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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Australia

An undermanned and battered Collingwood held tough over the West Coast Eagles by eight points at the MCG in a thrilling Round 10 encounter. The Eagles had not beaten Collingwood on this ground since 1995 and were looking to turn the tables and set up their year by stealing a game that many thought they could not win. Collingwood players - down one man by quarter time and another by half time - looked out on their feet at times, and at one point trailed by nearly three goals. To their credit, the Pies stood tall when it counted and recorded the win in a high scoring game.

From the opening bounce it was an entertaining but bruising contest. Goals were plentiful at both ends of the ground, none better than Jarryd Blair’s from an impossible angle deep in a pocket. When Nathan Brown fell heavily and dislocated his shoulder early in the game, Collingwood was forced  to bring on substitute Clinton Young. Brown’s twin brother Mitch - playing for the Eagles - was in the hands of the trainers soon after when he was on the receiving end of a low blow off the ball by Blair. Jack Frost was another Pie casualty when he suffered a concussion and took no further part in the game, leaving the Magpies a couple of men short on the bench. The damage wasn’t over yet with Elliot Yeo the next up for a pounding when he lost two teeth in a bone-crunching run-in with Jarrod Witts. It caused a bizzare scene at the half-time break when umpires and players were seen scouring the playing field looking for the young Eagle's errant front teeth.

Collingwood's Blair booted two goals in quick succession to give them a lift into the third quarter. The Eagles had the football in their attacking area much more than the Magpies but still they could not shake the determined Pies. The game went up a gear when Alex Fasolo and Steele popped up for their first goals to bring the Magpies right back within a kick going into the final term. West Coast was getting poor service from key forwards Jack Darling and Josh Kennedy. Neither could take a mark within goal kicking range and finished the game with only one goal each. The final part of the match turned into a goal shootout with the lead changing from every score. The first knockout blow was landed when a controversial 50 meter penalty was paid to Brodie Grundy, giving him a gift goal 10 meters out. The second came minutes later when out of form forward Travis Cloke kicked his first goal of the match to put the Eagles on the canvas.

Collingwood players deserved their hard fought win and look to be better prepared than the Eagles to take on tougher opponents. West Coast could have used the win to dispel the Melbourne media’s view of them as “flat-track bullies” (only capable of beating teams further down the Ladder than them) however they were unable to capitalize on their chances and will be eager to redeem themselves next round in Perth when they take on North Melbourne in what should be a highly entertaining game. The Magpies will play St Kilda in the Friday Night game at Etihad Stadium and have a golden opportunity to consolidate their place in the Top Eight.

West Coast:  5.2 9.5 11.10 15.11 (101)
Collingwood: 5.9 7.3 11.4  17.7  (109)

Best Players:
West Coast:  Priddus, Yeo, Cox, Hurn, Glass
Collingwood: Pendlebury, Beams, Sidebottom, Elliot, Blair

Article last changed on Sunday, May 25, 2014 - 6:28 AM EDT

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