Gotta love having the AFL and NRL Grand Finals on the same week-end, hey?
Saturday was the AFL Grand Final, played between the Hawthorn Hawks and West Coast Eagles. I had backed the Hawks for their last two premierships, but I had always backed West Coast whenever they went to a GF, so it was a tough choice of who to support (of course, my usual loyalties are with the Lions, but we won’t talk about that just now).
Going into the match, I kind of wanted West Coast to win – maybe just slightly more than I wanted Hawthorn to win. But I didn’t really know any of the players on the Eagles’ team, whereas I could recognise several Hawks from having watched their previous GF matches. Besides, you could tell really early on – like, not even halfway through the first quarter – that Hawthorn had this one in the bag. After the Hawks kicked eight (? can’t actually remember now) unanswered goals, it was pretty much game over for the Eagles. I will admit, I was a bit disappointed by how one-sided the game was, and stopped watching after the third quarter.
Sunday night’s NRL Grand Final, though…! That was frickin’ insane! Don’t know if it’s possible to have a better GF than that.
It was Brisbane Broncos versus the North Queensland Cowboys. My loyalty will always be with the Broncos, but with an all-QLD Grand Final (first time that that’s happened too), I would’ve been happy either way. And this game went right down to the wire. Broncos were up 16 to 12, but the Cowboys managed a miraculous try right on the full-time buzzer. Un-frickin-believable! Thurston just missed the conversion (it hit the goal post and bounced back in-field), so the match went into golden point. But, of course, within two minutes of extra time, Thurston got the field goal that got them the victory.
This was Justin Hodges’ final game, so it was unfortunate that he couldn’t get the win for a deserving send-off, but I’m still happy for the Cowboys for getting their first premiership (and who better than Thurston to lead them to that victory?)
I haven’t check out the match stats, but I reckon North Queensland had a lot more possession in the second half than Brisbane did. Brisbane did remarkably well in defence, but it was obvious that it was wearing them out to have to keep defending repeated sets of six. And I’ll admit, I understand the strategy, but I did get a bit annoyed that the Broncos kept purposely sending the ball to the sideline every time they got to the fifth tackle.
Well, you can’t have it all, hey? Still, it was such an exciting, edge-of-your-seat match, which was exactly what I expected from an all-QLD Grand Final. And, also, according to the commentators, it was a record turn-out – the biggest crowd for any GF. And this was a match played in Sydney between two QLD teams! Just goes to show how much Queenslanders love their footy!