The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORT -

WEST Coast spoiled the premier­ship party Colling­wood fans had dreamt of, but helped de­liver one of the great­est grand fi­nals in AFL history.

The premier­ship cup is go­ing west for the first time since 2006, af­ter the Ea­gles crushed Colling­wood’s hopes in a nail- biting tri­umph.

Thou­sands of West Coast fans were last night do­ing the ‘ Ea­gle Rock’ in the streets of Mel­bourne’s CBD and toast­ing their club’s fourth flag.

Norm Smith medal­list Luke Shuey thanked Ea­gles fans and paid spe­cial trib­ute to the Pies’ ef­forts.

“To the Colling­wood footy club, Nathan Buck­ley, Scott Pendle­bury, you guys are a won­der­ful or­gan­i­sa­tion,” he said. “Against a lot of ad­ver­sity this year you made it to the big stage and you de­served the op­por­tu­nity to be here.

“I’m sure you’re go­ing to be here over the years to come.”

Af­ter ris­ing from 13th last sea­son to the brink of glory, Pies play­ers and fans vowed to re­turn big­ger and stronger.

Skip­per Pendle­bury said the loss “hurts so much be­cause we were so close. The rea­son it hurts is be­cause we put our­selves on the line for the ul­ti­mate’’. He added: “We’ve got to use this now and drive it through pre- sea­son, but at the mo­ment it’s just ‘ Stay to­gether’.”

Vice- cap­tain Tay­lor Adams said what many loyal fans were think­ing.

“I’m proud of the club,” he said. “We will bounce back.”

Colling­wood pres­i­dent Ed­die McGuire hailed the ef­forts of his Pies.

“We’re dis­ap­pointed we didn’t win. We’re ex­tremely proud of what we’ve done. We have a great spring­board to launch from for the fu­ture,” he said.

“So we take the pos­i­tives and we walk away. I look at the game and I don’t think there are too many neg­a­tives, to be hon­est … the Ea­gles were a lit­tle bit more sen­sa­tional.”

Sur­rounded by play­ers in tears in the Colling­wood rooms af­ter the match, McGuir e said they and their sup­port­ers should walk away with their heads held high. He said he was “ex­tremely proud — there is no bit­ter­ness, no wal­low­ing. We will pick up the pieces and go again”.

Be­fore step­ping into the West Coast rooms to con­grat­u­late the victors, McGuire added: “They got us by less than a kick, but they got us and they de­served it.”

In front of 100,022 fans, Dom Sheed be­came an un­likely hero for West Coast with a late goal to seal the win. The 23- year- old left- footer said he

West Coast’s Dom Sheed cel­e­brates af­terkick­ing the win­ning goalyes­ter­day. Pic­ture: PhilHill­yard

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