2011 AFL Grand Final
|2011 AFL Grand Final|
|Date||1 October 2011, 2.30pm|
|Stadium||Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|Umpires||C. Donlon, B. Rosebury, S. Ryan|
|Coin toss won by||Geelong|
|Kicked toward||Punt Road End|
|Pre-match entertainment||Meat Loaf|
|National anthem||Vanessa Amorosi|
|Norm Smith Medallist||Jimmy Bartel (Geelong)|
|Jock McHale Medallist||Chris Scott (Geelong)|
|Broadcast in Australia|
|Commentators||Stephen Quartermain and Anthony Hudson|
The 2011 AFL Grand Final was an Australian rules football game contested between the Collingwood Football Club and the Geelong Football Club, held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 1 October 2011. It was the 115th annual Grand Final of the Victorian Football League/Australian Football League, staged to determine the premiers for the 2011 AFL season.
The match, attended by 99,537 spectators, was won by Geelong by a margin of 38 points, marking that club's ninth premiership victory.
Collingwood entered the 2011 season as the reigning premiers, having defeated St Kilda in the 2010 AFL Grand Final Replay by 56 points. Collingwood were the best performed side of the home and away season, winning 14 games in a row in the latter part of the season, to finish with a record of 20–2. Collingwood won its second consecutive minor premiership and McClelland Trophy whilst registering the highest overall scoring percentage in over a century. Collingwood progressed to the Grand Final after two hard-fought finals matches; beating West Coast by 20 points in a qualifying final, then coming back from a four goal deficit to defeat Hawthorn by three points in a preliminary final.
Geelong entered the season after finishing second in 2010 home and away season, having lost to Collingwood by 41 points in the 2010 preliminary finals. Geelong appointed a new coach, Chris Scott, in the off-season after dual premiership coach Mark Thompson moved to Essendon. Geelong won their first 13 games in 2011, before finishing with a record of 19–3 to sit second on the ladder. The Cats had comfortable finals wins, over Hawthorn by 31 points and West Coast by 48 points, to qualify for the Grand Final.
Collingwood and Geelong met twice during the 2011 home and away season, with Geelong winning both games; these were Collingwood's only two losses for the home-and-away season. In Round 8, Geelong won a close game in spite of inaccurate goalkicking, with the final score 8.17 (65) to 9.8 (62). In Round 24, Geelong inflicted Collingwood's heaviest defeat for more than six years, winning 22.17 (149) to 8.5 (53) by 96 points; the minor premiership and the opponents Geelong and Collingwood were to face in the first week of the finals were decided by the end of Round 23, so the Round 24 match could be seen as a dead rubber.
This Grand Final marked the 41st season in which Collingwood contested an VFL/AFL Grand Final.Note 1 The club was attempting to win its 16th VFL/AFL premiership, which would have drawn it level with Carlton and Essendon for the most premierships in league history. It was Geelong's 17th Grand Final appearance, with the club attempting to win its ninth premiership overall. It was Geelong's fourth Grand Final appearance in five seasons, with the club attempting to win its third of those contests. It was the first time since 1998 that the premiers from the two preceding seasons played in the Grand Final.
This match was the sixth Grand Final contested between Collingwood and Geelong and the first since 1953. Three of the previous encounters were won by Geelong (1925, 1937 and 1952) and two were won by Collingwood (1930 and 1953). The two clubs had met in a preliminary final in three of the previous four seasons, with Geelong winning two (2007 and 2009) and Collingwood winning one (2010), but this was the first time in the recent success of both clubs that they had met in the Grand Final.
When betting markets opened on the Sunday before the game, Collingwood were a slight favourite, with major bookmaker TAB Sportsbet offering $1.80 for a Collingwood victory, compared with $2.00 for a Geelong victory. However, punters backed Geelong heavily and, by Monday, Geelong had become the slight favourite; on Thursday, Sportsbet was offering $1.80 for Geelong and $2.00 for Collingwood.
The match was broadcast by Ten Sport on Network Ten. The broadcast was transmitted only in Standard Definition, as the costs of High Definition were deemed excessive - the HD channel was used for golf. The coverage included the match, pre-game report, post-match report and highlights. The pre-game and post-game reports were hosted by Tim Lane and Michael Christian, and the match coverage was hosted by Stephen Quartermain. The match was called by Quartermain, Anthony Hudson, Luke Darcy and Matthew Lloyd.
The match was Network Ten's final broadcast of an Australian Football League match before its broadcasting rights deal expired at the end of 2011 – although it was not its final AFL-sanctioned broadcast overall, with the 2011 International Rules Series broadcast under the same rights deal in October and November 2011. It was Ten's eighth Grand Final broadcast. The Grand Final had a peak audience of over 3.9 million viewers.
