Finals Week 1 – West Coast v Collingwood: How the west was won (Floreat Pica Society)


West Coast v Collingwood

6:10pm, Saturday October 3

Perth Stadium


By Guy Fazzino


How the west was won


To say that Collingwood fans approached this final with some degree of trepidation would be somewhat of an understatement. With a “home” final to play for in the final round of the home and away season, the Pies produced an underwhelming performance thus “earning” a final in Perth which necessitated a seven day COVID-enforced quarantine. This was cause for concern. Compounding this was the fact that West Coast had flogged them in Perth by 11 goals earlier in the season, and Collingwood supporters were understandably pessimistic to say the least.


Leading up to the game, these two proud clubs had played 8 finals between them, including the incredible Qualifying Final draw at Waverley in 1990, the heart-breaking 2 point Qualifying Final loss at the WACA in 1994, the extra time romp in the 2007 Semi Final at Subiaco, and of course the cliffhanger that was the 2018 Grand Final. In finals, Collingwood’s record was 4 wins 3 losses and a draw.


Collingwood brought in Mayne and Cameron for the game at the expense of Varcoe and T. Brown while the Eagles welcomed back McGovern, Shuey, Cripps and Redden from injury, bolstering an already formidable line-up. The Pies were still without Howe while two of their four remaining premiership heroes were to no longer feature in this campaign – Sidebottom was stuck in Melbourne and Reid had announced his retirement, his body finally succumbing to years of soft tissue injuries.


What unfolded over the next two and a bit hours in front of over 32,000 fans – the biggest crowd of this COVID affected season – would live long in the memory of the Magpie faithful.


First Quarter


Two words sum up this quarter – Mason Cox. In a stunning 3 minute burst, the big Texan takes 3 contested marks and converts truly on each occasion to inspire belief into his teammates and plant the seed for Pies fans the world over that perhaps, just perhaps, this isn’t going to be the walkover that everyone had predicted. When Adams scores following a 50m penalty, Collingwood has piled on 4 unanswered goals to quieten the parochial crowd. In fact Cox could quite easily have had a fourth had Adams hit him on a lead instead of bombing the ball into the pocket.


In a frenetic quarter, Daicos, Treloar and Adams are in everything while Duggan is getting plenty of the ball for the Eagles, Natanui is outpointing Grundy and McGovern is blanketing Mihocek. Encouragingly, Cameron holds his own when he comes on for Grundy. West Coast’s only goal, the first of the game, is via a Crisp turnover in the middle of the ground which leads to a mark and goal by Darling. Shuey, Kelly and Sheed are virtually unsighted.


Pies up 4.0 to 1.2


Second Quarter


Inevitably, West Coast dials up the pressure in the second stanza, with two Kelly kicks resulting in two Kennedy marks and two goals. Roughead appears to be totally clueless against Kennedy and when Darling outmuscles Moore to let Ainsworth in for another goal, the game is looking very ominously like a repeat of the Round 8 debacle. But there’s nothing like scoreboard pressure, so two goals from free kicks (one to Noble following a head high tackle and another to Elliott as a reward for a strong tackle) keep the Pies’ noses in front. Had Thomas not dropped a high pass from Mihocek and had Stephenson kicked truly from 50 on the run, Collingwood may well have been further in front. Instead Darling takes another strong contested mark for his second goal and Kennedy could have put the Eagles in front on the half time siren after being rewarded a dubious free kick for tackling Noble, but fortunately he misses.


This was another pulsating quarter. Stephenson did a few nice things, while Pendlebury, Noble and Crisp were busy and Treloar continued to rack up possessions. Cox, Daicos, Thomas and De Goey (until he was moved onto the ball) were all very quiet. West Coast were looking particularly dangerous from the centre square when 6-6-6 gave their big forwards their best opportunity to run and jump and Ryan, who was having an intriguing battle with Maynard, was threatening to tear the game apart.


Collingwood go into the long break with a slender lead but can they keep this up or will the Eagles ride the fanatical wave of support and overwhelm the Pies in the second half?


Pies up 6.1 to 5.4


Third Quarter


The thrills and spills continue this quarter with some cracking goals, a screamer of a mark from Natanui and some spectacular passages of play.


West Coast kick two goals in the early going as a result of centre bounce clearances and the crowd is at fever pitch. Collingwood hold their own though, with Daicos, Treloar, Adams, Greenwood and Moore featuring in general play and Cameron, who started the quarter in the ruck, beginning to have an influence around the ground. On the flipside Shuey, Gaff and Sheed are everywhere and Ryan and Natanui are on fire.


