Collingwood, Essendon to square off - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Collingwood, Essendon to square off

By John Salvado 25/08/2003 05:52:47 AM Comments (0)

An AFL home and away season dominated as never before by the interstate clubs concludes next weekend with that most traditional of fixtures - Collingwood versus Essendon at the MCG.

The two standard-bearers of Victorian football in 2003 also happen to be the best-supported teams in the code's heartland.

As such, the Magpies will complete their finals buildup on Friday night by playing before the two biggest crowds of the season in successive weeks and different states.

The future of the national competition was there for all to see on Friday night when 72,393 fans - the biggest-ever attendance for an AFL game outside Melbourne - saw the Magpies down Sydney 14.15 (99) to 12.9 (81) at Telstra Stadium.

"That 70,000 was super for the club and super for footy," said Sydney coach Paul Roos after seeing his club drop from fourth to sixth, endangering its hopes of a home final.

"It was a good night, other than the result."

The victory lifted Collingwood to outright second place behind minor premier Port Adelaide.

Another win next weekend means the Magpies could advance to a second successive grand final without having to leave Melbourne again.

The stakes are just as high for seventh-placed Essendon, which could sneak into the top four and secure the double chance with a victory.

Collingwood and Essendon have both won eight of their last nine matches.

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