Collingwood book massive prelim date with Sydney Swans
Dane Swan has helped Collingwood advance to an AFL preliminary final (AFL Media)
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West Coast’s season is over after Collingwood registered a physical 13-point victory in tonight’s semi final. It sets up a huge preliminary final between the Pies and a side they have the wood over, Sydney.
Here’s some facts you’ll hear ad nausea this week: The Pies haven’t lost to the Swans since 2005.
That includes eleven wins in a row, and seven in a row at ANZ Stadium.
The most recent of these wins was only back in Round 20, with the Pies winning an eight-point thriller.
September has a habit of establishing new records and breaking old ones, but there would be reasons behind why such a lengthy winning streak exists.
And after they reminded the footy world what they’re capable of, the Pies will be confident.
If there is one lingering concern, it’s how tough the men in black and white have had it the past two weeks.
Tonight’s game was a physical, tough contest. The result did not come easy. Indeed, West Coast jumped out of the blocks to boot the game’s first four goals.
Collingwood responded by getting on top in a number of areas – disposals, both contested and uncontested, plus tackles, inside 50s clearances … you name it – but were constantly falling short at the final hurdle. That last kick before a potential goal was their undoing.
After entering half time 11 points down, something had to give or, perhaps more accurately, someone had to step up. That man turned out to be Dale Thomas.
Daisy booted two goals inside the first three minutes of the third term and added another before the quarter was done. His efforts set up what was a dominant term from the Pies, but an after-the-siren goal from Jack Darling meant the game was far from done going into the final break.
Despite finally getting on top on the scoreboard, the Pies still had plenty of work to do to get the win.
The Eagles came out in the fourth term determined to turn around momentum and they did exactly that with early goals to Nic Naitanui and Darling allowing them to take back the lead.
Finally, the tide-turning moment came as Andrew Embley out of defence gave away what was his eighth turnover for the match. That play set up a successful set shot from Tyson Goldsack. It was always going to be Collingwood’s game after that.
But for the second in a row, the game was far from easy going for the Pies. That could very well catch up to them travelling north next week.
Certainly, the Swans would’ve been glad to have the week’s rest as they watched this clash unfolding.
For the Eagles, the semi final has ended their season for the second consecutive year. In the search for positives, they’ll be looking forward to re-gaining Mark LeCras and getting another preseason into some of their younger stars.
One of their most impressive performers was Eric Mackenzie, who did a great job in containing the previously in-form Travis Cloke.
Now, though, all eyes turn to next week. In the quest for greatness, only four remain.
Michael DiFabrizio is completing his journalism degree. As an AFL writer, he has been an expert columnist at The Roar since 2009, and appeared in The Age and on ABC television and radio. Follow Michael on twitter @mdifabrizio
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