Pies dodged bullet with replay: captain - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pies dodged bullet with replay: captain

By Sam Lienert 26/09/2010 04:53:42 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell remains adamant the AFL should discard grand final replays, but admits the current system probably saved his side from defeat.

The Magpies skipper on Sunday refused to back down from his post-match blast that it was an "absolute joke" that Collingwood and St Kilda had to clash again a week after Saturday's 68-all draw.

"I spoke a minute after the game and I was severely frustrated and disappointed," Maxwell said.

"I suppose looking back now I wouldn't change anything I said, because I said what I felt at the time. I'm not a believer in playing again the next week.

"But having said that I think we really dodged a bullet and St Kilda probably played better than what we did.

"I'm now grateful that we've got another opportunity."

With the Saints having charged home from a 24-point deficit early in the third quarter, Maxwell said the extra-time option he preferred would have favoured the side with the momentum.

But he pointed to broader issues, such as fan satisfaction, players' post-season plans and conflicts with other sporting events.

"It throws everything into disarray when we have to play again the next week," he said.

"... Everyone goes there expecting a result and I think that's probably what everyone deserves in the end and I think that if you take a poll, most people would prefer that."

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou backed the replay system, which is set to net the league a financial windfall, although he said it would be reviewed.

But he said the hierarchy were proud of the unique nature of their code and felt no compulsion to react to such a rare circumstance - just the third drawn VFL/AFL grand final.

"Of course there was a strange feeling after the game, but it would have been even more strange and hollow for a team that loses after extra time," Demetriou said.

"I think we've all seen the lack of satisfaction from a World Cup or major game that's decided on penalties."

He said the 100,016 spectators in attendance on Saturday witnessed a game they would never forget.

"We are not of a mind to changing the rules, we don't change rules as a knee-jerk reaction to something that's happened yesterday," Demetriou said.

"I'm sure that at a point in time the AFL executive and commission will review and consider all of its options, but I remind everybody that it is a unique nature of the game."

While Saints coach Ross Lyon said post-game his instinct favoured extra time, by Sunday he was spruiking the merits of the replay.

"Golden goals and extra time are debatable. Rather than a small sample, we find out over 100 minutes again (who the best team is), there's no doubt about that. I'm now happy for a grand final replay."

Demetriou said the replay - to be resolved by extra time in the unlikely event of another draw - would have more members of the competing clubs present than any previous grand final, with less corporate tickets.

The clubs and players will be financially compensated for playing again.

Demetriou predicted a "very low-key" grand final week the second time around, with considerably fewer functions, including no parade on Friday.

The limelight is also expected to be shared with two other significant announcements.

The AFL is understood to have wanted the announcement on Geelong star Gary Ablett's expected switch to Gold Coast held off last week, rather than dilute grand final publicity, but are unlikely to stretch it out another week.

And Essendon are tipped to announce former premiership captain James Hird as their new coach.

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