Dennis Cometti: Best grand final yet?
Dennis Cometti: Best grand final yet?

Few grand finals, if any, have been better.

That's not to say others haven't been closer or equally suspenseful but it was the ebb and flow of Saturday's game that sets it apart for me.

There were numerous times I felt I knew the winner only to find within minutes, things had gone in a completely unexpected direction.

That's rare but in this grand final it was the essence of the contest.

Sydney may have raised the bar on mental toughness.

Their response to those aforementioned radical and constant changes was stunning.

They just gritted their teeth and worked harder.

Players like O'Keefe, Kennedy, Hannabery, McVeigh and Roberts-Thompson et al played with a passion I've rarely seen across an entire team.

Those alternate scoreboards I've talked about so often this season got trotted out yet again immediately after the game.

Inside 50s, clearances, contested possession all came down on the side of the Hawks. Some took that to mean the Premiership was, as one headline writer put it, 'One that got away'.

Stats are beginning to blind football clubs. If nothing else they're always embedded in the past. At best looking back might highlight tendencies but clubs who cite stats as the major predictor of victory against quality sides are kidding themselves.

Quite often the opposite is true (look no further than the second quarter on Saturday) when the print outs are telling coaches something that is surely contradicted by their own eyes. Yet they stay pat.

More to the point fewer minutes mulling over pre-game stats in exchange for a little more goal kicking practice (a constant problem) might have been a wise trade at Hawthorn.

But as terrific as the Swans were on Saturday I thought the best player on the ground played for Hawthorn.

I notice the Chairman of the Norm Smith Medal panel, Brett Ratten, shared my view.

He voted for Brad Sewell. I would have to. His game was a Jewell, lost in defeat.

The West Australian

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