Collingwood has taken out the 2010 premiership with an emphatic 56-point win over St Kilda in the Grand Final Replay at the MCG.
The ferocious tackling, suffocating pressure and efficient teamwork that has been a trademark of the Magpies’ play this season returned after a misfire a week ago with the Saints largely powerless to stop them on their way to the 16.12 (108) to 7.10 (52) win.
Scott Pendlebury was a worthy Norm Smith Medallist with 29 quality disposals and 11 tackles with Heath Shaw (28 disposals), Dale Thomas (27) and Dane Swan (26) all important.
Luke Ball, a beaten Saints Grand Finalist last year, was one of the chief architects of his former side’s downfall with a smothering job on last week’s Norm Smith medallist Lenny Hayes.
Nathan Brown renewed his tussle with Nick Riewoldt and carried the day in no uncertain terms with the St Kilda skipper largely ineffective and goalless.
Former Swan Darren Jolly was the most influential big man on the ground by a long way with 35 hitouts and a goal.
Riewoldt’s plight was generally indicative of that of the Saints, with Brendon Goddard (29 possessions) and Nick Dal Santo (29) among the best in a side that had too passengers on the day.
The match started to script for Collingwood who took the ball away directly from the opening bounce and had Travis Cloke lining up for goal two metres out within 30 seconds.
A free kick off the ball robbed the Pies of the perfect start, but they still had the better of the early running with their tackling pressure evident from the outset.
Tyson Goldsack, included at the expense of Leon Davis, made the most of his reprieve with a lively first quarter that included the first major of the day, but Collingwood was again guilty of failing to capitalise on a period of dominance.
A 14-point lead was all they could muster before Riewoldt streamed into an open goal, but in a pivotal moment in the match, a desperate dive from Heath Shaw saw the Saints go into the first break goalless and 20 points in arrears.
Ross Lyon threw Sam Gilbert forward hoping to replicate the successful tactic of last week and it had the desired effect with Nick Maxwell once again forced to abandon his loose-man role and mind his opponent.
The Pies’ skipper again struggled while St Kilda made its move, but Gilbert missed three shots on goal that were all eminently gettable.
Rarely-sighted Alan Didak got one against the flow of play and despite Goddard scoring his side’s first goal 15 minutes in, the Pies finished the quarter strongly with Jolly important in stretching the lead to 27 points at half time.
The Saints desperately needed the first goal of the third quarter to maintain belief, but Adam Schneider’s long snap shaved the post.
Chris Dawes threw his boot at the ball in mid-air to break St Kilda hearts with his first goal of the day just minutes later and the black and white charge was on.
The margin blew out to 46 points when Didak worked hard to intercept a kick and brilliantly snapped the goal of the grand final, much to the delight of the roaring Magpie army.
St Kilda was at least an outside chance at 41 points down to start the final term, but Dawes’ second put paid to that notion with Thomas’ close-range effort soon after sparking wild celebrations in the crowd and tears from an emotional club president Eddie McGuire
Mick Malthouse spent the last five minutes down on the bench and was embraced by all and sundry as the final siren sounded with Collingwood premiers for the 15th time in the club’s storied history.
Collingwood 3.2, 6.5, 11.8, 16.12 (108)
St Kilda 0.2, 1.8, 4.9, 7.10 (52)
Goals – Collingwood: Sidebottom 2, Didak 2, Wellingham 2, Macaffer 2, Dawes 2, Thomas, Swan, Johnson, O’Brien, Jolly, Goldsack.
St Kilda: Milne 2, Dal Santo, Goddard, Gilbert, Hayes, Koschitzke.
Best – Collingwood: Pendlebury, Jolly, N Brown, Sidebottom, Ball, Shaw, Thomas, Wellingham.
St Kilda: Goddard, Gwilt, Dawson, Gilbert, Jones.
Crowd: 93,853 at the MCG.
Umpires: Chamberlin, Ryan, Rosebury
2010 Premiership Team
B: N. Maxwell (c), N. Brown, A. Toovey
HB: H. O’Brien, B. Reid, H. Shaw
C: S. Wellingham, D. Swan, B. Johnson
HF: A. Didak, T. Cloke, L. Ball
F: D. Beams, C. Dawes, S. Sidebottom
FOLL: D. Jolly, S. Pendlebury, D. Thomas
INTER: J.Blair, B. Macaffer, T. Goldsack, L. Brown
Coach: Mick Malthouse