Malthouse and Lyon mulling next moves
Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse and St Kilda counterpart Ross Lyon were stumped as they pondered how to rebound from the fallout of the first drawn AFL grand final in 33 years.
The two normally authoritative figures both sounded slightly bewildered after a gallant Saints comeback and wasteful Magpies kicking conspired to leave them tied, Collingwood 9.14 (68) to St Kilda 10.8 (68), and set to return to the MCG next Saturday.
The gruelling, gripping contest, in front of 100,016 spectators, was the first drawn VFL/AFL grand final since Collingwood-North Melbourne in 1977, when the Magpies fell the following week, while Melbourne and Essendon staged the only other in 1948.
Remarkably, the Saints and Magpies have now met twice in grand finals, and both have been decided by a wobbly St Kilda kick which registered a behind as the last score of the contest.
In 1966, it was Barry Breen as St Kilda won by a point to gain their sole premiership, while on Saturday it was midfielder Lenny Hayes, whose long, scrambled kick bounced through to level the scores with 90 seconds remaining.
The Saints entered the match as underdogs and trailed by 24 points at half-time, so will carry momentum and perhaps a mental boost into next Saturday's sequel.
But Lyon said from his point of view, there was never any underdog status to shrug off.
"I never really concurred with that, we're a group that lost six games for the year and we're a very proud group," he said.
"We think our football stands up - we knew it was going to be tough, but we know our best is good enough."
He said the result threw up a maelstrom of feelings.
"Numbness and a whole range of emotions - frustration, anger, relief," he said.
Malthouse was in a similarly mixed emotional state.
"I can't even answer, I guess that you're still alive means that you haven't lost, but you've got to play again so it means that you haven't won, so it doesn't answer it, but I can't answer it any better than that," he said.
Lyon said it was now about getting back on the weekly "treadmill" and preparing as best they could, while Malthouse aimed to quickly restore a "sense of normality, which is obviously going to be very difficult".
Those issues would not have arisen had the Magpies not wasted numerous opportunities.
They made a flying start, ruckman Darren Jolly goaling after 20 seconds, as Collingwood kicked four goals to one in the first 13 minutes.
St Kilda fought back to trail by a goal at the first change, but the Magpies frittered away chances in the second quarter, with 3.6 to 1.0 - the inaccuracy that has been their one flaw all season again surfacing, with Travis Cloke spraying two sitters before half-time.
They still held a handy 24-point lead at the main break, made more useful by a leg injury which sidelined Saints ruckman Michael Gardiner.
But the misses kept coming for the Magpies - 0.5 in the third term - as St Kilda's Justin Koschitzke battled hard in the ruck and midfielders Brendon Goddard and Norm Smith Medal-winner Hayes lifted their side into the contest.
A big Goddard pack mark and goal helped the Saints to within eight points at the last change, before he produced an even bigger screamer to put his side in front for the first time nearing time-on in the final term.
Six minutes earlier, Hayes had pumped through an inspirational goal from outside 50 metres.
But the Magpies fought back after Goddard's goal, a rushed behind and a Cloke snapped goal creating a one-point lead, before Hayes' tumbling long kick bounced through.
Collingwood could regain veteran defender Simon Prestigiacomo, a late withdrawal with groin tightness, for the replay, while Gardiner will be in serious doubt for the Saints.
St Kilda captain Riewoldt, who kicked two goals on Saturday, said the Saints need simply to re-focus in the coming week.
"It's bizarre, to be honest - it's a very unique situation," he said.
"None of us really have the manual on what to do in this situation, so pretty much now we just get back to our preparation.
"Every game of footy is a mental challenge. It's a mental challenge to get up the first time, and it's going to be a mental challenge next week as well."