A defiant Collingwood booked its place in week two of the AFL finals series with a one-point win over the West Coast Eagles in a gripping encounter at Optus Stadium.
Given little chance by punters and pundits alike, the Magpies led at every change and resisted a final quarter West Coast rally to stun the football world.
Dubbed the ‘Dirty Pies’ during the week, Nathan Buckley’s side would’ve been more aptly named the ‘Tall Pies’ following the inclusion of Brodie Grundy, Darcy Cameron, and Mason Cox.
The selection shock paid dividends in the first term with Cox kicking three goals from three big marks, reminiscent of his outing against Richmond in the 2018 preliminary final.
While Grundy and Cameron won the hit outs, the Eagles won the centre clearances, paving a way to stay in the contest.
After a quiet first quarter, Tim Kelly made an immediate impact in the second, winning the first centre clearance and drilling the ball to Josh Kennedy, who kicked truly to reduce the margin to 10-points.
It was the strength of West Coast’s twin towers Kennedy and Jack Darling which proved difficult for Collingwood’s defence, and if not for an uncharacteristic Kennedy miss on the half time siren, the Eagles would’ve held the lead at the main break.
The third term began the same way as the second with Oscar Allen converting within a minute from a centre bounce clearance to give his side the lead.
Interestingly, it was Darcy Cameron who started in the ruck, leaving Brodie Grundy consigned to the bench.
Despite only 63% game time, the 2019 All Australian stood up in key moments, with a crucial tackle on Darling late in the third quarter and two contested field marks in the final term.
The two sides traded goals in the third before a late Collingwood double via Will Hoskin-Elliott and Brody Mihocek gave the away side a 10-point lead.
Grundy watched on again at the start of the final term as Liam Ryan jump-started West Coast’s fightback with another goal within a minute.
With their season on the line, the Eagles trapped the ball in their forward half and maintained centre clearance dominance early, but it was Collingwood’s speed off half-back which eventually cut through.
The injection of Jamie Elliott into the centre swung the clearance tide Collingwood’s way late, with Levi Greenwood helping to quell Tim Kelly’s influence.
Mihocek halted the Eagles’ run of five scoring shots with a running goal from seemingly nowhere and slotted another late in the term following a Jordan De Goey miracle snap to put his side 13 points up.
Goals to Kennedy and Darling brought the Eagles to within a point as both sets of fans began to wonder if Dom Sheed bob up.
They looked destined to score again on the charge with 50 seconds remaining, but a Taylor Adams smother on Tom Cole allowed the Pies to regain possession and run down the clock to record a win for the ages.