Mag­pies win an­other one

Townsville Bulletin - - Bizfi Nd -

REIGN­ING premiers Colling­wood with­stood a spir­ited Essendon fight­back to win only their sec­ond AFL pre­sea­son t i t l e, beat­ing t he Bombers by 22 points.

Essendon trailed by just three points at 10 min­utes into the last quar­ter be­fore the Mag­pies pow­ered away to win 1.15.9 ( 108) to 0.13.8 ( 86) at Eti­had Sta­dium last night.

C o l l i n g w o o d d e f e n d e r Heath Shaw won the Michael Tuck medal as best afield, while Leon Davis was also out­stand­ing as he con­tin­ues to rel­ish his new role as a de­fender.

Chris Dawes and Andrew Krak­ouer kicked three goals apiece for Colling­wood in front of 45,304 fans.

Essendon for­ward Michael Hur­ley was cru­cial in their come­back af­ter they looked gone early in the third term and he starred with three goals.

Colling­wood’s only pre­sea­son pre­mier­ship came in 1979 and it is also the first for t h r e e - t i m e p r e m i e r s h i p coach Mick Malt­house in his 27-year coach­ing ca­reer.

Essendon were in trou­ble at times, but they stead­ied im­pres­sively in the sec­ond half to cap an en­cour­ag­ing pre-sea­son un­der new coach James Hird.

They trailed by 23 points at the last break be­fore Hur­ley kicked two out of three goals as they nearly took the lead.

But the ‘ Pies, the pre-game favourites, stead­ied with a Cloke’s ac­cu­rate snap right on the siren ap­peared to blunt the come­back.

In the first half Colling­wood had given Essendon a mas­ter class in de­fen­sive pres­sure and they took a con­vinc­ing 26-point lead at half­time.

While Shaw was bril­liant off half back, Davis and Krak­ouer con­tin­ued to be great early-sea­son sto­ries.

Davis was dropped for last year’s grand fi­nal re­play, which Colling­wood won for their first day pre­mier­ship since 1990. Davis has played nearly all his 204-game ca­reer in the mid­field or as a small for­ward but has im­pressed through the NAB Cup as a back­man.

Krak­ouer is loom­ing as the AFL’s feel­good story this y e a r . Aft e r s p e ndi ng 1 6 months in jail, the for­mer Rich­mond small f or­ward starred in WA foot­ball last year and Colling­wood then gave Krak­ouer a sec­ond chance at se­nior level.

Colling­wood and Essendon fielded strong sides, with Mag­pies pre­mier­ship de­fender Ben Reid a late with­drawal with an an­kle in­jury.

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