendlebury needed a plate surgically inserted in his lower leg after a bone fracture during the qualifying final loss to St Kilda.

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