Jamie Kloeden reporting for AFANA from the MCG, Australia
After a terrific game earlier in the day between Fremantle and Geelong, expectations of such a formidable contest in the nightcap were not quite so high in some quarters. Collingwood went in as strong favorites against the young Ken Hinkley led Port Adelaide outfit. During the week, comments from President Eddie McGuire about where the Magpies would be playing in the Semi Final (inferring they would have no problem overcoming Port in the Elimination Final) did not go unnoticed by the Power players who started the game with intent and certainly looked like they had something to prove.
While Collingwood had the bulk of possession in the early minutes, the Port Adelaide defense was able to make the Magpie forays forward fruitless with the Power on the scoreboard first after some classy play from Justin Westhoff. As the quarter time siren blew, Port was ahead by just one goal but was the better team to that point as veterans Kane Cornes, Brad Ebert and skipper Travis Boak showed their young teammates how Finals were played.
Collingwood looked sluggish as the second quarter got underway and a quick goal to Boak got the scoring happening within a minute. An extremely silly piece of play by Heath Shaw in the Port goal square resulted in a free kick and simple goal to Angus Monfries a minute later and, by the time Jay Schulz soared above the pack to take a spectacular mark and then goal, the Power found themselves up by 24 points. Magpies' fans soon began smiling again as the Port hot streak came to an end and the Pies started one of their own. Three consecutive goals through Marley Williams, Sam Dwyer and Brent Macaffer had the MCG pumping before Port settled the ship and kicked a late goal through budding superstar Chad Wingard. A surprising 12 point lead to the Power was obviously frustrating the Collingwood players as Heath Shaw once again had Monfries in his sights. As the siren sounded, Shaw threw the ball straight into Monfries’ face. What could have erupted into a major half time incident never amounted to much but it did give an indication of the heat in the contest and the pressure cooker of Finals football.
Shaw tried to make amends for his first half indiscretions by setting up Lachlan Keefe with the first goal of the quarter. Brownlow Medalist Dane Swan was also starting to make his mark on the game and when he went long for his second goal of the match the teams were tied at 42 points apiece. The Pies went ahead by a point when their next shot on goal narrowly missed but as Swan kicked his third and took the game by the scruff of the neck, it looked like they had turned the corner and were going to run away with the game. Chad Wingard had other ideas however and kicked truly to once again tie up the scores. Ollie Wines managed a goal before three quarter time to see Port once again lead at a break and take an eight point lead into the last quarter.
As with the third quarter it was Collingwood doing the early scoring as Scott Pendlebury found Dayne Beans who goaled to narrow the margin to just two points. Five minutes later a score review went the Magpies way as Travis Cloke was awarded a goal and they once again hit the lead. From this point on, it was all bad news for the Magpie Army and celebration time for the Power fans who had travelled to Melbourne for the game. Four goals, six points to just the solitary behind to Collingwood saw Port absolutely dominate the last 25 minutes of play. Schulz, Wingard, Wines and Boak all kicked majors as Port booked a Semi Final clash with Geelong in week two of the Finals while Nathan Buckley and his men were left to lick their wounds and consider what might have been.
Scoreboard Collingwood: 1.4 4.6 7.7 9.9 (63) Port Adelaide: 2.4 6.6 8.9 12.15 (87) Best Players Collingwood: Swan, Beams, Sidebottom, Macaffer Port Adelaide: Ebert, Logan, Cornes, Jonas, Lobbe, Wingard
Article last changed on Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 4:21 AM EDT