Not even a blistery Melbourne night could deter supporters from the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday night. A forecast of scattered showers, hail and winds of up to 45km/h still saw an enormous crowd of 81,691 people turn up to watch Geelong and Collingwood battle over the top spot in a tight thriller.
Coming from behind in the final term, Geelong showed skill and determination to carry out a 3 point victory over reining premiers Collingwood. Whilst Geelong dominated in most areas early in the contest, leading Collingwood 2.9.21 to 1.1.7 at quarter time, their inaccurate kicking which recorded 8 straight behinds, caused them to slip away as Collingwood found their pace and took control of the game early in the second quarter. Quick goals from Travis Cloke, Dane Swan and Steele Sidebottom cemented Collingwood’s lead and boosted the team’s confidence. Collingwood kicked 4.2 to Geelong’s one behind in that second term.
With both sides losing key players in the third term, Cameron Ling (Gee) with a shoulder injury and Alan Toovey (Col) with a facial injury, Allen Christensen and Brad Dick were substituted onto the field. Christensen rose to the occasion, booting a set shot at goal after receiving a free kick, narrowing the score to a 5 point deficit at the final break and providing Cats fans with some hope.
Collingwood, with the five point lead, entered the final term as the favourite however it soon deteriorated when Jimmy Bartel kicked his second goal of the game, putting Geelong in front for the first time since halfway through the second quarter. James Podsiadly extended the lead to 10 points with only 6 minutes to go and all hope for Collingwood seemed to be lost until Dale Thomas hit back with a goal after a Geelong turnover.
Whilst the threatening clouds held back their rain, Geelong were too powerful for Collingwood, outrunning them and winning the game 8.17 (65) to 9.8 (62).
Next week Carlton takes on Geelong at Etihad Stadium on Friday night whilst Collingwood play Adelaide on Sunday, also at Etihad Stadium.
Geelong 2.9 2.10 5.12 8.17 (65)
Collingwood 1.1 5.3 7.5 9.8 (62)
Geelong: Bartel 2, Stokes, Kelly, Varcoe, Christensen, Johnson, Podsiadly
Collingwood: Sidebottom 2, Cloke 2, Brown, Swan, Pendlebury, Krakouer. Thomas
Geelong: Cameron Ling (shoulder) replaced by Allen Christensen in the third quarter.
Collingwood: Alan Toovey (face) replaced by Brad Dick in the third quarter.
Official crowd: 81,691 at the MCG