Pressure. It has cost us some wayward government ministers, it can drive young divas into a head -shaving, umbrella-waving fit of rage and it forced the temporarily rampaging Adelaide Crows into their shell during the third quarter last Saturday night. And Grant Thomas ate it for breakfast (plus a little bit more, you suspect…) but look where it got him!
That’s right – it’s preliminary final weekend and the buzzword this week has been ‘pressure’. Our two grand finalists will be determined by the end of Saturday night and for all four competing clubs, the pressure is freakin’ ginormous. Though Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse has his own little theory. He reckons that this pressure mainly applies to Geelong rather than his own club!
Apparently, the Cats are suffering under the weight of excruciating pressure that comes with being the outstanding team of the past three seasons but only have one flag to show for it. The Saints and Dogs are also under pressure having not won the comp for well over 40 years. His own club, however, seems devoid of pressure somehow…
Under pressure? Feeling stressed? Mick has just the thing for you…a nice piece of cake!
So lemme get this straight – the coach with ten years in charge at the self-proclaimed ‘biggest club in Australia’, responsible for a couple of really good years but no ‘great’ year and, most notably, no premiership to show for it; this guy is not under any pressure at all? And he thinks Geelong is under more pressure than anyone? Um…ok?
Not saying that Malthouse is a bad coach or even an overrated one – the guy is good; see last weekend as a case in point. But he has been at his current club longer than the other three coaches taking part at this preliminary final stage and, unlike the others, he also has a concrete deadline of September 2011 before handing over the keys to Nathan Buckley. No pressure though, Mick! Maybe writing these opinion pieces relaxes him…
His misguided attempt at psychological warfare has made this week a little more interesting but Bomber Thompson would not be the only person to laugh off something he has said this year. But before we see the Pies and Dogs do their best to handle the occasion on Saturday night, we have ourselves another little pressure-soaked prelim tonight!
First Preliminary Final– MCG, 7:45pm (local): St Kilda v Western Bulldogs (SEVEN)
After being wrapped in ice for two weeks straight, Nick’s knee feels fantastic! A little numb though…
St Kilda have been the best team all year but not so great in recent times trying to leap this particular hurdle. But things are different this time…honest! And Shane Warne has been talking to the players so what could possibly go wrong?
They do look the stronger side and should prevail but if something bad were to happen to an especially important but troublesome knee joint, anything is possible. Except for Max Hudghton running out to play…that ain’t happening tonight.
If being coated with ice works for Nick Riewoldt, it’s good enough for the Dogs! Next…the head!!!
The Doggies are in the mood for an upset…but not the type of upset they felt after losing last year’s prelim! Saints coach Ross Lyon is aware of the danger the Dogs present but then again, what else is he going to say?
One thing he won’t say is ‘We’ve gotta shut down Will Minson’. Now, big Will is important to their structure and is a handy player and all but seriously – if he is so crucial that he holds the key to the Western Bulldogs making a grand final, I’d be more than a little worried…
SAINTS by 28