Collingwood and Geelong met Friday night in a rematch of the 2011 Grand Final and was a game that produced a similar atmosphere despite both teams having not been overly spectacular thus far in 2012. The Magpies dominated the match until the final ten minutes but somehow snuck two goals in the final 1:02 after the Cats finally found a game tying goal, eventually winning 14.12(96)-11.18(84).
Geelong butchered the goals in the second quarter and it eventually cost them as Steele Sidebottom (38 disposals) and Scott Pendlebury (30) were the Pies best, absolutely fantastic on the ball. Dane Swan was also brilliant with 26 until he left in the fourth with a hamstring tweak while Heath Shaw also collected 30 possessions.
When these two teams met around the same time last year both were undefeated, but Collingwood were better early and took a ten-point lead into quarter-time. Geelong hadn’t touched the ball when Pendlebury kicked the game’s first but Hawkins got one back, atoning for an early miss by intercepting a deep ball kicked by Shaw and kicking an open goal.
Stevie Johnson’s move into the midfield paid dividends. He had three finely weighted kicks that found marking targets in the first quarter alone, but Hawkins missed a couple and the Geelong’s inaccuracy cost them. Tyson Goldsack bombed the Sherrin from 60 meters, continuing his fine goal kicking form, and gave the Pies a 24-15 lead at the break.
Already featuring a finals atmosphere, the second quarter heated up with three goals being scored in three minutes. A Fasolo kick and a soccer effort from Cloke broke up Duncan’s goal in the middle until Geelong again came within eight courtesy of Motlop. The Pies may have been away but Cloke missed a crucial effort which would have put them up over three goals.
They traded goals when Swan, pirouetting as he gathered the ball, balanced himself before slotting through a highlight reel effort and Stokes intercepted a Daisy Thomas fumble to throw one onto his boot. Another long bomb, this time for Podsiadly, bounced through kindly from fifty and made it a two-point game until Pendlebury kicked what can only be described as a beautiful goal on the run from 48 to close out the second.
The Magpies fired on all cylinders in the third and took a commanding lead in the third while making the Cats look as if they didn’t have the run or confidence to pull off the win.
Although Johnson (23 disposals) fed Chapman for the quarter’s first, Collingwood had more than enough answers as Swan fed Goldsack with a perfect, low delivery that found its target in the goal square. As they charged forward again Fasolo snuck in another when Mackie, as the last man deep in defense, couldn’t intercept a mark, stretching out with one-handed and accidentally knocking it onto the running goal sneak. When Jarryd Blair kicked from 12 meters at the 11 minute mark, the final goal of the quarter, the Cats looked to be in real trouble as they went into the last quarter down 20-points, the biggest margin of the game.
Chris Dawes opened the Pies account to begin the fourth, a dangerous goal considering Geelong’s inability to kick accurately in the third (1.6), but Mitch Duncan and Hawkins kicked a couple to get them within two goals.
But their efficiency continued to kill them in front of goals. Cloke and Stokes traded goals but six costly behinds eventually brought the Cats within a single goal. They dominated the final ten minutes and put the Pies under immense pressure but could not manage a goal against a Collingwood bench down to one man after Swan and Reid were forced from the game. Stokes somehow found the game from a long ball deep inside 50 and kicked a miraculous goal that tied the game up at 84 apiece.
With only 62 seconds remaining, Collingwood found the goals twice. The first came in controversial circumstances when Josh Hunt wrapped up Fasolo after he marked and appeared to play on. A 50 meter penalty was awarded and Fasolo kicked from well within his distance. Pendlebury kicked his fourth from 65 meters, heading in the Cloke direction; the ball sailed over his head and with a kind bounce rolled between the sticks.
Collingwood move into fourth position and Geelong falls further away from the pack with four wins from eight contests. Other Round 8 results could see them fall as far as 13th.
Joel Selwood was fantastic with 36 disposals but after being so influential for the first three quarters his production dropped away in the fourth. Chapman was good after half-time and 200 gamer James Kelly was also great with 26 possessions.