Jordan De Goey shared an emotional moment with his terminally ill grandmother after Collingwood’s epic AFL final win over Brisbane on Saturday.
After hugging his family in the victorious Magpies’ rooms following the four-point thriller, the Pies midfielder removed his medal from his neck and placed it around that of his grandmother Elisabeth, who is fighting a losing battle with cancer.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Jordan De Goey dedicates Premiership medal to his grandma.
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De Goey’s parents Roger and Lee, as well as his sisters and grandmother shared a wonderful family hug after the Collingwood talisman came full circle in the most tumultuous 18 months of his career.
The explosive Bull appeared to have all but disappeared from Collingwood after he was suspended for an ill-fated mid-season trip to Bali and lured St Kilda into the fold with a lucrative deal late last year.
But the 27-year-old, always supported by coach Craig McRae, stayed true to his black and white roots and delivered the best season of his career in what is now the Pies’ Premiership year.
De Goey said it was the best moment of his life to share the triumph with his family and especially with his widowed grandmother.
“Unfortunately she has terminal cancer, so this will be the last game for her,” De Goey said News Corp.
“It means a lot to me to have her here.”
As he placed the medal around his grandmother’s neck, De Goey simply said: “She’s the best.”
De Goey was once again instrumental in the Pies’ victory, leading another masterclass from the kings of tight finishing.
He scored two goals from his 18 disposals, including the crucial one that regained the lead in the closing stages of the final quarter after Charlie Cameron had just given the Lions a buffer.
As did his contemporaries in midfield and experienced stars Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom.
At the MCG Oven on Saturday, Pendlebury and Sidebottom delivered as they often do in their second premierships.
Pendlebury put in a tremendous performance, particularly in the hectic second half, directing his teammates and setting up the game.
Tellingly, his free throw midway through the final quarter fell to De Goey, who scored the goal that put Collingwood back in the lead.
Sidebottom scored the goal two minutes later – a 50-yard bomb – to seal the win, and he was on the wing all day.
It was thought the 29°C temperature could be beneficial for Brisbane.
Certainly in Pendleburys’ 383rd game and Sidebottom’s 309th game the two most experienced players on the ground could run out of legs.
Instead, they became more and more important as the game progressed.
“Pendles’ last quarter was something different and his composure when everything else started to tire,” said coach Craig McRae.
“The organization – if we go behind with five minutes to go, we flip a switch and go into a phase of our ball movement where we take more risks, and he just orchestrates it.”
“You can’t buy experience on the big final day. These two in particular were notable for our group.”
McRae added that Pendlebury had set three personal bests in the gym at 35 in the last three weeks.
“It’s about getting better every day. Our oldest player is getting better every day and he is an incredible role model for the rest of us,” said McRae.
Obviously, in a grand final decided by less than one goal, the crucial moments mattered.
Collingwood, now known for its poise in close games, was better when it mattered most.
“Ultimately it was incredible moment management,” McRae said.
But they did their best to screw it up, scoring 12.18 points while Brisbane scored 13.8 points.
Brisbane coach Chris Fagan lamented Collingwood’s ability to score when it mattered most, particularly after the siren at the end of the first and second quarters.
Then, towards the end of the third period, Norm Smith Medalist Bobby Hill fired on goal after Collingwood had put up five putbacks in the quarter.
Instead, he passed the ball narrowly to Pendlebury – who of course scored a goal to put them back in front.
Hill was crucial, his four goals in the first half providing the attitude Collingwood desperately needed.
“He was on fire, wasn’t he? He’s done a great job,” Fagan said of the Magpies’ small forward.
Brandon Starcevich went at him at halftime and Hill didn’t score another goal, but his contribution was huge.
McRae noted that Hill benefited from Collingwood balancing his ball movement, particularly in attack, after scoring just 17 goals in total in the last two finals.
“Obviously we moved the ball differently and that was the whole theme of the week – let’s not do what we did the week before,” he said.
“(Bobby) had the same patterns last week and we just didn’t do it for him. He was there waiting for it.”
Not surprisingly, Collingwood had 57 points within 50 seconds to 43. But more importantly, they beat Brisbane 72-53.
The pressure from the Magpies was relentless and in the end that and experience made the difference.
– With AAP