West Coast have won the 2018 AFL Grand Final by five points in a contest for the ages against Collingwood that went down to the very last minute.
The Eagles set out to redeem their humiliating 39-point loss to Hawthorn in the 2015 Grand Final, a game that was over by half time as the rampaging Hawks won their third straight premiership.
With a final score of 79 to 74, the nailbiting match that gave West Coast its fourth premiership was hailed as one of the best Grand Finals of all time, up there with the team’s one-point win over Sydney in 2006.
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West Coast have won the 2018 AFL Grand Final by five points in a contest for the ages against Collingwood that went down to the very last minute
Luke Shuey, who won the Norm Smith Medal for being the best player on ground, is congratulated by Willie Rioli and Nathan Vardy as the team won its fourth premiership
Scores are level at 55 points with just a quarter to go in an action-packed in the AFL Grand Final between West Coast and Collingwood
Collingwood shot out to a 17 point lead at quarter time, kicking the first five goals unanswered before West Coast clawed two back just before the first break.
From there they chipped away at the lead slowly before levelling the score 55-all at three-quarter time to set up a thrilling final term that was decided within the last minute.
The Magpies made a good start to the final term, kicking the first two goals and then another after West Coast responded with one of their own.
West Coast relentlessly pushed forward for much of the middle of the quarter but couldn’t score a goal, only managing to kick a series of behinds to put the score back to within a goal.
Finally West Coast took the lead with just two minutes to go and their supporters – far outnumbered by Collingwood’s – began to believe.
West Coast celebrates while Collingwood look dejected after their thrilling win that went down to the final minute
A fired up Dom Sheed kicked the goal that put West Coast ahead during the last two minutes of the game, and they were able to hold on for the victory
West Coast captain Shannon Hurn, staunching a wound above his eye sustained in the final minutes with a headband, celebrates with jubilation
They had a chance to put the game away but Jack Darling fumbled the ball on the goal line. It didn’t matter as West Coast was able to hold on to the slim lead until the final siren.
Star Eagles midfielder Luke Shuey was awarded the Norm Smith medal as the best player on ground, racking up 34 disposals all over the field along with a goal and was red hot for the first three quarters.
‘You guys have travelled thousands of kilometres to be here and we love you,’ he told the thousands of fans who flew or drove from Perth to watch the game, as the medal with looped around his neck.
Shuey was congratulated by his childhood friend David Zaharakis, who wrote a tribute on Instagram with an old photo of the pair in high school.
‘Love ya mate!! To think back then you’d become a Norm Smith medalist one day, is unbelievable!!! This was back when we were 18 and I’ve loved ya ever since! Congratulations brother!’ he wrote.
Eagles captain Shannon Hurn also acknowledged the fans in his victory speech, along with the staff and volunteers at the club.
‘We will come back and celebrate with you in the next couple of weeks. Tell the fans, thanks once again. You make playing football great,’ he said.
‘I want to thank the staff as well and Simmo (Eagles coach Brad Simpson) and all the West Coast coaches and everyone that puts in time and volunteers.
‘That is what makes football clubs and that is what makes it so enjoyable to come to work. We put in a hard work and we get a win like this.’
Eagles players hug each other and fall on the ground with emotion after the final siren sounded at the MCG
Eagles fans celebrate at a screening on a field in Perth attended by hundreds who couldn’t make the trip to Melbourne
Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing celebrates the West Coast win before final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on September 29, 2018 in Sochi, Russia
Eagles coach Brad Simpson celebrates with his players including Willie Rioli, Liam Ryan, the injured Nic Naitanui (left background), and captain Shannon Hurn (right)
An Eagles player holds up his premiership medal as he celebrates with the crowd, as others walk around the ground with their families
Eagles players sing the team song in the dressing rooms after their thrilling victory, celebrating the club’s fourth premiership
Star Eagles midfielder Luke Shuey (pictured) was awarded the Norm Smith medal as the best player on ground, racking up 34 disposals all over the field along with a goal and was red hot for the first three quarters
Shuey was congratulated by his childhood friend David Zaharakis, who wrote a tribute on Instagram with an old photo of the pair in high school
Jack Darling holds up the Premiership Trophy in one hand while cradling his young son in his other arm
Simpson paid tribute to the club’s stars who were unable to play because they suffered season-ending injuries or, in the case of defender Andrew Gaff, were suspended.
‘It’s all been a united group in year. It has been a fantastic ride. We have faced a lot of adversity. My heart goes out to Eric Mackenzie, Brad Sheppard, Nic Naitanui and Andrew Gaff. You are part of this group,’ he said.
West Coast drew congratulations from around the country and even from Russia where WA-born Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo watched the match before practice ahead of tomorrow’s Grand Prix in Sochi.
‘Wow, what a game,’ the number one Eagles ticket holder for 2015 and 2016 said.
‘I’m just pumped, stoked. The last flag they won I was at a race in Malaysia and I remember I was on the grid about to start the race and my Dad came over to me and he was like ‘They won, they won!’.
‘I couldn’t even see the final siren there. But I got up early today and it was worth it. Well done Eagles, enjoy. These moments don’t come around often so enjoy.’
While the Eagles celebrated, the tearful Magpies players were locked in a sombre post-game meeting, and had to tell dozens of their family friends waiting in a nearby room to be quiet.
Scores were level at at three-quarter time with both teams on 55 points after a dramatic third term where West Coast key forwards began to take over the game.
It is the first time the score has been tied at three-quarter time in a Grand Final since 1937 when Geelong took on Collingwood and went on to win the game by 22 points.
Magpies head coach Nathan Buckley consoles star player Steele Sidebottom after Collingwood’s heartbreaking, last minute loss
Collingwood president Eddie Maguire looks crushed after his team lost in the final minute of the Grand Final
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley puts his head in his hands after the final siren sounds on the heartbreaking loss
West Coast took the fight to Collingwood in the first seconds of the third quarter as star forward Josh Kennedy kicked a goal in the first minute.
