AFL Grand Final PreviewIT’S Grand Final fortnight and we kick things off with the AFL’s big day – Collingwood vs. St. Kilda. Thanks to our friends at Fox Sports, we caught up with former Geelong superstar Dwayne Russell to preview the game.

Is this the best possible option out of the teams that made the finals?
Given the way Collingwood demolished Geelong early in their preliminary final, this may prove to be the best match-up for a close grand final.

It has the most highly supported team in the competition (Collingwood) against one of footballs most failed (St Kilda), which adds immense weight to the whole week. It also has a fairytale aspect since St Kilda has only won one premiership, in 1966, beating Collingwood by one point.

What would’ve St. Kilda taken out of their loss to Geelong last year, and how will affect them this time?
Almost every St Kilda player has been on the big grand final stage, which is an advantage, and the pain of last year will be a motivating factor. But Collingwood play in front of massive crowds most weeks, and their preliminary final failures in recent times will have them just as motivated.

How much confidence do Collingwood bring into the game after last week?
Collingwood is threatening to become the new powerhouse team, and by thrashing Geelong, they confirmed many peoples fears. But it all amounts to nothing if they lose on Saturday.
You were injured and couldn’t play in the 1989 Grand Final, but what was the feeling around the club and players like going into the game?
Few people understand the impact it had on a very unique one team town. The emotion and the pride of the entire city was on the line. It was bigger than just a football club moment. That is why Geelongs 2007 premiership was arguably the most important thing that has ever happened to the city.

Who from the opposition do both teams need to focus on to secure the victory?
St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt is the key to the game. St Kilda cannot win if he fails and Collingwood know it. Collingwood has a more even spread of stars, but Dane Swan and Alan Didak must be stopped by the Saints.

What is each team’s biggest strength and weakness?
Nick Riewoldt, and the ability to play a strangling style of game, and an attacking style when it suits, is St Kilda’s strength. But they do fall away in quality when it comes to their 20th, 21st and 22nd player on their line-up. Evenness is Collingwood’s strength, but the lack of a superstar power forward could be their downfall.

How do you think things are going to go down?
Saints to win by a goal or two if Riewoldt can kick 5 or 6 goals, which I think he will. Collingwood to win if Riewoldt only kicks two or three.

Dwayne will host AFL Winners on Monday September 27 at 9.30pm on FOX SPORTS 1, which will cover off all 185 matches of the 2010 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.