Pies tame Lions at rainswept Gabba - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pies tame Lions at rainswept Gabba

By Laine Clark 17/04/2009 11:43:31 PM Comments (0)

It had been 10 months since Anthony Rocca last played an AFL game for Collingwood - and it showed against the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba.

While the big fella may have come up short, small forward Paul Medhurst stood tall to set up Collingwood's 13.12 (90) to 10.13 (73) win.

After finally being cleared of an ankle injury, Rocca ran out for the first time since round 13 last season - much to the relief of an out of sorts Magpies.

Following an inconsistent start to the season, Collingwood needed all the encouragement they could get - especially against Brisbane.

The Lions officially had the wood on their 2002-03 grand final victims, winning 15 of the 19 previous clashes.

Obviously Medhurst had had enough.

Rocca's return may have proved to be an anti-climax - the out of form key forward finished with just nine touches and a solitary behind for the night.

But Medhurst ensured a memorable evening for the black and white faithful with a stirring four-goal performance in front of a rain-drenched 34,912-strong crowd.

Having trailed by 22 points at one stage in the second term, Collingwood hit the lead for the first time thanks to Medhurst's two-goal burst in as many minutes early in the third.

Although the Lions wrestled away a four-point advantage by the final break, Medhurst's fourth goal from a clever snap at a difficult angle again handed the Magpies the advantage.

And they didn't look back.

Collingwood then banged in three unanswered goals to put away the error-riddled hosts.

It was a major boost for the Pies who were without key trio Nick Maxwell, Heath Shaw, who were suspended and broken leg victim Ben Johnson.

The Lions were roaring when they jumped to a 22-point lead midway through the second quarter thanks to Bradd Dalziell's second major for the term.

But momentum quickly swung Collingwood's way with two quick goals reducing the damage to just 9.4 (58) to 7.6 (48) by the main break.

But just as the Magpies looked to take flight the visitors were grounded by a desperate Lions, reducing the match to a desperate arm wrestle in the wet.

Michael Rischitelli's goal wrestled back the advantage for the hosts and although Jonathan Brown missed a point-blank goalscoring chance on the run, the Lions led 10.8 (68) to 9.10 (64) at the final interval.

The Lions jumped to a 6.2 (38) to 2.4 (16) lead at the first break after a 50m penalty on the siren gifted Troy Selwood a second goal for the term.

Magpies coach Mick Malthouse was clearly seething over the decision when he reached the ground to address his troops, taking the opportunity to eyeball the umpire.

Asked what the penalty was for, an "angry" Malthouse said: "No one knows".

Malthouse was still pleased with the return of Rocca who was blunted by heavy flooding.

"It was encouraging. He had been out of football for a number of months...it wasn't until late January that he eventually got back to his feet.

"It's a credit to him. He adds extra steel (to the team)."

On Medhurst, Malthouse said: "Paul has the capacity...that if his opponent is not right he will chop them up."

Malthouse - linked to the Richmond post - is believed to be sitting down with the Collingwood hierarchy to get a clearer picture of his Magpies prospects by June.

Asked if he was under pressure to perform, Malthouse said: "I am under pressure every game we play".

Malthouse was at his reserved best when asked if he was proud of his side's fightback against the Lions.

"I was not proud. We were more diligent. We were able to put pressure where we needed to."

Meanwhile, the Lions were sweating on the fitness of ruckman Jamie Charman and Jed Adcock (both ankle).

Charman had only come into the side to replace No.1 ruckman Matthew Leuenberger (knee) who is out for three months.

Lions coach Michael Voss said the loss of Adcock - who had racked up 25 touches by three quarter time before being injured - was "critical".

Voss also took exception to what he clearly thought was heavy handed treatment of his star forward Jonathan Brown (two goals) and Daniel Bradshaw (one behind).

"I will seek clarification with Jeff (AFL umpires boss Jeff Gieschen) about exactly what defenders can do against forwards - just for my own piece of mind," he said.

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