COLLINGWOOD 2.3 5.5 7.7 11.9 (75) GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 3.4 6.6 8.11 9.13 (67)
GOALS Collingwood: Thomas 3, White 2, Broomhead 2, Sinclair, Blair, Williams, Sidebottom. Greater Western Sydney: Smith 2, Hunt, Whiley, Palmer, Boyd, Bugg, Greene, Hoskin-Elliott.
BEST Collingwood: Pendlebury, Thomas, Broomhead, Williams, Ball. GWS: Greene, Mumford, Kelly, Bugg, Smith
UMPIRES Donlon, Hosking, Fisher.
CROWD 10,851 at Spotless Stadium.
Leon Cameron said during the week Collingwood were at their best with their backs to the wall, and he was proven right on Saturday night.
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Collingwood has come from behind to keep its finals hopes alive with an eight-point win over the GWS Giants at Spotless Stadium.
With one of their most undermanned sides of recent years, the Magpies produced one of the most remarkable victories of the season to keep their faint finals hopes alive for one more week.
Believe it or not, the Magpies are in the eight and still have a pulse, on a night where their injury problems reached crisis point.
Already without 10 of their best 22, the Magpies lost Clinton Young, Dane Swan and Brent Macaffer, most probably all to season-ending injuries, but won a match they had no right to win.
In a battle between two sides depleted by injury, it seemed the club with nothing to play for would prevail over the side playing for a September berth.
It may all yet prove to be for naught for the Pies but at the very least their unheralded youngsters showed their supporters the future is still bright despite the doom which had descended upon the club in recent weeks.
The Magpies did not find the lead until 22 minutes into the final term but once they hit the front they were determined to stay there.
While they were ably led by Scott Pendlebury and Luke Ball, it was Josh Thomas, with three goals, Tim Broomhead and Marley Williams who answered their club's call.
For the Giants, this was a lost opportunity - a game they should have won but found a way to lose.
They controlled the game for much of the night and led by as much as 21 points in the second term.
At one stage, the inexperienced Magpies defence, through a lack of know how more than any lack of effort, could not find a way out of their back half.
Inevitably, the Giants conjured a goal, through Tom Boyd, who marked strongly on the lead. They were gifted another minutes later when Jarrod Witts and Tyson Goldsack spoilt each other deep in defence, allowing Josh Hunt an uncontested crumb.
The Magpies now had every reason to roll over. They lost Clint Young to a hamstring strain and Dane Swan later in the quarter but, against the flow, jagged two goals in the last two minutes before half time to bridge the gap to seven points.
The Pies were down to just one fit man on the bench a minute into the third quarter when Brent Macaffer's right knee buckled but, defying logic, then enjoyed their best period of the match.
For about 15 minutes, the Magpies asked some tough questions of the Giants defence but, with Travis Cloke and Ben Reid missing, produced just one goal for their dominance.
But the Giants' ability to hang tough for longer has been one of the reasons why they are no longer considered the easybeats of the competition.
Their perseverance was rewarded with back-to-back goals entering time on to the impressive Toby Greene, the game's best on-baller, and Rhys Palmer.
Logic said the Giants would now kick away but the whiff of September, however faint, proved intoxicating for the Magpies, who kicked the last goal of the third and the first one of the last term to pull within three points.
After hitting the wood work twice, the Giants appeared to have the game iced when Will Hoskin-Elliott scored a goal from 50 but it was not the case.