A dominant performance over the Bombers to win by 38 points has advanced the Pies into back-to-back grand finals.
With a grand final spot on the line for both teams, both came out hard, and it was goal for goal in the first quarter. The Bombers got the first major, but the Pies came back quickly with one of their own. It was a shootout in the first; the Pies scored four straight goals to the Bombers 4.2, the Bombers taking a 2-point lead at the first change.
Riley Fitzgerald was dominant throughout the game in the forward line and, together with big man Brett Newman chipping in with a few of his own goals, seemed unstoppable.
In the second, the Pies just took control of the game from there. Any mistake made by the Bombers, the Pies made them pay. With Josh Christian playing centre and captain/coach Brendan Stroud in defence, it was end to end at times, the Pies scoring 4.3 in the second and keeping the Bombers to 1.1.
At the main break the Pies had an 18-point lead.
“Control and play our game,” was coach Stroud’s message at half time. “Play tight and keep control.”
In what they call the ‘premiership quarter’, the Pies went on a roll. Tight defence and controlled ball movement was the key. All the players found key positions on the court to help each other and stop any chance of the Bombers coming back. Keeping Essendon to seven points for the term, Collingwood extended their lead to 31 points at the last change.
The last quarter, the Pies didn’t slow down, using space and control all over the court. With a handy lead, the coach was able to rotate the whole bench onto the court and get some minutes from every player. The Pies scored another 3.2 to the Bombers 2.1, finishing the game with a 38-point win and a spot in the 2019 Robert Rose Foundation Grand Final against Richmond, last year’s runners up.
Coach Stroud said, “I knew we had this in us, getting everyone to play their part and bring out their best and they did. We all played our roles and everyone was playing their best. To play in a grand final again will be amazing, but we won’t take the Tigers lightly that’s for sure, we lost by 2 points in our last meet so should be a cracker of a Grand Final.”
Collingwood 4-0-24 8-3-51 11-5-71 14-7-91
Essendon 4-2-26 5-3-33 6-4-40 8-5-53
Collingwood - Fitzgerald 11, Newman 3
Essendon - Perito 4, Logan 2, Maraldo 2
The VWFL Grand Final will be played on Sunday 1st September, 12pm, at the Boroondara Sports Complex