Magpies back in finals driver’s seat
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Six days after the car crash, Collingwood’s air bags finally went off at the MCG tonight.
After being battered mercilessly for a week over the Heath Shaw-Alan Didak drink-driving affair, the Magpies produced a courageous against the odds 14-point win over St Kilda to find a soft landing place inside the AFL top eight.
The Pies dominated for three quarters, then held off a determined late charge by the Saints to post a 14.13 (97) to 12.11 (83) victory.
Onballer Dane Swan and young forward John Anthony kicked three goals each for the Magpies, while Adam Schneider booted three for the beaten Saints.
Collingwood had come into the match reeling, with Shaw and Didak suspended for the remainder of the season after the fallout of Shaw’s drunken car crash last Sunday.
The Saints had emotion of a different kind during the week after news stalwart Robert Harvey would retire at the end of the season – the club seeking a fairytale run into the finals to cap his career.
But the Saints were surprisingly flat and the Magpies were anything but, as they raced to a 14-point quarter-time lead before stepping on the pedal in the second term.
Collingwood dominated in all aspects, with Swan outstanding with 25 touches to go with his three goals, skipper Scott Burns leading by example and youngster Scott Pendlebury and Leon Davis also getting plenty of the football.
St Kilda struggled hopelessly at the clearances and battled to penetrate Collingwood’s 50-metre arc – only Harvey and Brendon Goddard producing four-quarter efforts.
Collingwood led at every change – 24 points at halftime and 26 going into the final term.
It took until the final quarter for the Saints to lift, closing to within nine points midway through the term as Schneider kicked his third.
But the Pies found something every time they were challenged, with Swan and Anthony’s third goals approaching time-on ending any hopes of an unlikely Saints win.
The Pies have now powered into sixth place, while the Saints – who could have secured a finals berth with a win tonight – are dangerously placed in eighth spot with several teams closing in.© AAP 2013
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