Now that the match is over, the trophy has been handed out and everyone has gone home, it’s easy to say that the Premiership was always heading to Geelong and it was their destiny after last year. It was one of the best ever Grand Finals and for the most part was played on an absolute knife-edge.
St Kilda were fantastic and deserved to win but it just wasn’t to be. A bounce of the ball here or there and they would have broken their drought – that’s how close it was.
But now they face the cold hard reality that next year they start 0-0 along with Melbourne and Fremantle and have to climb the summit all over again. Yes teams have rebounded from a Grand Final loss for success such as the Eagles did in 2006 and Hawthorn and Carlton did in the 1980s but it is no guarantee.
After losing last year to Hawthorn, the Cats were ultra-determined to win and St Kilda probably would have won quite easily had they been playing any of the other 14 sides besides Geelong.
Nick Riewoldt had a fantastic year and an even better finals series but he was unable to take the Saints over the line. He should be better for the knowledge and experience of what it’s like to play in a Grand Final. Grand Final experience was something the Saints lacked against the Cats. This won’t be an issue next time round should it come sooner rather than later.
Most people think it will be sooner with the Saints already the favourites for next year’s flag. AFL betting has them the shortest price and the Cats are there right along them. The prices are pretty similar to this year’s ladder with the Demons and Dockers at the highest prices.
Focus now turns to trade week and the draft. Premierships have been won during this time. The ability to locate key pieces in the puzzle makes a huge difference. A slight tinkering with the side can yield great rewards. Last year’s trade week was a bit of a disappointment with very little actually taking place. There was a lot of conjecture and speculation in the media but ultimately it all panned out to nothing. Often agents like to use trade week to boost the stocks of their players by shopping them around to the highest bidder. It would be better if more trades actually took place.
Following the end of the 2009 AFL season, David Wiseman is looking forward to the Melbourne Cup.