Magpies recover to slay Saints
COLLINGWOOD came off the ropes at the MCG to knock out St Kilda in the last quarter for a 41-point AFL win.
The Saints paid dearly for their ongoing problems in attack as the Magpies kicked 6.6 to 1.0 in the final term yesterday afternoon and won 17.10 (112) to 10.11 (71).
St Kilda had the ball in their forward half for 75 per cent of the second term — the most by any team this season — but could only manage a wasteful 2.6.
When they should have been four or five goals up, they trailed by five points at halftime.
Instead, Collingwood are the first team this year to win six games in a row. The Magpies also triumphed without late withdrawals Jordan De Goey and Darcy Moore, with coach Nathan Buckley saying they should miss only one game. Tom Langdon is doubtful for Friday night’s SCG match against Sydney after sitting out most of the match with a knee injury.
Travis Varcoe was reported for a rough conduct after his bump somehow caught Ed Phillips and his brother Tom but, at most, it should be a fine rather than a suspension.
“It was a really mature response to the situation, it was led well and it was pretty sustained over that hour of footy, culminating in a pretty dominant last quarter,” Buckley said.
“We were on our heels for a fair while — we were on the ropes for large periods of the first half.”
“The composure and wherewithal to be able to absorb that, and then come back with a little bit more on the return serve, was impressive.” Reigning club best-and-fairest winner Steele Sidebottom led the way with another outstanding performance on a wing.
His running goal in the last quarter, when he wove around two opponents, was the death knell for the Saints.
Jaidyn Stephenson capped the last-quarter romp with a torpedo punt from outside 50m — Buckley joked that it would keep Malcolm Blight happy for the next week.
Key forward Ben Reid booted three goals and was massive for the Magpies when they were under pressure, while Brody Mihocek kicked four.
Perhaps jolted by opponent Rowan Marshall’s goal in the second term, star Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy was pivotal in the second half.
Jack Billings and Luke Dunstan were best for the Saints as Tim Membrey kicked four goals.
St Kilda’s Robbie Young kicked two majors in the third quarter to highlight his solid AFL debut.
“Just being able to finish our work has been a challenge but, having said all that, at threequarter time, the game was up for grabs,” said Saints coach Alan Richardson.
“The stuff that had given us the … opportunity to win the game, we fell away.” SAINTS