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Dramatic win for Pies

Date

Jake Niall

The spoiler: Magpie defender Ben Reid upsets a marking attempt by Tom Hawkins.

The spoiler: Magpie defender Ben Reid upsets a marking attempt by Tom Hawkins. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

COLLINGWOOD 3.6 7.9 10.11 14.12 (96) GEELONG 2.4 6.6 7.12 11.18 (84)
GOALS Collingwood Pendlebury 4, Fasolo 3, Cloke 2, Goldsack 2, Dawes, Swan, Blair. Geelong Stokes 3, Podsiadly 2, Duncan 2, Hawkins 2, Chapman, Motlop.
BEST Collingwood: Pendlebury, Sidebottom, Reid, Beams, Swan, Fasolo. Geelong: Selwood, Enright, Chapman, Bartel, Johnson, Taylor.
INJURIES Collingwood: Swan (hamstring), Reid (thigh). Geelong: Scarlett (ankle) replaced in selected team by Smedts.
UMPIRES Stevic, Meredith, Findlay.
CROWD 75,650 at MCG.

IT WASN'T the grand final replay in any sense. Whereas the 2011 finale featured three scintillating quarters and a final quarter rout by the Cats, this match was a low-standard contest that ended with a dramatic victory by the team that was vanquished in that one day in October.

In a match in which scores were level with barely more than minute remaining, a slumping Collingwood summoned a final effort to outlast a persistent Geelong by 12 points. A goal to Alex Fasolo from a contentious 50 metre penalty broke the deadlock, before Scott Pendlebury - superb throughout with four goals - booted a long shot after the Pies broke into space from the subsequent centre bounce.

Geelong's Josh Hunt was the player who infringed when Fasolo marked about 75 metres from goal. Fasolo waved the ball as if he was set to play on, prompting Hunt to grab him - an instinctive reaction, and one that had a huge bearing on the outcome.

A Mathew Stokes goal with one minute and 42 seconds left had levelled the scores, as Geelong completely dominated the final 15 minutes, locking the ball in its forward half. Collingwood was dead on its legs, having lost Dane Swan and Ben Reid to injuries that kept them from the field for most of the final quarter and which could have major ramifications for next week, when the Pies play Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.

Then Fasolo booted the decisive goal from that 50-metre penalty, Pendlebury's long shot sailed through from outside 50 and the Pies were assured of a significant victory that gives them a 6-2 record and keeps them well in the hunt for a top-four berth.

Geelong's inability to convert was the most important factor in its demise. The Cats booted 4.6 in the final term, despite dominating possession and territory. The toil of Joel Selwood, Jimmy Bartel, Paul Chapman et al was ultimately undone by either shoddy finishing or poor disposal under pressure, albeit the tired bodies played a part.

Collingwood was stout in defending in the final frenzy, particularly given that Reid had been among its best players and had decisively beaten Hawkins - another reversal from the grand final. So, Collingwood, which had appeared to be sailing towards a comfortable victory when it led by four goals, almost turned into yet another great escape by the Cats.

The Pies became nervous and lost the run that had given them the edge for most of the second half. The Pies were on the brink of a disaster, since the loss of Swan and Reid reduced their bench to one - they had already subbed Alan Didak out of the game.

Earlier, Collingwood had been on the brink of busting the game open in the early stages of the third quarter, when a brace of goals to Tyson Goldsack, Fasolo and then Jarryd Blair turned an even contest into an advantage of 20 points. One sensed then that one more goal might sink the Cats who, despite their un-Geelong-like propensity to cough up the ball - by foot and hand - gritted its teeth and raised an effort, as the old hands of Selwood, Bartel, Corey and Chapman became more involved

Alas, Geelong of 2012 isn't as polished as the 2007-2011 versions. In the third term, the Cats had several opportunities to bring themselves back within two kicks, but either couldn't nail the shot or stuffed up by giving the ball off to a teammate in a worse position.

The first half resembled the grand final only in that the scores - Collingwood leading by a kick and a half - were similar. While the grand final of 2011 was three quarters of a classic, in terms of standard, this was quite a few notches below that level.

Turnovers were more frequent than we have become accustomed to from these two proud clubs. There were fumbles and some flat-out poor decisions, including from high-level players such as Heath Shaw, who set the tone for what was to follow when an ill-advised switch of play was superbly smothered by Hawkins, who goaled from the spillage.

Cameron Guthrie's errant kick was marked by Goldsack about 57 metres from goal. Revitalised in his new role as third tall/defensive forward, rather than in defence, Goldsack unloaded a bomb that sailed through.

Amid the scrappy errors and bumbling, Pendlebury stood apart.