The lead changes hands several times as first De Goey receives a handball from Cox and spears a beauty on the left from 50m out and then, after a brilliant centreing ball from De Goey, Hoskin-Elliott marks, plays on and goals. When Daicos finds Mihocek with a superb kick on his left, and he kicks truly, the Pies wrest back the momentum. Had easy snaps from Hoskin-Elliott and Treloar not been missed, Collingwood could have been further in front. Kennedy however, could have edged the Eagles closer had he not hit the post near three quarter time after receiving a lucky free kick.


The stage is set for a classic last quarter.


Pies up 9.4 to 7.6


Fourth Quarter


Footy fans were not disappointed – this turned out to be a sensational final quarter. Within minutes, West Coast regains the lead with two quick goals, firstly from a clearance out of the centre bounce (their fifth in this fashion) to Ryan, and then Allan who snaps from open play. Had Kennedy converted from a mark in the pocket, or soon afterwards goaled from a snap, the lead could have been larger. The Eagles are running rampant, and are dominating play with nine inside 50s to zero.


Finally, Grundy takes a telling mark on the wing, the ball spills to Mihocek who drills a superb 40m dart on the left foot. Magnificent goal. Collingwood regain the lead and assume a little  composure with repeated entries. A ball-up in Collingwood’s forward line following a “non-mark” to McGovern results in De Goey scooping the ball and snapping a 40m major on his right. Another miraculous goal! Then Mihocek takes a courageous contested mark over McGovern in the pocket and slots a goal on a 60 degree angle and suddenly the Pies are up by 13 points. But can they hold on?!


Not surprisingly, West Coast surge again. Following a brain fade by Maynard in the back pocket (these are becoming all too regular), his kick is smothered by Gaff and Ryan centres the ball to Kennedy who kicks his third. In desperation, Mihocek is sent to the backline to protect the diminishing lead. This proves to be an inspired move by the coaching staff as Mihocek repels repeated entries. However, a love tap from Crisp on Darling who drops like he’s been king hit by Mike Tyson results in a free kick and Darling kicks his third major. Collingwood is now clinging on to a 1 point lead with 1 minute and 17 seconds left on the clock. The tension is unbearable. Surely the Eagles aren’t going to do this to the Pies again?


In a statement move, Cameron takes the ruck with Natanui! Where’s Grundy? On the bench. The Pies win the ball out of the centre and Thomas fires a pass to Cox but Barrass charges in from behind and manages to effect a spoil in the nick of time. Unbelievable! The ball spills to Treloar who shoots from 45m but the ball lands on the line, cruelly bounces away from Hoskin-Elliott and now McGovern has the ball with 40 seconds to go!


He passes to Waterman, who passes to Gaff who kicks to Kelly on the wing, the Eagles are surging – oh no not again! – Kelly handballs to Cole, and then crunch! Adams lays a match saving tackle! Pendlebury scoops up the ball, spots Hoskin-Elliott with his right foot on the wing and the Pies ice the clock. Game over! Collingwood has done it! Once again, against all the odds, the Maggies have managed an unbelievable victory in what truly was a magnificent advertisement of our great game.


Pies win 12.4 to 11.9


In an effort that evoked the spirits of the 1958 Grand Final, the 2002 Qualifying Final, the 2007 Second Semi Final and the 2018 Preliminary Final, the Pies produce a stunning, hair-raising and monumental upset – a backs-to-the-wall, fight-at-all-cost, last-man-standing performance that swelled the chest of every Collingwood supporter with pride and unbridled joy and hopefully struck fear in the hearts of Geelong fans.


Like a game of high stakes poker, Collingwood went “all in” – forsaking their recent crab-like ball movement style for a more attacking, risk/reward approach which, apart from giving their forwards a greater chance to ply their trade, was also much more attractive to watch. The flair, dare and bravado served them well and gave their stars the licence to shine.


So Magpie fans, rejoice in the spoils of victory and dare to dream, for this surely must go down in the annals of this storied club as one of its most famous triumphs.


Step 1 has been safely negotiated in what is hopefully a four step STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN





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  1. Warren Tapner says

    As a rusted-on Bluebagger, it pains me to admit it – but that was a gutsy win by Collingwood.
    Quite jealous of their supporters.
    Also more than a little disappointed that we won’t be seeing Liam Ryan again in 2020.

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