However, the Magpies quickly responded with big forward Mason Cox finally getting in to the game with a goal after being held to just one kick and zero marks in the first half.
The match began to open up after that with the two teams trading very quick goals early in the quarter, with the Magpies maintaining a slim lead until late in the quarter when the Eagles levelled the score.
The Eagles should have pushed in front at the end of the quarter when Liam Ryan dropped an easy mark in front of goal and Collingwood picked the ball up and got it out of trouble.
After being kept in check during the first half, Jack Darling had a huge third quarter, scoring a goal and taking marks all over the ground as the Eagles pushed forward repeatedly.
Collingwood’s led by two goals at half time after a bruising and low-scoring second quarter where only 21 points were scored.
After being kept in check during the first half, Jack Darling (pictured) had a huge second half, scoring a goal and taking marks all over the ground as the Eagles pushed forward repeatedly
Scores were level at at three-quarter time with both teams on 55 points after a dramatic third term where West Coast key forwards began to take over the game
Collingwood shot out to a 17 point lead at quarter time, kicking the first five goals unanswered before West Coast clawed two back just before the first break
Just two points were scored until the Magpies finally put a goal through with 4.30 minutes to go in the quarter, but the Eagles quickly responded with their own, then grabbed another before the break.
Though low scoring, the second quarter was not lacking drama after Liam Ryan flattened Brayden Maynard with a crunching hip and shoulder right to his ribs as he tried to take a mark.
West Coast’s rock-solid second quarter defence was led by Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass who took numerous intercept marks in the Magpies’ forward half to deny them points.
The pair kept big Collingwood forward Mason Cox to just one kick and zero marks in the whole first half.
The quiet second quarter came after Collingwood held a 17-point lead at quarter time after scoring five goals to start the match at the MCG.
Though low scoring, the second quarter was not lacking drama after Liam Ryan flattened Brayden Maynard with a crunching hip and shoulder right to his ribs as he tried to take a mark
The massive hit prompted some scuffles on the field, though the hit was completely legal
The hit knocked Maynard to the ground and left him so winded and sore he had to leave the field for several minutes
West Coast made the first score when star forward Josh Kennedy unexpectedly missed a set shot but Collingwood’s Travis Varcoe scored the first goal.
It was a fairytale start for Varcoe as he endured the death of his sister, Margaret Varcoe, and he pointed to the sky to acknowledge her after kicking the goal.
A football player herself, Margaret, fondly known as Maggie, died after a horrific head clash in her own grand final.
Two more goals quickly followed for the Magpies after Eagles mistakes, particularly the third goal where Tom Cole dropped an easy chest mark in the back pocket and Jaidyn Stephenson it picked up and scored.
West Coast won contested possessions and had more clearances but couldn’t keep the ball out of Collingwood’s forward 50 and struggled to keep pace in the midfield.
Just two points were scored until Collingwood finally put a goal through with 4.30 minutes to go in the quarter, but the Eagles quickly responded with their own, then grabbed another before the break
Brayden Sier kicks the ball out of a contest during the hard-fought second quarter that didn’t light up the scoreboard
Collingwood’s Travis Varcoe scored the first goal of the AFL Grand Final as his team shot out to a 17 point lead at quarter time
West Coast won contested possessions and had more clearances but couldn’t keep the ball out of Collingwood’s forward 50 and struggled to keep pace in the midfield. Varcoe pictured running ahead of Shannon Hurn seconds before kicking his goal
Varcoe celebrates with teammates after scoring the first goal of the AFL Grand Final
They also failed to tackle effectively as Magpies players were often bale to break them and run away with the ball, while Collingwood landed many more of their own tackles.
West Coast finally scored its first goal with less than two minutes to go when Willie Rioli touched the ball with his shin right on the line as it bounced after a contest.
They fought back late in the term, scoring another goal with Kennedy to claw back enough points to be 17 down at the break and have a chance to mount a premiership comeback.
His partner in the forward line, Jack Darling, had only one possession in the first quarter as Collingwood focused on stopping the dangerous tandem from taking over the game.
The MCG was completely packed with more than 100,000 people as the 2018 AFL Grand Final kicked off in Melbourne between West Coast and Collingwood.
Jeremy McGovern, who was only declared fit to play an hour before match began after suffering a hip injury against Melbourne last week, marks in front of Mason Cox
West Coast captain Shannon Hurn leads the underdog West Coast Eagles on to the MCG before the Grand Final began
Both teams had convincing victories in the preliminary finals last weekend, the Eagles thumping Melbourne by 66 points in Perth and Collingwood upsetting the fancied Richmond by 39 points.
This means both sides are fired up and carrying a lot of confidence in to the clash, the biggest game for many of their players’ careers, making for an exciting contest.
West Coast last made the Grand Final in 2015 where they were no match for Hawthorn, who cruised to their third straight premiership by 46 points.
There was plenty of drama before the match even started as Collingwood’s banner was torn apart by the wind only seconds before the team were due to come onto the field and run through it.
Earlier, Collingwood rookie Brayden Sier landed an epic sledge on West Coast captain Shannon Hurn about his famous receding hairline.
The league’s official Instagram account posted a photo of Hurn, 31, and Magpies captain Scott Pendlebury holding the Grand Final cup on Friday.
‘Pies to win due to better hairlines,’ the 20-year-old midfielder commented in reference to the stark contrast in the two skippers’ hair.
Collingwood’s team banner has shredding before the team even ran onto the field
Before it tore, the banner read: ‘We’re side by side through thick & thin, that’s why we’re here, that’s why we’ll win’