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100,000 turn out for stalemate in AFL grand final

100,000 turn out for stalemate in AFL grand final

For only the third time in the sport’s 151-year history, Saturday’s Australian Football League grand final ended in a draw at 68 apiece, leaving the premiership undecided until Collingwood and St Kilda return to do battle again next week.

Before a packed house of 100,016 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Collingwood burst to an early lead and looked unstoppable in the first quarter, playing the relentless forward press that has allowed them to control possession in their forward line all season.

Star forward Alan Didak converted a remarkable goal from hard up against the boundary early in the first term with a sense of confidence and ease that was pervasive through the entire side.

His efforts were followed by teammates across the ground including Dale Thomas, who was damaging across the half backline as Collingwood rushed to an early four-goal lead.

The Saints needed to bring the game back into their tempo in the second half and despite constant attacks from Collingwood, they were able to lock the match down and etch their way back into the contest.

Lenny Hayse started winning contested balls in the middle and Brendon Goddard was everywhere, helping his team get to within two kicks by the final term.

Momentum had swung to the Saints, who wrestled control of the lead from Collingwood to go one point down.

In the dying minutes, Hayse scrambled a kick at goal that bounced teasingly towards the big posts before veering off course just before the line for one point.

Scores were deadlocked on 68 each and with players throwing everything they had left at the ball, no one was able to take clean possession and score.

When the final siren sounded, shellshock descended as battle weary players and fans came to terms with the fact that they’ll have do it all again next week.

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