JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Heart-stopper

Date

Greg Baum

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Blair's winning goal off his hand?

We can't decide, so you be the judge. Was Jarryd Blair's goal good or not?

PT0M0S 620 349

COLLINGWOOD 2.4 5.6 9.8 11.14(80) ESSENDON 1.3 3.6 7.8 11.13(79)
GOALS Collingwood: Swan 3, Cloke 3, Blair 2, Beams, Jolly, Sidebottom. Essendon: Davey 3, Zaharakis 2, Monfries, Howlett, Stanton, Dell’Olio, Hocking, Lonergan.
BEST Collingwood: Swan, Pendlebury, Johnson, Clarke, Beams, Sidebottom, Maxwell. Essendon: Zaharakis, Heppell, Fletcher, Howlett, Lonergan, Watson, Dyson.
INJURIES Essendon: Hibberd (hamstring).
UMPIRES Donlon, Stevic, Meredith.
CROWD: 86,932 at MCG.

SEVENTEEN years after Collingwood and Essendon drew in what - with a little licence - is called the start of the Anzac Day footy tradition, they played themselves to an epic standstill again.

It came down to a slip and a slide. The slip was Lachlan Keeffe's as the ball took a perverse bounce at one end, allowing Brent Stanton to snap what looked to be the winning goal for Essendon.

Eyes on the prize: Dustin Fletcher (left) tangles with Anzac Medal winner Dane Swan yesterday.

Eyes on the prize: Dustin Fletcher (left) tangles with Anzac Medal winner Dane Swan yesterday. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Two minutes and two seconds remained. Essendon tried to despatch bodies back, but heavy legs got only halfway. The ball spilled to the back of a pack in the Collingwood goal square and Jarryd Blair slid in to toe-poke it across the line. It was such a near thing that the umpires called for a video review, escalating the already unbearable tension.

One minute 20 remained, a mini eternity. Incident and accident filled it, until at last the ball fell into the hands of Dane Swan, who paused as long as he dared before taking the last kick of the match. It was his 42nd disposal. Unanimously, he was awarded the Anzac Medal.

''We tag Swan, and [Scott] Pendlebury wins the medal. We tag Pendlebury, and Swan wins,'' said Essendon coach James Hird, himself a three-time winner. It was ungrudging tribute.

Flags fly at the MCG. Click for more photos

Anzac Day clash: Collingwood vs Essendon

Collingwood plays Essendon in the traditional Anzac Day clash at the MCG. Photo: Pat Scala

Afterwards, neither recollection nor composure came easily. Footy-speak was forgotten. ''Awesome game,'' said Swan. ''Cracking game of footy,'' said Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley, whose exploits as a player also are part of the legend of this fixture. ''Very proud,'' said Hird, ''and very disappointed.''

To Collingwood, straitened by injury, it felt like an epic win. For Essendon, also decimated, and further reduced by another soft-tissue injury, victory would have been no less heroic. That was the scale of it. Both sides were playing on four-day breaks, easily overlooked in a contest as rugged and willing as any this season. Never was there time, room or the least inclination for a short step. Between them, they laid 176 tackles. This was just round five, a preliminary to the preliminaries.

The low and glowering cloud, the abiding commemoration of the Anzacs and the edge-of-the-seat engagement of a crowd of almost 87,000 amplified the gravitas. At the start, the minute's silence was so complete that the flapping of the flags at half-mast atop the scoreboard could be heard. At end, nothing could. ''I thought I heard the siren three times,'' said Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell.

Three players personified the day. One was Swan, latterly down on form, but yesterday back to his trampling best. ''Hopefully, this is just an ordinary game and I can get better,'' he said with a smirk. His personality is like his football, its force disguised by a laconic front. As a personality, his gig is to mock the cult of personality.

Marty Clarke, five games back from two years in Ireland, restricted Stanton to two touches before half-time, and 11 after it. Nathan Brown reappeared after 18 months and two knee injuries to limit Stewart Crameri, a match-winner for Essendon last Saturday, to two lonely kicks.

