The Collingwood Magpies have defied the odds to secure a gritty one-point victory over the West Coast Eagles in Saturday evening’s elimination final in Perth.
The Eagles had not lost any of their seven matches at Optus Stadium this season, but Collingwood were able to muster the win without stars Steele Sidebottom and Jeremy Howe.
The lead was exchanged eight times during the entertaining contest, with the Magpies narrowly ahead 12.4 (76) to 11.9 (75) when the final siren sounded at Optus Stadium.
After West Coast’s Jack Darling kicked the opening goal of the match, Collingwood tall forward Mason Cox slotted three consecutive goals in a destructive five-minute blitz.
But neither club was able to maintain a considerable lead after the Eagles fought back in the second quarter.
Jack Darling and Josh Kennedy both snared three goals, while Eagles teammate Liam Duggan dominated the midfield with 16 disposals in the first half.
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West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui provided a moment for the highlights reel, jumping on the shoulders of a Pies rival to claim a stunning mark.
— AFL (@AFL) October 3, 2020
Collingwood held a 10-point lead at three quarter time, but Liam Ryan scored a major immediately after the break to reduce the deficit to less than a goal.
The home crowd went berserk when young gun Oscar Allen put the Eagles back in front soon after.
After defender Jeremy McGovern was denied a mark inside West Coast’s defensive 50, Collingwood’s Jordan De Goey booted a stunning goal from a near-impossible angle.
Brody Mihocek kicked his third major of the match with less than six minutes on the clock, and two late Eagles goals to set up the thrilling conclusion.
With Collingwood ahead by one point, the final couple of minutes were unbearably tense, and the Perth crowd were at their loudest during the last 60 seconds.
But the “Dirty Pies” managed to hold, knocking West Coast out of the premiership.
NOT A SINGLE PERSON BACKED US IN
— Collingwood FC (@CollingwoodFC) October 3, 2020
This is just bloody epic
— Jon Ralph (@RalphyHeraldSun) October 3, 2020
The asterisk on this premiership – if it ever really existed – is peeling off fast with the quality of the first set of finals. #AFLEaglesPies
— ron reed (@reedrw) October 3, 2020
Channel 7 commentators James Brayshaw said: “What a story this is. This might be as good a win as Collingwood have had since the 2010 grand final.
“The unwinnable game, Collingwood have won it.
“The travel they had to do, the quarantining they’ve had to do, the quarantining they’ve had do, the obstacles they had to get over, quite extraordinary.”
Magpies midfielder Taylor Adams told Channel 7 after the game: “It was a great win obviously. To come over here, backs against the wall, to play in front of 30,000-strong West Coast supporters and get the job done was really special.
“Just a great reward for effort, you know. We prepared really well this week. We executed the plan almost perfectly. It’s an awesome feeling.”
Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury had a cheeky message for his critics after the final siren.
“We’re classified as ‘dirty’ over here and the crowd let us know that tonight,” Pendlebury told Channel 7.
“We’ll happily get out and get back to the Sunny Coast and reacquaint with our family.”
Collingwood’s Adam Treloar mustered a game-high 25 disposals, with teammate Taylor Adams also contributing 24.
The Magpies will take on the Geelong Cats in next weekend’s semi-final.
The Collingwood Magpies have won their elimination final by just one point!
This is shaping up to be one of the most enthralling conclusions to an AFL match this season.
After both clubs traded a pair of goals, Collingwood edged ahead in the third quarter.
Eagles forward Josh Kennedy had an opportunity to level the scores, but his free kick struck the post.
West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui provided the highlight of the quarter with this classy mark.
Channel 7 commentator James Brayshaw said: “They were told this week they’re making up the numbers. They never just make up the numbers.
“Massive quarter of footy coming up.”
Fox Sports presenter Rob Cornthwaite tweeted: “Pies hanging in there. Need to make the most of every single opportunity!”
Q3: Collingwood 9.4 (58) – West Coast 7.6 (48)
The West Coast Eagles have managed to reduce the deficit to just three points after the first-quarter humiliation.
Jack Darling and Josh Kennedy have both snared two goals, while Eagles teammate Liam Duggan is dominating the midfield with 16 disposals.
Seven News reporter Nick McCallum tweeted: “This is a sensational game of footy. And what a difference a large, loud, parochial crowd makes to the spectacle. Something we’ve all missed this season. Great to have it back.”
Sports reporter Daniel Garb posted: “So intense. Haven’t sat down all game.”
Geelong Advertiser journalist Alex Oates tweeted: “West Coast found another gear in that quarter. The Pies needed to be much further in front to put any real pressure on them. It would be a monumental effort to hang on, given how well the Eagles typically play in the second half.”
Q2: Collingwood 6.1 (37) – West Coast 5.4 (34)
The Collingwood Magpies have defied the odds to take an early lead at Perth Stadium.
