Could Sydney and Collingwood meet in the Grand Final?


Are we set for a Swans versus Collingwood Grand Final in 2023?

The siren sounds at the MCG. The crowd of 60,000 erupts in cheers, and good old Collingwood Forever rings out across Melbourne. The Magpies have just defeated Port Adelaide Power by 71 points. This match was hyped up to be the match of the round after Port smashed last year’s prelim finalists Brisbane Lions by 54 points in front of the Alberton crowd.

Hardly anyone thought Craig McRae’s men could pull this off. But this Collingwood team have a reputation for proving everybody wrong.

It’s Round 2, and we are already writing articles about how bloody good they are. At their best, the Maggies look just about unbeatable, with new captain Darcy Moore and Isaac Quaynor racking up the rebound 50s time and time again, and Brody Mihocek and Mason Cox causing many headaches up forward.

One of Collingwood’s biggest issues last year was their inability to play the full four quarters of the game. Either they would come out guns blazing in the first half and switch off a bit in the second, or they would go into quarter time down by about 15-20, keep hanging in there for a while, and eventually come out on top, thanks to the clutch finishes of Jamie Elliott and co.

Jamie Elliott and Josh Daicos of the Magpies celebrate a goal.

Jamie Elliott and Josh Daicos of the Magpies celebrate a goal. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

However, this year we have been introduced to a new brand of footy from the Pies. Against the Cats and the Power, they seemed to come into the match with so much energy and keep it going until the final siren, something they struggled with in ‘22.

With the development of Nick Daicos and the addition of Tom Mitchell from the Hawks, the midfield that came dead last for centre clearances seems to have gone up a notch.

Taylor Adams seems uninjured so far, and with Pat Lipinski arriving back from injury in a few weeks, Collingwood’s engine room looks scintillating. They really look like a premiership-quality side.

With these two major issues addressed, Collingwood really looks like the top notch side they have the potential to be. If they keep playing like this, it’s hard not to see them making the Grand Final.

Last year they only lost to a handful of teams, including twice to the Geelong Cats and twice to the Sydney Swans. Collingwood have already defeated the Cats in Round 1, so this leaves the latter.

Last year’s preliminary final was one of the games of the year. Sydney jumped out of the blocks and led by over 30 points at quarter-time. But in classic 2022 Magpies fashion, they came back late to almost snag the win. But against such a high-quality defence like the Swan’s, the Maggies couldn’t get the job done, losing by a single point.

The Swans went on to be thrashed by the Cats in the grand final.

Many critics thought the Swans wouldn’t recover from the loss, and would go back into their shells for 2023, but they have done just the opposite. A 54-point defeat of Gold Coast Suns was followed by a 91-point demolition of Hawthorn Hawks. With the likes of young players such as Logan McDonald and Errol Gulden, more senior players such as Lance Franklin can take a back seat.

This is a warning to the rest of the competition. The Swans are well and truly here to play in 2023.

With Geelong starting 0-2, and Brisbane arguably not looking as impressive, we can expect to see both Sydney and Collingwood both making long runs into the finals. They both have incredibly strong lists, and skilled coaches at their disposal.

My tip is a Collingwood-Sydney Grand fFnal. Who wins is anybody’s guess. We will have to wait and see.

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