For the Magpies, this was back to the future, personnel-wise. So was their football; for the first time this season, it had the Malthouse stamp again. The truth about premiership teams is they must evolve or die. For Collingwood and its new coach, this verity has been made sharper by injury. Already, this season had become a matter of adapting to new circumstances. It was what made victory yesterday so gratifying.

If this seems rather to undersell Essendon, it is because for long stretches of the day - and statistics notwithstanding - the Bombers looked overmatched. Hird admitted as much. That they kept a foothold in the game, and came within a couple of minutes of winning it, was a credit to the footballing smarts of Alwyn Davey, David Zaharakis and especially Dyson Heppell, but also to a new and steelier resolve in defence.

It meant that in the first half at least, the match was played as a series of lockdowns; whichever side got the ball forward kept it there, but did not necessarily score. Pressure and damp conditions multiplied until it seemed that the ball was alive with voltage. Only at the boundary line did it die.

A slight loosening in the second half worked to Essendon's advantage, and especially Davey's. In such a heart-stopping finish, luck inevitably played as much a role as any other factor; both coaches said so.

At the final siren, both sides looked eight quarters spent. So did the crowd. Keeffe, though, bounded from one knot of players to another, relieved, overjoyed - and seemingly ready to do it all over again.

32 comments

  • An absolute thriller yet again. WA has its derbies and SA has its showdowns. This is Victoria's big game contested by Victoria's biggest teams. Buckley v Hird. I would like to think it puts an end to calls that the Anzac Day fixture be played between lesser teams. But somehow I know the chatter will again begin next year in the lead-up.

    Commenter
    Truman
    Location
    Hawthorn
    Date and time
    April 26, 2012, 12:49AM
    • Well done to both teams. You deserve this day if you play like this.

      Commenter
      BusterH
      Location
      CBD
      Date and time
      April 26, 2012, 1:40AM
      • What a game, a heart stopper. If anyone bags this regardless of what team they follow - then they are not a true follower of the game. Credit to those guys who must have been out on their feet to play it to the end after a 4 day turnaround in such a pace-evolved game these days. Credit to both clubs

        Commenter
        Stealth Hoverer
        Location
        Heaven
        Date and time
        April 26, 2012, 3:27AM
        • Another incredible ANZAC Day clash, further cementing that the idea of taking the game away from these two clubs would be a total joke.
          I find it purely insulting that other clubs want to ride on Collingwood and Essendon's coattails by trying to be apart of this event.
          The AFL is still a business and maybe these other clubs should focus on getting fans through the gates on normal games before they can even think of pinching a blockbuster game off the two clubs who established this tradition.
          Maybe these clubs should attempt their own innovation if they wish to see a decent revenue stream, not just mooch off a tradition that has been established with no effort on their part!

          Commenter
          Whitey
          Date and time
          April 26, 2012, 5:03AM
          • Further Cementing...? - you forgotten that the last six Anzac day matches have been walkovers? Pretty easy to convince yourselfof something you already believe huh? Yeh c'mon all the other clubs stop your whinging- cos' there's just sooo many other public holidays to choose from....maybe giving away a few free memberships might help?

            Commenter
            debagger
            Date and time
            April 26, 2012, 7:38AM
          • Debagger, you forget the 2009 match, where (as a Collingwood supporter) my heart sank as Essendon won the match in the dying seconds.

            Commenter
            Christos
            Date and time
            April 26, 2012, 9:33AM
          • Really Debagger?? Check the facts. In 2006, the margin was 17pts, in 2007 the margin was 16, in 2009 it was 5, and yesterday just the one.

            Commenter
            DJCJ
            Location
            Melbourne
            Date and time
            April 26, 2012, 9:34AM
          • Really teabagger? Easy to convince yourself of something you already believe? Is that hypocrisy or irony?

            Commenter
            Bum McFluff
            Date and time
            April 26, 2012, 10:15AM
          • I think it's quite clear that YOU'RE the one trying to convince themselves of something they already believe. And your comment about clubs giving out free memberships is a great idea, at least in that case they're doing something new with a bit of initiative. Rather than just trying to steal something they know already works.

