Tomorrow is the Grand Final. If you live in Melbourne you already know. It’s all over the newspapers, the news, the radio and now the internet too.
Two teams face off. The Geelong Football Club – the Cats
The St Kilda Football Club – the Saints
I barrack for Geelong. My Grandmother was born and lived in Geelong, and so my mother and her brothers barrack for Geelong. When I was born I was given a jumper with the blue and white hoops, and the number 5 on the back of it. Number 5 went on to be worn by arguably the greatest footballer ever, Gary Ablett. But when I was born, it was worn by a player called Malarkey.
So when Gary Ablett came along and kicked a thousand goals for the Cats while I was between the ages of four and fifteen, I was already wearing his number.
I had his poster on the wall. I went down to Kardinia Park with my uncles and stood in the outer. I watched Geelong lose the Grand final in 1989, 1992, 1994 and in 1995.
It wasn’t fair.
I also watched them lose the 2005 semi final from the front bar of the Kingston Hotel in Canberra. Nick Davies kicked a heartbreaking goal for the Sydney Swans with ten seconds remaining and Geelong lost by 3 points.
But then, Geelong won the Grand Final in 2007, by a record-breaking 119 points. I was at a party, and as the result went beyond doubt other people drifted off, but I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. Finally!
When they lost the 2008 grand final, I was less chuffed. That made the ratio of grand final wins to losses one to five. But we don’t talk about that.
So tomorrow Geelong take on the Saints, for yet another chance at the prize. I believe they can win. The team has a quality mid-field and many, many routes to goal.
Last time they played, St Kilda led by 27 points in the first quarter, and Geelong pegged them back to lose by only a goal. St Kilda have only got one dangerous forward, Nick Reiwoldt. I don’t doubt he will play well. He may kick five or six goals. But it won’t be enough.
Prediction : Geelong to win by 30 points, Paul Chapman to take home the Norm Smith medal (best on ground).
I’m excited. Go Cats!