Pre-match entertainment was provided by American singer Meat Loaf, who performed a twelve-and-a-half minute medley of his best-known songs. Meat Loaf's vocal performance, which was largely off-key, was widely panned by commentators. Vanessa Amorosi performed the national anthem, which was also panned.
Geelong won the coin toss and chose to kick to the Punt Road end of the MCG in the first quarter. It had rained heavily in Melbourne over the previous few days and on the morning of the game, but it was mostly played in dry conditions, with brief periods of rain in the third quarter.
Geelong scored the opening goal of the game after only eleven seconds, with Geelong winning the first centre clearance and Travis Varcoe scoring the goal. With Brad Ottens winning in the ruck, Geelong had the better of the clearances early. When Varcoe kicked his second goal in the fourth minute of the game, Geelong led 14–0. From then, Collingwood's backline held Geelong scoreless for fifteen minutes and set shot goals from beyond the 50-metre arc by Travis Cloke in the 12th and 19th minutes closed the gap to 14–13. From that point, the match was goal-for-goal in the latter stages of the quarter, with the lead changing four times: Andrew Krakouer goaled for Collingwood in the 21st minute; Steve Johnson goaled for Geelong in the 22nd minute; Luke Ball for Collingwood goaled in the 24th minute; and Joel Selwood goaled for Geelong in the 26th minute. At quarter time, Geelong led by one point, 27–26.
Collingwood opened the second quarter very strongly, and kicked three goals in the first ten minutes (to Krakouer in the 2nd minute, Cloke in the 7th minute and Ben Johnson in the 9th minute), to build an eighteen-point lead, 45–27; this would ultimately be Collingwood's biggest lead for the match. Cloke's early dominance forced Geelong to take Harry Taylor off him and make Tom Lonergan his new opponent, which helped the Cats stem the flow of goals. Mathew Stokes goaled for Geelong in the 11th minute, and Tom Hawkins and Johnson both missed opportunities to bring the margin closer; from Johnson's behind, Collingwood went coast-to-coast, with Krakouer scoring his third goal from a strong contested mark, to give Collingwood a 51–35 lead at 18th minute. At this stage, Geelong key forward James Podsiadly, who had scored one behind for the match, was stretchered from the ground with a right shoulder injury, after having fallen on it in a marking contest. Podsiadly was substituted off for Mitch Duncan.
For the remainder of the quarter, Geelong closed the gap on Collingwood: Steve Johnson's goal in the 23rd minute was answered by Collingwood's Steele Sidebottom in the 24th minute. In the 28th minute, a long chain of contested play around the boundary line finished with a goal to Selwood from the goal-square to narrow the margin to 9 points. Then, in the 32nd minute, Jimmy Bartel kicked a goal from a free kick, 25 m out on the boundary line, after the Collingwood ruckman Darren Jolly was penalised for tapping the ball out on the full from a ball-up. There was no more scoring in the long second quarter (which lasted 36 minutes due to the delay for Podsiadly's injury), and Collingwood led 57–54 at half time.
For the first part of the third quarter, it was goal-for-goal, with the lead changing five times. Geelong goaled first in the 4th minute, with Hawkins soccering the ball from a broken contest in the goal square. Collingwood's Sharrod Wellingham kicked a long goal in play from 50 m in the 7th minute – although replays indicated that the ball had hit the goal post, and should have been awarded a behind. Hawkins for Geelong and Leigh Brown for Collingwood goaled from set shots in the 13th and 14th minutes respectively. Bartel regained the lead for Geelong with a goal from a strong contested mark in the forward pocket in the 24th minute. Activated substitute Mitch Duncan goaled on the run from 50 m in the 28th minute to extend Geelong's lead to eight points, and Collingwood replied swiftly from the ensuing centre clearance, with Steele Sidebottom kicking a goal from 50 m on the run. In the 31st minute, Tom Hawkins kicked his third goal of the quarter for Geelong, another soccered goal from short range. With five goals to three in the third quarter, Geelong led 85–78 by seven points.
Hawkins had three early opportunities to kick goals for Geelong in the 2nd, 4th and 5th minutes, all from contested marks; he missed with his first two opportunities, then handpassed the third to Steve Johnson, who scored the goal. In the 9th minute, Varcoe was on the end of a long running play which started at full-back to kick his third goal. In the 15th minute, when Bartel goaled from a set-shot, the margin was out to 26 points, and a Geelong victory was no longer in doubt. Two more goals were scored by Geelong in the dying minutes – one to Steve Johnson in the 22nd minute, and one to popular captain Cameron Ling in the 24th minute – to complete a 38-point victory. Geelong scored five goals to none in the final quarter and scored the last six goals of the match. After the 10-minute mark of the second quarter, Geelong turned an 18-point deficit into a 38-point win, for a 56-point turnaround.