            Commenter
            Whitey
            Date and time
            April 26, 2012, 10:35AM
          • "ride on Collingwood and Essendon's coattails" You have to laugh at supporters of these clubs really who honestly believe they have the right to get virtually every blockbuster game. It wasn't even Sheedy's idea despite all his bragging about this.
            You're only big clubs because of the free publicity the AFL so gladly gives you.
            Thought the standard of footy was actually pretty poor - a close game doesn't necessarily make it a good game. Essendon were certainly better last Saturday in defeating Carlton who, the week prior, had flogged the Pies.
            As for commentators saying things like they have fought in the spirit of the ANZAC legend - nauseating and quite insulting to those, and their families, who have actually fought in wars.

            Commenter
            Go Blues
            Date and time
            April 26, 2012, 1:30PM

        More comments

        Comments are now closed

        Related Coverage

        Blair's winning goal off his hand? (Thumbnail) Blair's winning goal off his hand?

        We can't decide, so you be the judge. Was Jarryd Blair's goal good or not?

        blzair Anzac Day clash: Collingwood vs Essendon

        Collingwood plays Essendon in the traditional Anzac Day clash at the MCG.

        Too fat, too casual? Swan crushes critics

        It was weight of possession, rather than kilograms, that defined Dane Swan's Anzac Medal-winning game.

        More heroes answer call in Anzac epic

        There can't have been a Pies supporter who wasn't having the worst case of deja vu imaginable with two minutes left to play yesterday.

        Pies no fans of review

        Collingwood beat Essendon on a video review of Jarryd Blair's clinching goal, but coach Nathan Buckley is not happy with the AFL's new system of checking goal umpire's decisions.

