The West

Pies end Eagles premiership assault
Pies end Eagles' premiership assault

Collingwood will face Sydney in a preliminary final at ANZ Stadium next weekend after staving off a brave West Coast at the MCG last night.

The Magpies 10.13 (73) to 9.6 (60) win bore an eerie resemblance to Adelaide’s over Fremantle just 24 hours earlier.

Like the Dockers, the Eagles had jumped their rivals in a brilliant first quarter but were unable to hang on and were ground down as the match progressed.

Dale Thomas turned the game with three goals in seven minutes at the start of the third quarter while fellow midfielders Dane Swan, Scott Pendlebury and Dayne Beams were all prolific.

Defender Ben Reid was best on ground with a superb display in defence.

Darren Glass and Andrew Gaff were terrific for the Eagles but in the end they had too many sore bodies and not enough legs to make it to the line.

Daniel Kerr and Jacob Brennan had both absorbed big hits.

The first quarter landed West Coast’s way off the back of a blistering start and two controversial umpiring calls that swung to the Eagles.

Jack Darling and Pat McGinnity had both kicked goals in the opening minutes as Nic Naitanui went on an early ruck rampage.

Collingwood were stripped of a goal they had been awarded when television replays suggested that the ball had been rushed through for a point before Andrew Krakouer snapped truly.

The problem was the goal had been awarded and the ball on the way back to the centre when the video review was called for.

The Eagles had a fourth before Harry O’Brien kicked Collingwood’s first and Dean Cox added a fifth after a goalsquare push and grab with Nathan Brown which could just as easily have gone against him for front on contact.

But even though Tyson Goldsack had butchered two set shots from directly in front and West Coast looked the better team in general play but when Darren Jolly nailed a set shot from 30 metres with seconds left in the term the lead was just nine points.

When Dane Swan kicked the first goal of the second term the lead was just three points.

What followed that was a 22-minute arm wrestle as both teams saw off the best attacking thrusts the other could muster.

Collingwood seemed to have the better of things in general play but didn’t translate it to much on the scoreboard and when the drought breaking goal finally came it fell to West Coast, with Shannon Hurn getting a long soccer forward to set up McGinnity’s pass to Josh Hill.

At half time the West Coast lead was 11 points but there was concern with a heavy ground level collision on the bell leaving Daniel Kerr nursing a sore shoulder and ribs after he and Sharrond Wellingham traded weight at pace.

Only Chris Masten had seen more of the ball to half time than Kerr and the midfield maestro had a goal to go with the grunt.

Collingwood had their chances to split the game open in the third quarter when they locked the ball deep in West Coast’s defensive zone for long periods but never quite got the match winning break they craved.

Dale Thomas turned the half time deficit into a lead with a brilliant burst which netted him the first three goals of the quarter in seven minutes.

Jarryd Blair added a fourth into time on but when Darling kicked his second and the Eagles seventh after the three quarter time siren the margin was still only 10 points.

The Eagles were close enough if they were good enough even though they had managed just two goals since quarter time.

And in the early going in the final quarter it looked like they might be good enough.

Naitanui shook off two quiet quarters to kick the opening goal of the term after a ruck infringement.

Josh Kennedy, well held all night by Ben Reid, took a goalsquare pack mark to put the Eagles in front.

They now had the lead but did they have the momentum?

The answer was No.6 Goldsack, the villain in front of goal earlier in the match, became a hero after slotting the major that got his team back in front. And when Swan snapped brilliantly after turfing a chest mark the Magpies held the cards and held on for a 13-point win.

The West Australian

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