Magpie Steele Sidebottom celebrates after kicking a goal. Photo: Getty Images
COLLINGWOOD 5.0 7.3 11.4 17.7 (109) WEST COAST 5.2 9.5 11.10 15.11 (101)
Goals: Collingwood: J Blair 3 D Beams 2 J Elliott 2 A Fasolo B Grundy B Macaffer J White J Witts L Ball S Pendlebury S Sidebottom T Cloke T Goldsack. West Coast: J Cripps 3 D Cox 2 J Hill 2 M Priddis 2 S Hurn 2 E Yeo J Darling J Kennedy S Wellingham.
Best - COLLINGWOOD: Pendlebury,. Beams, Lumumba, Sidebottom, Macaffer, Maxwell. WEST COAST: Priddis, Gaff, Mackenzie, Selwood, Masten, Naitanui.
Umpires: Chris Kamolins, Brett Rosebury, David Harris.
Official Crowd: 53,049 at MCG.
This game had everything. Free-flowing football. Plenty of scoring. Spectacular individual efforts. Important cameos. Controversy. And importantly as far as the black-and-white hordes desperate for their side to remain within striking distance of the top four were concerned, the right result.
It took a super effort from Collingwood, mind you, not only down two key defenders for the entire second half after losing Nathan Brown then Jack Frost, but up against a West Coast side which had returned to form.
AFL Round 10 Collingwood vs West Coast Eagles at the MCG.
AFL Round 10 Collingwood 17-7-109 Defeated West Coast Eagles 15-11-101 by 8 points at the MCG. Photo: Getty images
- Q4 32:38
|View Match Statistics|
|Players||Blair (3.1), Beams (2.1), Elliott (2.0), Cloke (1.1), Fasolo (1.1), Grundy (1.1), Sidebottom (1.1), Ball (1.0), Goldsack (1.0), Macaffer (1.0), Pendlebury (1.0), White (1.0), Witts (1.0)||Scorers||Cripps (3.1), Cox (2.1), Priddis (2.1), Hill (2.0), Hurn (2.0), Kennedy (1.3), Darling (1.1), Wellingham (1.1), Yeo (1.1), Shuey (0.1)|
It took 10 changes of lead, a six-goal final term, and the cream of the Collingwood camp rising to the top when it mattered most, skipper Scott Pendlebury, Dayne Beams, Steele Sidebottom and Dane Swan all finding another gear after West Coast had crept out to a 17-point lead. It was only when Travis Cloke, hardly sighted all day, latched on to a quick kick and converted from 20 metres out with under three minutes left on the clock, that this gripping tussle was finally settled.
The Eagles had finished with 15 more inside 50s, more clearances and more contested possessions, but not the match points. Not much consolation for coach Adam Simpson, but purely in terms of effort, this was a better performance than even some of West Coast’s previous victories.
And it was that way almost from the first bounce. The first quarter had to be one of the most entertaining played this season. Too open, perhaps, for either coach’s liking, but for fans a treat, the play fast and continuous and 10 goals scored, a rarity these days.
Mind you, for the first five minutes, you would have had your money on Collingwood scoring a high percentage of those 10. That was after Jesse White had kicked the Pies’ first after only 40 seconds, Tyson Goldsack the second within three minutes, Scott Pendlebury having had far too long to calmly pop a little chip pass up to within 20 metres of goal.
That West Coast managed to go to the first break not only in striking distance, but in front, was due in no small part to their efforts of their midfield workhorse Matt Priddis. It was he who had the Eagles first on the board from a free kick and 50 metres. Then came a great snap from Elliot Yeo, and a welcome gift from the Pies after Alex Fasolo’s kick-in from a point was intercepted by Dean Cox.
Collingwood’s counter punch was swift, Jarryd Blair goalling on the run with a lovely checkside kick, Jarrod Witts’ gather below his knees and turn on to his left foot given his 209 centimetres even more impressive. Not to be outdone, former Pie Sharrod Wellingham spun out of pack and dobbed a reply, before Dayne Beams and Jamie Cripps traded goals.
The Magpies had more issues at the break, Nathan Brown, having only just returned from a shoulder injury, landing awkwardly in a marking contest and subbed out for Clinton Young. And by half-time, there were even more concerns on the scoreboard.
With Priddis on fire, Matt Rosa and Scott Selwood almost as conspicuous and Brad Sheppard cleaning up everything as a spare man in defence, the Eagles went into the long break with a 14-point lead with the last three goals of the second quarter, Josh Hill slotting one on the run, Shannon Hurn letting loose with a bomb from 55 metres and Cripps the beneficiary of hanging back off a pack for the spills and resultant open goal.
For Collingwood, Brent Macaffer was doing a great job in quietening Luke Shuey, Heritier Lumumba was Sheppard’s equivalent, and Steele Sidebottom busy as ever, but Cloke had just two disposals and a mark the sum total of his game.
Again, however, the side seemingly on the ropes was able to hit back, the Pies, in a repeat of the game’s opening, booting two in quick succession before the Eagles knew what was going on. The Eagles had their turn when Priddis courageously camped under a high ball and Hill got his second, but the Pies had reorganised their structure with effect, with Goldsack going back and Fasolo forward. It paid dividends when Fasolo snapped a ripper, and it was back to a goal the difference when Sidebottom converted some crumbs.
It was all happening, Dean Cox hitting the post, Nic Naitanui hitting his head after an amazing but fruitless leap, Andrew Gaff working hard to twice save his team from what seemed certain goals. And so it continued, the Pies in front at the final bell, the Eagles at least losing no friends. If only all football nowadays was like this.