West Coast cut Collingwood’s lead to two goals at half time of the AFL Grand Final after a bruising and low-scoring second quarter where only 21 points were scored.
Just two points were scored until Collingwood finally put a goal through with 4.30 minutes to go in the quarter, but the Eagles quickly responded with their own, then grabbed another before the break.
Though low scoring, the quarter was not lacking drama after Liam Ryan flattened Brayden Maynard with a crunching hip and shoulder right to his ribs as he tried to take a mark.
Collingwood held a 17-point lead at quarter time after scoring five goals to start the match at the MCG.
West Coast made the first score when star forward Josh Kennedy unexpectedly missed a set shot but Collingwood’s Travis Varcoe scored the first goal.
Two more goals quickly followed for the Magpies after Eagles mistakes, particularly the third goal where Tom Cole dropped an easy chest mark in the back pocket and Jaidyn Stephenson it picked up and scored.
Collingwood’s Travis Varcoe scored the first goal of the AFL Grand Final as his team shot out to a 17 point lead at quarter time
West Coast won contested possessions and had more clearances but couldn’t keep the ball out of Collingwood’s forward 50 and struggled to keep pace in the midfield.
They also failed to tackle effectively as Magpies players were often bale to break them and run away with the ball, while Collingwood landed many more of their own tackles.
West Coast finally scored its first goal with less than two minutes to go when Willie Rioli touched the ball with his shin right on the line as it bounced after a contest.
They fought back late in the term, scoring another goal with Kennedy to claw back enough points to be 17 down at the break and have a chance to mount a premiership comeback.
West Coast won contested possessions and had more clearances but couldn’t keep the ball out of Collingwood’s forward 50 and struggled to keep pace in the midfield. Varcoe pictured running ahead of Shannon Hurn seconds before kicking his goal
Varcoe celebrates with teammates after scoring the first goal of the AFL Grand Final
His partner in the forward line, Jack Darling, had only one possession in the first quarter as Collingwood focused on stopping the dangerous tandem from taking over the game.
The MCG was completely packed with more than 100,000 people as the 2018 AFL Grand Final kicked off in Melbourne between West Coast and Collingwood.
Both teams had convincing victories in the preliminary finals last weekend, the Eagles thumping Melbourne by 66 points in Perth and Collingwood upsetting the fancied Richmond by 39 points.
This means both sides are fired up and carrying a lot of confidence in to the clash, the biggest game for many of their players’ careers, making for an exciting contest.
West Coast last made the Grand Final in 2015 where they were no match for Hawthorn, who cruised to their third straight premiership by 46 points.
There was plenty of drama before the match even started as Collingwood’s banner was torn apart by the wind only seconds before the team were due to come onto the field and run through it.
Jeremy McGovern, who was only declared fit to play an hour before match began after suffering a hip injury against Melbourne last week, marks in front of Mason Cox
West Coast captain Shannon Hurn leads the underdog West Coast Eagles on to the MCG before the Grand Final began
Earlier, Collingwood rookie Brayden Sier landed an epic sledge on West Coast captain Shannon Hurn about his famous receding hairline.
The league’s official Instagram account posted a photo of Hurn, 31, and Magpies captain Scott Pendlebury holding the Grand Final cup on Friday.
‘Pies to win due to better hairlines,’ the 20-year-old midfielder commented in reference to the stark contrast in the two skippers’ hair.
Collingwood’s team banner has shredding before the team even ran onto the field
Before it tore, the banner read: ‘We’re side by side through thick & thin, that’s why we’re here, that’s why we’ll win’