MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The Collingwood Magpies shrugged off a history of Grand Final failure to claim the Australian Football League (AFL) championship on Saturday, pipping the Brisbane Lions by four points in a thriller at a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground. Record-holders for the most Grand Final defeats (27) in the top flight of Australian Rules […]
Australian Rules-Collingwood edge Brisbane in thriller to claim AFL title
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The Collingwood Magpies shrugged off a history of Grand Final failure to claim the Australian Football League (AFL) championship on Saturday, pipping the Brisbane Lions by four points in a thriller at a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Record-holders for the most Grand Final defeats (27) in the top flight of Australian Rules football, the Melbourne-based “Pies” held firm in a nerve-shredding finish to win a record-equalling 16th title in front of a crowd of 100,024.
The 12.18 (90) to 13.8 (86) win secured Collingwood their first championship since beating St Kilda in 2010 in a Grand Final re-match after the first decider was sensationally tied.
The country’s most supported team, the Magpies have now drawn level with home-town rivals Carlton and Essendon for the most championships in the competition.
“So much work goes in for so long,” said Collingwood captain Darcy Moore, one of the AFL’s top defenders. “So much has to go right to pull it off today. And we did it.
“It was fun to play, I’m sure it was fun to watch. We all said at half-time, ‘Jesus, what an incredible game it is’.”
The Brisbane Lions missed out on a fourth championship, 20 years after their hat-trick of Grand Final triumphs which included back-to-back defeats of Collingwood in 2002-03.
Relentless in the contest all day, Brisbane took the lead with just over five minutes to play when small forward Charlie Cameron goaled on one of the hottest Grand Final days ever.
But Collingwood midfielder Jordan De Goey snatched it back with a brilliant, long-range goal straight from the centre bounce before team mate Steele Sidebottom slotted another long bomb from a set shot to stretch the lead to 10 points.
Brisbane’s tall forward Joe Daniher marked and snapped a goal with 93 seconds left to set up a dramatic finish but Craig McRae-coached Collingwood held on.
Five years after the Pies lost a cliffhanger in the 2018 Grand Final against the Perth-based West Coast Eagles, Collingwood’s black-and-white army of fans were in ecstasy at the MCG.
Small forward Bobby Hill kicked four goals for Collingwood to win the Norm Smith Medal as “best on ground”, while young midfielder Nick Daicos starred in his first Grand Final with a game-high 29 disposals and a goal.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Hangzhou, China; Editing by Michael Perry)