Just when Pies fans thought their preliminary final win over Richmond couldn’t get any sweeter…
Captain Scott Pendlebury has starred in the last quarter and led his team to a gritty 16-point AFL win over Essendon at the MCG.
Popular Magpie Steele Sidebottom celebrated his 200th game with two goals in Sunday’s 12.6 (78) to 9.8 (62) win.
It is Collingwood’s seventh-straight win and they retained second spot on the ladder, while the Bombers are two games plus percentage outside the eight.
Jordan De Goey kicked three goals, two of them in the last term.
After Bombers forward Mitch Brown kicked the opening goal of the last quarter, Mark Baguley had another set shot that would have put Essendon 12 points up.
But he missed and De Goey kicked a goal moments later.
Brendon Goddard gave away a free and a 50m penalty to Sidebottom, who kicked a booming goal to put the Magpies back in front – the eighth lead change of the match.
Collingwood kicked two of the next three goals to seal the win.
Pendlebury took the game by the scruff of the neck in the last term and racked up 14 possessions.
While the Magpies took out a pulsating game, their heavy injury toll continued as Flynn Appleby did a hamstring in the last quarter and Will Hoskin-Elliott played out the game despite an early knee injury.
Essendon’s Patrick Ambrose also suffered a hamstring injury in the bleak, wet conditions.
Essendon suffered a major pre-game blow when small forward Orazio Fantasia was ruled out with a sore groin.
Jake Long came in for his first AFL game since the end of the 2016 season.
Collingwood had a four-goal run in the opening quarter to lead by 18 points and put the Bombers under early pressure.
But Essendon steadied, with Dyson Heppell and Andrew McGrath on top in the midfield, while Michael Hurley and Cale Hooker were solid in defence.
The Bombers kicked 3.3 to three behinds in the second term and when they posted two of the opening three goals in the third term, were looking dangerous.
But Collingwood hit back with two goals, before Essendon pounced on a midfield turnover to go up by a point at three-quarter time – the sixth lead change of the match.
Essendon could have kicked another goal at the end of the quarter, but Shaun McKernan took too long having his shot.
He passed off to Devon Smith, whose long-range kick was blocked on the goal line and Collingwood defended grimly to stop any score before the siren sounded.