The Sydney Swans survived a stirring comeback by Collingwood to claim a one point victory in an epic Preliminary final overnight at a sold-out Sydney Cricket Ground. In front of 45,608 screaming fans, Sydney looked to have the game comfortably in its keeping when it went out to a six goal lead when Logan McDonald kicked a goal early in the third term. Collingwood however, as it has all season, refused to go away, kicking three of the next four goals to remain within striking distance heading into the final stanza.
The Magpies resurgence coincided with an injury to the most potent forward on the ground in Sam Reid, the Sydney forward suffering a groin injury that sent him to the bench for the rest of the game - and potentially missing next weekend’s Grand Final against a red hot Geelong.
The first half was played at break-neck speed, with both teams amassing a combined score of 18.8, the most in the first half of a final since 2010. At the final break Sydney held a 23 point lead, but a goal to Collingwood’s Trent Bianco at the seven minute mark reduced the lead to just 15 points. A controversial mark and goal to Sydney’s livewire forward Tom Papley stretched the margin back to 19 points after a pair of Collingwood misses, but from there the Swans were under siege from the Magpies who threw caution to the wind, attacking through the center corridor and playing on at all costs.
Consecutive goals to Collingwood’s Brody Mihocek and Will Hoskin-Elliot had the home fans feeling nervous, before an opportunistic snap from veteran Steele Sidebottom in the 28th minute reduced the margin to just three points. A frantic last two minutes that saw the Swans resort to kicking backwards to maintain possession plus two rushed behinds to reduce the margin to just one point had the game set up for yet another Collingwood last gasp victory. But it wasn’t to be, Sydney holding on to win its way to a chance at Grand Final glory which it last tasted in 2012.
For Sydney it was veteran Luke Parker leading the way with 23 possessions and a stopping role on Collingwood star Jordan de Goey, while goalsneak Tom Papley proved important with three goals amongst his 16 touches. Jack Crisp (29 touches) and veteran Scott Pendlebury (also 29) led the way for the plucky Magpies who lost no fans with their unlikely run through the finals after finishing 17th in 2021.
Curiously, Collingwood played in seven games during the regular season that were decided by six points or less. Winning them all for a 7-0 record, yet in the finals, both their results were also by less than six points and they finished up on the wrong side of the ledger going 0-2. For Sydney, the story will be Sam Reid’s fitness and whether he can play in the Grand Final, but despite going in underdogs, John Longmire’s men will believe they have what it takes to hold up the premiership cup when the final siren blows next Saturday at the MCG.
SYDNEY:: 6.3 11.7 13.10 14.11 (95) COLLINGWOOD: 3.0 7.1 10.5 14.10 (94) GOALS Sydney: Papley 3, Franklin 2, Clarke, Heeney, McDonald, McInerney, Parker, Reid, Rowbottom, Stephens, Warner Collingwood: Elliott 2, Hoskin-Elliott 2, McCreery 2, Bianco, Cameron, Crisp, N.Daicos, J.Daicos, Ginnivan, Mihocek, Sidebottom BEST Sydney: Mills, Papley, Warner, Gulden, Parker, Blakey, Rowbottom Collingwood: Crisp, Pendlebury, Moore, Sidebottom, N.Daicos, Lipinski, Quaynor INJURIES Sydney: Reid (groin) Collingwood: Cox (groin) SUBSTITUTES Sydney: Braeden Campbell (replaced Reid in the third quarter) Collingwood: Nathan Kreuger (replaced Cox in the third quarter) Crowd: 45,608 at the SCG
Article last changed on Sunday, September 18, 2022 - 8:24 AM EDT