2018 AFL Grand Final review: not an in-depth one though

BIG: Mason Cox provided plenty of entertainment in the second half. Picture: Julian Smith
BIG: Mason Cox provided plenty of entertainment in the second half. Picture: Julian Smith

With the AFL Grand Final over for another year, we’ve taken the chance to have a not-that-in-depth look at what played out in the biggest game of the season. 

PARLIAMENT TIME

Every AFL Grand Final comes with obligatory camera panning to notable spectators, and the 2018 edition came with a parliamentary theme. 

First it was Julie Bishop, who went in the disguise of being a West Coast supporter but was more than likely tying up loose ends from her old foreign affairs minister portfolio, gathering a report on the state of the game and how we can sell AFLX to China.

Newly-appointed Prime Minister Scott Morrison also managed to get his hand on a ticket and the associated airtime, and presumably would have been sympathetic towards the Eagles given he too snatched the spoils from a giant-killing underdog. 

BUSINESS OR PLEASURE: Former foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop in Eagles colours. Picture: Jason South

BUSINESS OR PLEASURE: Former foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop in Eagles colours. Picture: Jason South

WORDPLAY POTENTIAL

This year’s Grand Final had plenty in store for anagram lovers, which is probably not anyone who likes football, but hear me out.

Last week it was Mason Cox’s chance to show he was in fact a No-scam Ox – a legitimate beast – by marking pretty much everything that came within a 50m radius.

This weekend it was Jordan De Goey who, in the middle of a first-term goal spree, experienced Rad Joy On Edge shortly after brushing off two Eagles defenders on the boundary fence to slot an impossible snap.

But it was Liam Ryan who had the last laugh, taking a textbook Lairy Man hanger in the dying minutes before setting up Dom Sheed for the match-winner. 

SPARKLING: Small forward Liam Ryan leaps high to take a crucial mark late in the final term. Picture: Joe Armao

SPARKLING: Small forward Liam Ryan leaps high to take a crucial mark late in the final term. Picture: Joe Armao

COX PLATES

Is there anyone better to watch in the modern era than Mason Cox?

After a trying first half, the 211cm American got the big dishes working in the third quarter and began clunking them all over the ground.

Every time he marks inside 50 he automatically switches into full swagger mode and struts around like the king of the schoolyard, which you don’t see enough these days.

He’s not the game’s biggest kick – if Isaac Smith gets 55m out of his standard nine-iron left-footer, Cox three-woods everything 40m.

But if you mark it in the goalsquare, it doesn’t matter.  

IMPOSING: Eagles utility Jeremy McGovern showed no signs of being hampered by injury. Picture: Joe Armao

IMPOSING: Eagles utility Jeremy McGovern showed no signs of being hampered by injury. Picture: Joe Armao

RIB GOVERNOR

Much of the talk pre-game surrounded Jeremy McGovern’s ribs and whether they were broken.

But from looking at the man, you wouldn’t bother worrying about it. 

With due respect to Brian Taylor’s favourite goal umpire, McGovern has the biggest rig in the game and even with half a dozen broken sticks in his chest you’d still back him in to be tougher than his opponent.

Such was the man’s influence on the game that McDonalds would be crazy not to launch a new menu item – the McGovern, probably a rib burger – in his honour.

DO A RUNNER 

Everyone wants to get in on grand final day action, right? 

After being behind pretty much the whole game, the Eagles hit the front in the third term when Elliot Yeo latched onto a loose Taylor Adams kick and converted from 50.

Young gun Jaidyn Stephenson probably would have made the contest but for being blocked off by his own runner, former Hawthorn midfielder Alex Woodward.

Magpies fans probably won’t like hearing this, but Woodward’s not to blame – if anyone’s to blame it’s list manager Ned Guy for not picking him up in the pre-season draft, he’s wasted as a runner.

A J.J Liston medallist, the 25-year-old would be a bona fide jet but for four knee reconstructions and if anything, Saturday’s incident just shows that even when he’s not playing he’s a ball magnet.

HE’S A NEW MAYNE

For all the flack he’s copped since moving from Fremantle, Chris Mayne was a worthwhile pick-up if only for his effort in the Grand Final.

The much-maligned 29-year-old did little wrong and plenty right to be one of the Pies’ best – so much so that people must have been wondering if it wasn’t actually Matt Priddis with his hair dyed brown.

Mayne laid a match-high 14 tackles and was the game's only player with 100 per cent disposal efficiency –not bad from 15 touches.