        Related Coverage

        AFL 2015

        Round 1
        Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
        CAR 78 vs RIC 105 Report Stats
        Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
        MEL 115 vs GCF 89 Stats
        SYD 72 vs ESS 60 Stats
        BRI 74 vs COL 86 Stats
        WBU 97 vs WCE 87 Stats
        Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
        STK 78 vs GWS 87 Stats
        ADE 140 vs NTH 63 Stats
        FRE 75 vs PTA 68 Stats
        Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
        HAW 123 vs GEE 61 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 2
        Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
        WCE 131 vs CAR 62 Stats
        Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
        RIC 66 vs WBU 85 Report Stats
        GWS 101 vs MEL 56 Stats
        COL 63 vs ADE 90 Report Stats
        GCF 76 vs STK 104 Stats
        PTA 44 vs SYD 92 Stats
        Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
        GEE 60 vs FRE 104 Stats
        ESS 78 vs HAW 76 Stats
        NTH 133 vs BRI 51 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 3
        Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
        COL 140 vs STK 66 Stats
        Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
        CAR 84 vs ESS 105 Stats
        ADE 80 vs MEL 55 Stats
        SYD 111 vs GWS 90 Report Stats
        NTH 105 vs PTA 113 Stats
        BRI 58 vs RIC 137 Stats
        Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
        HAW 127 vs WBU 57 Stats
        GEE 105 vs GCF 96 Stats
        WCE 81 vs FRE 111 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 4
        Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
        RIC 51 vs MEL 83 Stats
        Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
        STK 81 vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
        ESS 49 vs COL 69 Report Stats
        GWS 119 vs GCF 53 Stats
        PTA 99 vs HAW 91 Stats
        FRE 74 vs SYD 60 Stats
        Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
        BRI 65 vs WCE 118 Stats
        GEE 67 vs NTH 83 Stats
        WBU 125 vs ADE 68 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 5
        Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
        CAR 45 vs COL 120 Stats
        Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
        RIC 76 vs GEE 85 Stats
        SYD 73 vs WBU 77 Stats
        GCF 118 vs BRI 54 Stats
        NTH 70 vs HAW 130 Stats
        WCE 120 vs GWS 33 Stats
        Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
        MEL 50 vs FRE 118 Stats
        STK 80 vs ESS 82 Stats
        ADE 91 vs PTA 115 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 6
        Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
        COL 59 vs GEE 100 Stats
        Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
        NTH 109 vs RIC 74 Stats
        WBU 87 vs STK 94 Stats
        GWS 108 vs HAW 98 Stats
        GCF 78 vs ADE 119 Stats
        MEL 50 vs SYD 88 Stats
        FRE 80 vs ESS 52 Stats
        Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
        CAR 75 vs BRI 84 Report Stats
        PTA 68 vs WCE 78 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 7
        Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
        ESS 82 vs NTH 93 Stats
        Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
        ADE 119 vs STK 73 Stats
        HAW 155 vs MEL 50 Stats
        CAR 57 vs GWS 135 Stats
        SYD 120 vs GEE 77 Stats
        WCE 135 vs GCF 43 Stats
        Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
        WBU 88 vs FRE 101 Stats
        RIC 105 vs COL 100 Report Stats
        BRI 102 vs PTA 65 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 8
        Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
        GEE 140 vs CAR 63 Report Stats
        Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
        STK 78 vs WCE 131 Report Stats
        GWS 108 vs ADE 84 Report Stats
        GCF 63 vs COL 132 Report Stats
        HAW 69 vs SYD 73 Report Stats
        FRE 115 vs NTH 42 Report Stats
        Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
        ESS 136 vs BRI 78 Report Stats
        MEL 103 vs WBU 64 Report Stats
        PTA 43 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 9
        Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
        Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
        HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
        MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
        WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
        RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
        ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
        Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
        BRI vs STK 13:10G
        COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
        WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 10
        Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
        FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
        Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
        GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
        ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
        PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
        Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
        GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
        NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
        STK vs HAW 16:40ES
        Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
        MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
        View All Fixtures
        Round 11
        Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
        PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
        Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
        GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
        WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
        NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
        Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
        COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
        STK vs MEL 16:40ES
        View All Fixtures
        Round 12
        Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
        ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
        Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
        RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
        Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
        GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
        WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
        Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
        GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
        View All Fixtures
        Round 13
        Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
        FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
        Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
        Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
        HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
        BRI vs ADE 16:35G
        STK vs WBU 19:20ES
        Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
        View All Fixtures
        Round 14
        Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
        Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
        COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
        Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
        RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
        GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
        WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
        MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
        Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
        ESS vs STK 13:10ES
        ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
        FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 15
        Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
        PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
        Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
        RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
        Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
        ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
        WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
        NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
        WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
        Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
        GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
        HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
        BRI vs SYD 16:40G
        View All Fixtures
        Round 16
        Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
        NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
        Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
        GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
        GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
        COL vs WCE 16:35ES
        SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
        FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
        Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
        MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
        PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
        STK vs RIC 16:40ES
        View All Fixtures
        Round 17
        Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
        CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
        Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
        GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
        ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
        RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
        ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
        BRI vs NTH 19:20G
        Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
        WBU vs COL 13:10ES
        MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
        WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 18
        Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
        HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
        Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
        GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
        COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
        SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
        CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
        GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
        Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
        PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
        ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
        FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 19
        Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
        ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
        Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
        COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
        WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
        BRI vs GCF 16:35G
        GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
        WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
        Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
        MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
        GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
        STK vs FRE 16:40ES
        View All Fixtures
        Round 20
        Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
        Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
        ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
        NTH vs STK 14:10BA
        PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
        GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
        BRI vs CAR 19:20G
        Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
        RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
        WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
        FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 21
        Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
        HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
        Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
        COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
        GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
        GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
        STK vs GEE 19:20ES
        ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
        Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
        NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
        CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
        WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 22
        Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
        GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
        Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
        GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
        HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
        NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
        ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
        GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
        Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
        ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
        STK vs SYD 15:20ES
        FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 23
        Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
        COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
        RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
        HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
        GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
        SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
        MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
        BRI vs WBU 00:00G
        PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
        WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        AFL 2015
        Overall standings
        Team P W L D % Pts
        Fremantle 8 8 0 0 155.29 32
        West Coast Eagles 8 6 2 0 158.17 24
        Sydney Swans 8 6 2 0 127.36 24
        GWS Giants 8 6 2 0 118.87 24
        Collingwood 8 5 3 0 129.90 20
        Adelaide Crows 8 5 3 0 116.32 20
        Hawthorn 8 4 4 0 145.81 16
        Richmond 8 4 4 0 107.64 16
        View all
         
        Featured advertisers