Magpies stumble to minor premiership - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies stumble to minor premiership

By Guy Hand 21/08/2010 11:10:38 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood have wrapped up top spot on the AFL ladder, overcoming a brave Adelaide for a thrilling three-point win at the MCG on Saturday night.

After three quarters of Magpie malaise, it took a fourth-quarter flurry to salvage an unconvincing 6.18 (54) to 7.9 (51) win for the premiership favourites.

It means Collingwood will finish top of the ladder regardless of the results of the final home-and-away round next weekend.

Adelaide, who are out of finals contention, deservedly led at the first three changes and looked on track for a huge upset.

The Crows stunned the Pies with a ferocious tackling effort and pressure all round the ground to hold them to just three goals in the first half and four to three-quarter time.

Collingwood's usually free-scoring forward line misfired badly - players missing from everywhere as the Pies registered one of their lowest scores of the year.

It took some Alan Didak magic to lift the Pies off the canvas - a dribbled left-foot goal from a forward pocket at the 17-minute mark of the final quarter levelling the scores.

Then the Pies registered three successive behinds - two of which should have been goals to Travis Cloke and Dale Thomas - to edge their noses in front.

Midfielder Sharrod Wellingham's late behind effectively put the game beyond the Crows.

Thomas and Leigh Brown finished with two goals each for the Pies, while Taylor Walker booted two for Adelaide.

Thomas and midfielder Scott Pendlebury were outstanding for the Pies.

Adelaide tagger Brent Reilly limited Brownlow Medal favourite Dane Swan's effectiveness, while Crows running defender Graham Johncock and midfielder Scott Thompson, who gathered 29 touches, were also excellent for the Crows.

The win may also come at a cost for the Magpies, with Didak nursing a shoulder injury after the match.

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse accused his players of being "too cute" and believed they weren't as switched on as they should have been for the match.

"When you've been in the game as long as I have, you know when things are not what they should be," Malthouse said.

"It's not a tap. You can't expect to turn it on before you run down the race.

"Football or any sport, if you're not right up, right on and ready to go, your opposition is a worthy contender and they could have put us away."

Adelaide coach Neil Craig was thrilled with his players' efforts but praised Collingwood's ability to lift in the final quarter as the difference.

"It was a great game of footy by both clubs," Craig said.

"Probably just some experience (was the difference). They were very good in the last quarter and every time they went forward they nearly scored every time.

"I couldn't have asked any more from the players."

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