Collingwood's classiest midfielder wasn't as prolific as he is wont to be, but his ball use was well above the match standard and he booted three classy goals.

THE REMATCH

Ben Reid got a chance to make amends after struggling against Tom Hawkins while injured in last year's grand final. It was a good battle throughout, with Hawkins finishing with 2.4 — and Reid off with more injury concerns.

THE INJURIES

Geelong's injury worries came before the match — Matthew Scarlett pulling out because of an ankle injury. Collingwood's came during the game. Apart from Reid's concerns, Scott Pendlebury needed treatment for a leg concern, but came back on and kicked the final goal of the match. Dane Swan was missed in the last quarter after heading off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.

BIG PENALTY

Geelong had peppered away in the final quarter and finally managed to get back to level terms when Josh Hunt grabbed Magpie Alex Fasolo after a mark, leading to a 50-metre penalty and a matchwinning goal from Fasolo.

SPINNING AROUND

Last week it was Todd Goldstein in the goal square, spinning like a top in a tackle from Dylan Addison, the ball missing his foot and it was play on. Last night it was Tom Hawkins who was tackled by Ben Reid as he shaped to kick and was spun into a full pirouette and it was play on.

STORMY NIGHT

The best coach in football was sitting in the Collingwood coach's box last night - Craig Bellamy, the Melbourne Storm coach, was in the box wearing the full team regalia. He has apparently spent the week with the Magpies.

THE POINT OF IT ALL

The drama is one thing but an interminable couple of minutes were lost while awaiting a video review of whether a ball was out on the full or a point. It swung so wildly from inside to out, and so high, that the hapless umpires had no idea. The man on the video had little more. The probably-correct decision was eventually reached. - MICHAEL GLEESON

17 comments

  • What moron appointed Matt Stevic to umpire a Geelong game again? Stevic is the Same fool that cost the cats the 2010 final against st Kilda; and he still at it. Just a stupid decision to involve a hopeless umpire.

    Commenter
    Jim
    Location
    Melb
    Date and time
    May 19, 2012, 10:15AM
    • Obviously tackling Hawkins is different to tackling James Gwilt too. An almost replica tackle in the back of Hawkins in the 2nd qtr as that by Mooney on Gwilt in 2010 - and its called play on advantage. Collingwood goal. Hawkins shunted in the back in the tackle - no turning tackle at all.

      Commenter
      JRM
      Date and time
      May 19, 2012, 10:47AM
  • Geelong supporters can say what you want but that 50 meter penalty was definitely there (I dont support either team). The umpire had not called play on so the impeding was a delaying tactic

    Commenter
    Spudda
    Date and time
    May 19, 2012, 10:21AM
    • He hadn't called play on. True. But was he really impeded ? Hardly.

      Commenter
      Jack
      Date and time
      May 19, 2012, 10:48AM
  • Hmmmmm, "Fasolo waved the ball as if he was set to play on" is just a little politically correct.... He did more that wave the ball, he moved through the mark, he played on....

    Commenter
    Temerity
    Date and time
    May 19, 2012, 10:25AM
    • Fasolo did not move off the mark and play on, Temerity. It was a textbook 50m penalty, fair and square. The only reason Geelong got back into the game was because of the umpiring.

      Commenter
      Tinfoil Pie
      Date and time
      May 19, 2012, 10:44AM
  • I just KNEW there would be anti-Collingwood analysis of that Fasolo decision. Never mind the 2 soft 50s given to Geelong in the minutes preceding, nor several other contentious decisions. The fact remains that Fasolo was still on his mark. It was a technically correct decision.

    Commenter
    Scott
    Location
    Tasmania
    Date and time
    May 19, 2012, 10:52AM
    • Yes, the Fasolo 50 was technically there. However, Thomas punches the ball over the fence (an automatic 50 metre penalty) and the umpire adds his own interpretation adding that the ball did not go 10 rows back so will not pay the 50! At a crucial point of the last quarter - I think all we ask is for consistency. I am a Geelong supporter and was at the match, I do not think we deserved to win - but neither did Collingwood. Poor skills from both sides, Pies should have buried us in the first quarter and half but for poor kicking. Geelong should have won in the last but for poor kicking - bad kicking = bad football. Umpiring for both sides was ordinary.

      Commenter
      Andrew
      Date and time
      May 19, 2012, 11:27AM
  • Pies were very very lucky to win!

    Commenter
    Lucky Pies
    Location
    Melb
    Date and time
    May 19, 2012, 11:10AM
    • youre dreamin mate the pies responded as good sides ...cats were behind for 100% of the game so how were the pies lucky to win

      Commenter
      Stav
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 19, 2012, 2:10PM

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