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The Collingwood Magpies were lucky to escape with a win over the fast-finishing Brisbane Lions tonight, after the Lions kicked the last seven goals of the game to close the gap from a 53-point deficit partway through the third quarter to just 12 points when the siren blew.
The Magpies set up the win early with a dominant first half following some excellent work from stars Dane Swan, Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom in the middle.
The Pie chose to use Taylor Adams in a negating role on former teammate Dayne Beams and it proved highly effective, while Beams still collected 33 disposals the pressure put on him by Adams restricted him from having a serious impact on the game.
Jarryd Blair, Steele Sidebottom, Travis Cloke and Jesse White each kicked multiple goals for the Magpies, while Taylor Adams had 8 clearances and Brodie Grundy recorded 31 hitouts, battling manfully against an experienced duo of Stefan Martin and Matthew Leuenberger.
Sidebottom unfortunately is likely to miss the next few weeks after suffering a thumb injury.
Tom Langdon however was the last gasp hero, recording several important possessions in the final minutes to prevent the Lions from completing a comeback win.
For the Lions captain Tom Rockliff was excellent early on but left the ground in the third term with suspected broken ribs after coping a knee in the chest from Travis Varcoe.
In the end it was Daniel Rich in his first game back from an ACL injury who was the hero, he recorded 29 disposals for the game and kicked two goals in the final quarter to very nearly bring the Lions back from the brink.
Allen Christensen and Mitch Robinson impressed for their new club, while Josh Green – last year’s leading goalkicker for the Lions – kicked two crucial goals but could’ve done so much more, as he scored just 2.3 from six shots on goal.
Debutant Jaden McGrath was busy early for the Lions with eight disposals in the first quarter, but faded to record just six more for the rest of the game. In a perfect world it probably would’ve been him, rather than an injured Rockliff, who wore the sub vest.
The Magpies own debutant, Jordan de Goey, spent only a little time on ground after coming on as the sub, and didn’t have the greatest debut. He recorded five disposals, but also three clangers and two frees against.
Both sides will take positives out of this match. A win is a win and the Magpies will be happy to have one, especially given that it was over Dayne Beams, the man who spurned them.
However, while the Lions didn’t get to taste victory, they’ll be very pleased with the way they fought back in the second half, and will take a lot of positives out of the game.
Brisbane 11.8.74 def. by Collingwood 12.14.86
Saturday night’s match between the Brisbane Lions and Collingwood Magpies at the Gabba has some heat to it after a tumultuous off-season. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 7.20pm (AEDT).
Arguably the biggest player move of the off-season was the trade of Dayne Beams, former All-Australian, premiership winner and best and fairest winner, from Collingwood to Brisbane in exchange for picks 5 and 25, and Jack Crisp.
The trade was made after a lengthy stand off in which Collingwood first set and then reneged upon an ultimatum that they would trade Beams elsewhere if the Lions did not propose a suitable trade by a certain deadline.
Safe to say that the whole affair left a bad taste in the mouths of more than a few Collingwood supporters – Beams will get his fair share of boos, though probably less than he would if the game was being played in Melbourne.
However, in addition to unveiling Beams for the first time the Lions are also displaying former Cat Allen Christensen and former Blue Mitch Robinson, who also joined the club in October last year.
Lastly, small midfielder/forward Jaden McGrath is debuting for the club after being selected at pick 73 in last year’s draft. The match is also Tom Rockliff’s first as captain.
The Magpies have trade acquisitions of their own to show off. Crisp, who joined the club through the Beams deal, will play his first game as a Magpie, as will Travis Varcoe, who joined the club in the trade period last year after 138 games and two premierships with Geelong.
The Magpies are also debuting the player they drafted at pick number five last year – a pick they received from the Lions – Jordan de Goey, a 187-centimetre midfielder who impressed in the NAB Challenge.
The Beams affair makes this match one of the most exciting of the round, and one of the hardest to tip – can Brisbane’s new look midfield provide a win, or will Collingwood get some revenge on a former favourite son?
Most pundits have the Lions ahead but I think it’s pretty even at this stage. I’m tipping the Lions to get across the line, mostly due to home ground advantage. Brisbane by 12 points.
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