Keeffe caught up in AFL draw
SATURDAY’S AFL grand final was like the federal election, but without three independents to break the deadlock. And Gympie’s Matt Keeffe was right in the middle of it.
Keeffe, father of Collingwood rookie Lachlan, was in the stands of the Melbourne Cricket Grounds with his son, hoping to see the Magpies beat the Saints.
Instead, the match was drawn after a colossal battle and the teams will return this weekend for a grand final rematch.
The last time two teams tied in a grand final was in 1977, when Collingwood clashed with North Melbourne.
There was a degree of relief for St Kilda fans, who watched their team fight back after being down 50-26 at half-time, in attempt to keep their premiership hopes alive.
For Collingwood, there was heartache at squandering such a commanding lead, with a series of missed opportunities in front of goal.
Keeffe described the atmosphere in the MCG as electric.
“There was so much feeling in the crowd. Things were really tense during the final five minutes,” he said.
“Everyone was on the edge of their seats. And when the final siren sounded and the teams were level it was just a strange feeling.”
Supporters from both teams struggled to come to terms with the situation, Keeffe said.
“There was just confusion and all the diehard fans were in total shock,” he said.
“Many fans just had this blank look on their faces and didn’t know what to make of it.”
In the few final moments leading up to the final siren many fans resorted to covering their eyes to spare themselves from the tension, he said.
Keeffe joined the growing chorus of unrest over the current situation, with the code’s rules dictating a repeat grand final in the event of a draw.
“Most sports have a sudden-death system in a grand final situation and I think the public has made it clear they want it in AFL,” he said.
“So many people had locked in that weekend and paid a lot of money, particularly interstate fans, to watch the game and not having a result is pretty devastating.
“I definitely think there needs to be a review.”
On the game itself, Keeffe said Collingwood had the knife in the back of St Kilda but didn’t turn it.
“Collingwood got itself into a winning position but didn’t finish it off,” he said. “St Kilda are always fighting back. They were given an opportunity to get back into the game and they took it.”
Keeffe has plans to secure tickets for the second grand final, this time taking more of his family for the ride.