AFL fans were blessed by two Saturday night blockbusters that saw the Collingwood Magpies hold off the previously undefeated Geelong Cats while the Fremantle Dockers fought back to claim a thrilling draw against the Swans.
Doubts surrounding Collingwood’s ability to contend for another premiership were put to rest with a with a six-point win over the Cats at the MCG on Saturday night.
67,000 turned up for the Magpies’ 15.12 (102) to 14.12 (96) victory, led by outstanding performances from all the usual big names.
Scott Pendlebury led the Magpies with 31 possessions, two goals and six clearances while Harry O’Brien (31 touches) and Dane Swan (29) also starred. Small forwards Andrew Krakouer, Jamie Elliot and Sam Dwyer (27 possessions) combined for nine goals.
As impressive has been Brent McCaffer’s ability to reinvent himself as a tagger. He limited Joel Selwood to seven first half possessions and 20 overall.
Geelong staged a massive comeback after a lacklustre opening term, fighting back from a 26-point halftime deficit to take a 13-point lead into the final change, however it was the rookie Dwyer with 13 final quarter possessions that helped get the Magpies back in front.
IN SYDNEY, the Fremantle Dockers clawed back from a 27-point deficit midway through the final quarter to save a draw at the SCG.
The Dockers had a chance to win it, but the hero of the final stages, Michael Johnson, botched a shot on goal with under 30 seconds remaining in the contest.
Johnson went forward, another splendid tactical move from coach Ross Lyon, and kicked a goal and a behind in the final couple of minutes to level the scores at 70 each. The Dockers press beat out a desperate Sydney trying to get the ball down their end of the ground and a final push forward saw Johnson take a mark at around the 50 meter mark.
Needing just a minor score to secure the victory, Johnson’s attempt fell short before the final seconds played out into a draw.
Fremantle required the massive comeback after disastrous second and third terms in which they managed just a single goal in over two quarters of game time. Their play was a far stretch from the aggressive pressing that resulted in the visiting Dockers kicking the three of the first four goals.
Daniel Hannebery starred for the Swans with 27 touches and four goals while Michael Barlow had 28 possessions for the Dockers and Nat Fyfe kicked two goals to go along with 23 disposals.
Another unlucky injury will further deplete the Dockers next weekend against the lowly Demons- electrifying small forward Michael Walters was forced from the game with a turned ankle.
Follow Robert White on Twitter @RobertWhitebrrr.
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