West Coast got off to an ideal start, with Jack Darling kicking the opening goal of the match.
But Pies tall forward Mason Cox left the crowd stunned when he snared three consecutive goals in less than 10 minutes.
The 211cm giant dominated contests in the Eagles’ defensive 50m, contributing three marks and three disposals as well.
Collingwood teammate Taylor Adams then booted a fourth major to give the visitors a 16-point lead at the break.
Three-time premiership player Terry Wallace told AFL Nation: “This is the perfect start for Collingwood. Away from home, jumped the Eagles and silenced the crowd.”
Collingwood great Tony Shaw told 3AW: “The Collingwood midfield are moving it quicker than I’ve seen them move it for a long long time.”
Fox Sports commentator Brenton Speed tweeted: “Revolutionary coaching from Nathan Buckley… doesn’t take Mason Cox off after kicking one or even two goals in a row… and he has 3 in quick time!!! This might catch on!”
Q1: Collingwood 4.0 (24) – Eagles 1.2 (8)
The second elimination final will be a mouth-watering rematch of the 2018 Grand Final.
Collingwood are without several of their biggest stars, with Steele Sidebottom and Jeremy Howe unavailable.
The Eagles boast the third-best defensive record this season, conceding just 51.8 points a game.
Those numbers will worry the Pies. Since these two sides met in round eight, only once has a Collingwood player managed to kick more than two goals in a match – De Goey in round 17.
Even more concerning is West Coast’s record at Optus Stadium – they did not lose any of their seven matches in Perth this season.
No club has ever won an AFL/VFL premiership after finishing eighth on the ladder, so the Magpies will need to create history to keep their finals campaign alive.
St Kilda have booked themselves a semi-final clash with the Richmond Tigers next weekend.
It was a thrilling finish, but the late resurgence from the Western Bulldogs wasn’t enough.
St Kilda seemed destined for victory after extending their lead to 24 points in the third quarter.
While the match started as a tightly-contested arm wrestle, Brett Ratten’s men have completely outplayed the Bulldogs since the half-time break.
St Kilda’s tall forwards continue to prove the difference at the Gabba, and a late miss from Lachie Hunter 10 metres out from goal added to the Dogs’ woes.
“That sucked the life out of them, that miss,” former Port Adelaide star Dwayne Russell said on AFL Nation.
Q3: Saints 9.6 (60) – Bulldogs 5.6 (36)
St Kilda regained the lead in the second quarter by booting three goals, while the Bulldogs could only muster one.
Saints forward Max King snared his second goal of the match, and has also managed six disposals and five marks
Hawthorn legend Dermott Brereton told Fox Footy: “If Max King isn’t on $1 million within two years time… he’s the reason why the Saints are still in this.
“He’s changed the game; he’s taken four contested marks.”
Four-time premiership player Leigh Matthews told 3AW: “Max King looks so much better today than I have seen him all year.”
Meanwhile, Bulldogs defender Zaine Cordy suffered an ankle injury, and was spotted in crutches on the boundary.
Q2: Saints 5.4 (34) – Bulldogs 4.3 (27)
Josh Bruce got the Western Bulldogs off to the perfect start, executing a right-foot snap to snare the opening goal, celebrating wildly in front of his former teammates.
Grabbing at his jersey, Bruce bellowed with glee as he celebrated the classy goal.
St Kilda returned serve almost immediately, with Tim Membrey running in a simple goal from a Jarryn Geary handball.
After the Saints missed a regulation free kick, Dogs star Jason Johannisen made no mistake when he got his chance.
Hayden Crozier’s sweetly-timed 50m major ensured the Bulldogs took a narrow lead into the first break.
Meanwhile, St Kilda’s Ben Long could be facing a suspension for his late bump on midfielder Jack Macrae.
St Kilda great Nick Dal Danto told SEN: “It’s combative and fast paced. The Bulldogs midfielders are taking away the Saints’ ruck advantage. The clearances are all square, despite St Kilda’s ruckmen getting their hands to the footy”
Q1: Bulldogs 3.1 (19) to Saints 2.2 (14)
St Kilda are playing in their first finals campaign in nine years, while the Western Bulldogs have qualified in the top eight for the second consecutive year.
However, the Bulldogs will be wary of the 2009 and 2010 finals campaigns – in consecutive seasons, the Dogs were knocked out by the Saints in the finals.
St Kilda also won this season’s encounter, defeating the Bulldogs 14.4 (88) to 7.7 (49) back in round two.
The Dogs also have not won an AFL match at the Gabba this year, which potentially contributed to St Kilda’s decision to host Saturday’s fixture in Brisbane.
Regardless, the Bulldogs will be looking to replicate their heroics from the 2016 season. After finishing seventh on the ladder, they won four consecutive games to claim their second premiership.