Sydney has resisted a final-quarter blitz from Collingwood to progress to next week’s AFL grand final by the slimmest of margins.
The Swans looked in control for the majority of the match, but through a four-goal-to-one final term in the Magpies’ favour, Craig McRae’s men again found a way to force a nail-biter.
In a hectic final five minutes, Collingwood got within one kick of completing the comeback but ran out of time as Sydney clinched the preliminary final 14.11 (95) to 14.10 (94) at the SCG.
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“And the Pies’ Cinderella story finally grinds to a halt,” said Channel 7 commentator Hamish McLachlan.
“It just doesn’t come much better than that. One of the best games of football you will ever see.”
It was the Swans who drew first blood when midfielder Luke Parker played on from the 50-metre before streaming toward goal and scoring on the run.
That was followed by the Magpies’ first move inside forward 50, with youngster Jack Ginnivan attracting a free kick for a high tackle.
Despite running around to straighten the angle, Ginnivan pushed the kick across the face, allowing the ball to be punched out by the Swans.
In winning the throw-in and transitioning the ball down the other end, Dylan Stephens made the Magpies pay, finishing off a slick end-to-end play.
Ensuing goals to Ryan Clarke and Tom Papley soon saw Sydney race out to a four-goal lead.
Will Hoskin-Elliott finally got the Magpies on the board with six minutes left in the opening term, before Jamie Elliot quickly made it back-to-back majors.
“A miracle at the SCG”
However, the Swans had an answer for everything.
Chad Warner kicked a sensational goal from a wicked angle late in the first quarter.
“A miracle at the SCG,” McLachlan said.
Lance Franklin had a chance to give the Swans another goal in the shadows of quarter-time, but he pushed it wide for a behind, giving the Swans a 21-point lead at the first break.
The Magpies won the first center clearance of the second term and moved the ball swiftly to Elliott who scored, taking no more than 30 seconds.
Papeley scores controversial goal
But the Swans responded, working the ball down the other end and finding Franklin with a booming kick to the top of the goal square.
This kicked off a seesawing affair as Franklin soon converted his second before Collingwood’s Beau McCreery hit back.
The Swans took a five-goal lead at the main break as key forward Sam Reid was substituted out of the match, unable to overcome an adductor complaint.
Collingwood jet fuels Pies’ hope late
Nick Daicos scored from a 50-metre penalty after the umpire penalized the Swans for delaying the play.
Medical substitute Nathan Kreuger then entered the match for the Magpies as Mason Cox was ruled out with an adductor injury.
The Swans took a 23-point lead into the final quarter but Collingwood won its first quarter of the night.
The visitors closed to within one point of the Swans and had one final foray inside 50 in the dying seconds, but a flooding Sydney defense suffocated any chance of Collingwood seizing a game-winning moment
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