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AFL: Grand Final review

Collingwood ended their premiership drought when edging out the Brisbane Lions by just four points in an epic AFL grand final on Saturday.

Leading in to the big dance, hopes were high for a classic encounter, and that is exactly how it turned out.

All supporters of Aussie Rules were treated to one of the best grand finals in AFL history, and it was a grand final that neither side deserved to lose.

But there could only be one winner and it was Collingwood that managed to dig deep and get the job done, just like they have done on more than one occasion in 2023.

Brisbane can take plenty of heart from their performance as they fought to death, but that will be of little consolation to coach Chris Fagan and his players.

Collingwood deserved winners

No-one can say that Collingwood did not deserve to be crowned 2023 AFL premiers after being the stand-out side throughout the season.

They topped the ladder at the end of the regular season and have been the most consistent side throughout the campaign.

On more than one occasion in 2023 they won close encounters, indeed they made a habit of it, and they came up trumps again on the biggest stage of all.

Once the celebrations have calmed, talk will turn to whether they are capable of going back-to-back to win it again in 2024.

They can be backed at 5.00 to win the 2024 AFL grand final, with Brisbane available at 7.00.

Hill wins Norm Smith Medal

Collingwood had champions all over the pitch. After all it takes a huge team effort to win an AFL grand final.

However Bobby Hill was the stand-out for the Pies and was handed the Norm Smith Medal for being best on ground.

Hill booted four goals during the grand final win and notched 18 disposals to put in a complete performance.

It capped a remarkable comeback for the player who battled back from illness and is now a premiership and Norm Smith medal winner.

Redemption for De Goey

Collingwood star Jordan De Goey has also had his tough times away from the field, but was a revelation on it at the MCG.

He may have got the grand final off to a slow start, but he booted two goals, including a crucial one in the final quarter.

With the game on the line and Brisbane edging in front, De Goey booted a gem from outside 50 to put his side back in front. And it was a lead they did not give up again.

Lions vow to bounce back

Brisbane Lions may be down after the heartbreaking defeat, but they are certainly not out, and have vowed to bounce back in 2024 and beyond.

Lions coach Chris Fagan was quick to point out that he has a very young side that is only just entering its premiership window.

Brisbane were outstanding and it was a grand final that on another day, could easily have gone their way. But it wasn’t to be.

However, there is plenty of hope for the future and the Lions have everything in place to bounce back in 2024.

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