Collingwood 3.3 8.11 9.14 12.19 (91)
St Kilda 4.1 5.2 11.6 13.7 (85)
Collingwood has avoided another famous draw against St Kilda on Saturday night, triumphing in a ferocious last quarter marred with controversy.
After missing plenty of opportunities the Magpies held strong, but the game will most likely go down as a big umpiring blunder rather than focusing on the strong performances throughout.
St Kilda fans will have every right to be furious after the games completion. With 23 seconds on the clock the ball was pumped into the Saints’ forward 50, but Stephen Milne appeared to give away a free kick to Harry O’Brien as the ball sailed towards an open goal with Saints players streaming through.
On the replay, the free kick clearly wasn’t there, and commentators across the country expressed their disbelief.
On the channel 7 broadcast Matthew Richardson simply said “no” upon watching the replay, while Brian Taylor said “no free kick”.
After the umpires ‘put the whistle away’ during Friday nights clash between Hawthorn and Geelong in the dying stages, it creates an odd conundrum of consistency.But, to his credit, St Kilda coach Scott Watters refused to be drawn into the debate after the game. He was seen slamming the phone down in the box, but commented on the incident after the game.
“You’re assuming my reaction was to the free kick. It’s an emotional game and there are pivotal moments throughout a game”.
Nathan Buckley was equally frustrated. “There’s plenty of things going through your mind. Not a lot [is printable]”.
“A bit of Benny Hill music could have been playing in the background. We just seemed to make every little error we could to lose the game of footy”.
The Pies victory was spurred on by some outstanding individual performances and moments. Dayne Beams continued his electrifying form of the season (32 disposals and a goal) while Dane Swan (31 disposals, 2 goals), Steele Sidebottom (32 disposals, 6 marks) and Dale Thomas (26 disposals, 2 goals, including a brilliant effort in the final term) marshalled the midfield with authority.
Magpies ruckman Darren Jolly has been down on form for a lot of the year, but bounced back to have one of his best games of 2012, with 37 hit-outs, 6 tackles and 2 goals.
Livewire Saints small Ahmed Saad kicked 3, while Stephen Milne overcame a slow start to also finish with 3. Nick Dal Santo followed up from his brilliant game last weekend (25 disposals, 7 tackles, 2 goals) while Lenny Hayes put in yet another great performance (28 disposals, 7 marks).
Saad kicked the first two of the game and the Saints held a narrow quarter time lead, before the Magpies capitalised on Jolly’s tapwork to boot the first four of the second, taking a 27 point lead into half-time after a strong quarter.
In a see-sawing contest, the Saints kicked 6 goals to 1 in the third term, setting up the tantalising finale.
Harry O’Brien’s kick from the last minute free went out on the full, but it was just enough as the Saints simply did not have enough time to get the goal back.
Collingwood defender Ben Reid overcame a heavy knock from Justin Koschitzke to comfortably win their battle. It wasn’t a good night for big forwards overall, with Travis Cloke also very well held up the other end, kicking a solitary goal.
3. Darren Jolly (COLL)
2. Nick Dal Santo (STK)
1. Dayne Beams (COLL)
Collingwood: Jolly 2, Dawes 2, Swan 2, Thomas 2, Wellingham, Fasolo, Cloke, Beams
St Kilda: Saad 3, Milne 3, Dal Santo 2, Riewoldt 2, Armitage, McEvoy, Koschitzke
Collingwood: Jolly, Beams, Swan, Thomas, Pendlebury, Sidebottom
St Kilda: Goddard, McEvoy, Hayes, Saad, Montagna, Fisher, Dal Sa