The influential players in the midfield were Jimmy Bartel and Joel Selwood for Geelong, and Scott Pendlebury for Collingwood. Collingwood midfielder and 2011 Brownlow Medallist Dane Swan was effectively tagged by Ling, and had a limited influence on the match. The ruck contest was well won by Geelong's tandem of Ottens and Trent West, who beat Collingwood's primary ruckman Darren Jolly and back-up Leigh Brown.
In Collingwood's forward-line, Travis Cloke was influential in the first half, kicking three goals while playing against Geelong defender Harry Taylor. A change of match-ups at half time saw Tom Lonergan switched onto Cloke, and Cloke managed only one behind thereafter.
In Geelong's forward-line, Tom Hawkins was credited with one of the best matches of his career. He kicked 3.2 after half-time, and set up another to Steve Johnson, with Collingwood defender Ben Reid unable to quell his influence. Hawkins role was particularly crucial after fellow key forward James Podsiadly was substituted out of the game injured in the second quarter. Additionally, Steve Johnson kicked four goals, despite suffering a knee injury in the preliminary final which many speculated during the week would keep him out of the match.
Norm Smith Medal
The Norm Smith Medal was won by Geelong's Jimmy Bartel, who had 28 disposals and kicked three goals. Bartel scored 13 of a possible 15 votes to win the award, including being voted best-on-ground by four of the five judges. Bartel became the fifth player to win a Brownlow Medal, premiership medallion and Norm Smith Medal in his career.
Joel Selwood (28 disposals, two goals) finished second with nine votes, and Tom Hawkins (19 disposals, nine marks, three goals) finished third with five votes, including the other best-on-ground vote. Scott Pendlebury (two votes) and Cameron Ling (one vote) were the other vote-getters.
The premiership was the ninth VFL/AFL premiership in Geelong's history and the third premiership in five years. Twelve Geelong players – Bartel, Ottens, Ling, Johnson, Selwood, Matthew Scarlett, Paul Chapman, Andrew Mackie, James Kelly, Joel Corey, David Wojcinski and Corey Enright – became the first triple-premiership players in the club's VFL/AFL history. Geelong coach Chris Scott became the first man since Alan Joyce in 1988 to win the premiership in his first year as senior coach at a club and, at 35 years of age, the youngest premiership coach since Alex Jesaulenko in 1979.
|Saturday, 1 October (2:30 pm)||Collingwood||def. by||Geelong||MCG (Crowd: 99,537)||Report|
|Umpires: C. Donlon, B. Rosebury, S. Ryan
Norm Smith Medal: Jimmy Bartel (Geelong)
Television broadcast: Network Ten
National Anthem: Vanessa Amorosi
|Cloke 3, Krakouer 3, Sidebottom 2, Ball, Brown, Johnson, Wellingham||Goals||Johnson 4, Bartel 3, Hawkins 3, Varcoe 3, Selwood 2, Duncan, Ling, Stokes|
|Pendlebury, Thomas, Sidebottom, Tarrant, Ball, Brown, Cloke||Best||Bartel, Selwood, Hawkins, Ling, Johnson, Chapman, Ottens, Varcoe|
The teams were named on Thursday, 29 September.
The umpiring panel for the Grand Final, including nine match day umpires and three emergencies, was announced on Tuesday, 27 September. Amongst the umpires were three Grand Final debutants: field umpire Chris Donlon, and boundary umpires Nathan Doig and Christopher Gordon.
|2011 AFL Grand Final umpires|
|Field:||1 Chris Donlon (1)||8 Brett Rosebury (4)||25 Shaun Ryan (5)|
|Boundary:||Nathan Doig (1)||Mark Foster (4)||Christopher Gordon (1)||Mark Thomson (4)|
|Goal:||David Dixon (6)||Luke Walker (3)|
|Emergency:||Field: Matt Stevic||Boundary: Jonathon Creasey||Goal: Chelsea Roffey|
|Numbers in brackets represent the number of Grand Finals umpired; this number includes 2011, counts the 2010 AFL Grand Final and Replay separately, and does not include times selected as the emergency. Sources:|
- 1.^ It was Collingwood's 43rd Grand Final appearance overall, if the replayed Grand Finals of 1977 and 2010 are counted separately to the drawn Grand Finals in the same years.
- In 1897 and 1924 there were no Grand Finals and instead the premier was decided by a finals play-off. In 1948 and 1977 there were Grand Final replays after initial draws.
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