It's official. Tom Boyd's critics have to put a sock in it
Photo Source: Getty Images
Tom Boyd (Western Bulldogs)
The Dogs' expensive signing has copped plenty in his short time at the club, but shut all his knockers up for good with a brilliant display in the biggest game of his career to top off his outstanding finals series. After he and his side started nervously, Boyd settled in to the task and took control, clunking contested marks, holding his own in the ruck and kicking three big goals, including one late in the final quarter from a long way out which took the right bounce and finally broke the Swans' resistance.
Jason Johannisen (Western Bulldogs)
The Norm Smith Medal winner opened the game on fire, gathering 10 key possessions in the first quarter and drove his side forward all day with crucial run off half back, even if he did occasionally kick without a lot of accuracy. In all Johannisen collected 33 touches, including seven rebounds out of 50 and put the ball inside the Dogs' attacking 50 nine times to earn best-afield honours.
Liam Picken (Western Bulldogs)
Picken's shift forward from being a tagger has given his side extra potency plus defensive pressure in attack, with his contested marking and hardness at the ball and opponent featuring throughout the finals series. He had a great game in the big one, but his last quarter was simply sensational. He was inspired when the match was up for grabs, took a wonderful hanger and, fittingly, kicked the final goal to seal the match. Very stiff not to get the Norm Smith Medal, which, by the way, could also easily have gone to either Boyd or Dale Morris.
Josh Kennedy (Sydney)
Played one of the best halves ever seen in a grand final with 22 touches and two goals before the main break to give his side the edge. He wasn't quite able to produce the same in the second half, but still was easily his team's best player, finishing with 34 disposals and three goals.
Luke Beveridge (Western Bulldogs)
Apart from his brilliant job of coaching his team to victory, including the winning move of Picken onto Dane Rampe, Beveridge showed what team sport is all about when he called injured Dogs captain Bob Murphy up onto the dais post-siren and gave him his own premiership medal, saying: "This is yours mate; you deserve it more than anyone." It was one of the moments of the day, or perhaps the football year.
The Swans' decision to risk both Callum Mills and Jarrad McVeigh a fortnight after they looked to have sustained season-ending soft-tissue injuries backfired, with neither player having much of an influence. You have to seriously doubt whether both were even close to 100 per cent fit, and in a game which for all but the last five minutes could have gone either way, having a couple of fitter soldiers out on the field late might well have made a difference.
Who were your heroes and goats of the grand final? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Follow SportsFan on Twitter: @sportsfan_live
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of SportsFan.