Ball has a ball at Collingwood - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ball has a ball at Collingwood

By Greg Buckle 03/10/2010 04:45:50 PM Comments (0)

Luke Ball was the star of the show when Collingwood's players took the premiership cup back onto the MCG two hours after Saturday's grand final replay win.

After enduring a draw last week then scoring a 56-point triumph against St Kilda, Magpies skipper Nick Maxwell invited his men to stand in a circle in the middle of the ground and share their thoughts on the club's first premiership since 1990.

Ball, who played in St Kilda's 12-point loss to Geelong in last year's grand final, was subdued as the siren sounded on Saturday as he didn't want to carry on too much in the faces of his former team-mates.

Taken by the Magpies with pick 30 at last year's draft, Ball was heroic with 25 possessions and seven clearances on Saturday, holding Saint Lenny Hayes to 10 possessions and no clearances by halftime as the Magpies established a commanding 27-point lead.

"That (speech to the players from Ball) was probably one of the real special ones," Maxwell told Channel Seven's "AFL Game Day" on Sunday.

"He said how we'd accepted him and how tough it had been for him.

"His career was probably on a bit of a downward spiral until he came to Collingwood and he got another chance."

Ball, 26, tried to downplay his emotions on Saturday, saying it was a "weird feeling".

But the midfielder was more forthcoming on Sunday at a function at Gosch's Paddock before an estimated 20,000 fans.

Asked if winning his first premiership medal meant even more because it came against his former club, he said: "I've been saying no for 24 hours but I think in front of this crowd I can say yes.

"I certainly feel for them (St Kilda) because I felt it last year and there's no worse feeling," Ball added.

Coach Mick Malthouse said Ball had struggled with his emotions leading into the previous week's drawn grand final, in which Hayes won the Norm Smith Medal.

"He overloaded himself with expectation, and he overloaded himself that it was a Collingwood-St Kilda grand final," Malthouse said.

"Once he was able to play and focus in on the role only - nothing else but the role to play - then he had the result that we thought he could have."

Maxwell said he couldn't speak highly enough of the former Saints skipper.

"He's been a great leader and a great support for me as captain," Maxwell said.

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