K rock Football

Magpies prolong Cats’ finals woes

COLLINGWOOD has extended Geelong’s September struggles, defeating the minor premiers by 10 points in their AFL qualifying final at the MCG.

Prime mover Taylor Adams and ruckman Brodie Grundy starred on Friday night as the Pies surged to an early lead and held on for a 9.7 (61) to 7.9 (51) win, consigning the Cats to a week-one finals loss for the third straight year.

Geelong will face premiers West Coast in a do-or-die semi-final at the MCG next week, while the Magpies will host a preliminary final in two weeks time.

But the Pies have major injury worries after star forward Jordan De Goey suffered hamstring tightness in the second quarter.

De Goey had been playing his first game in six weeks after also suffering a hamstring injury in round 19 and his fitness will be a talking point.

Veteran utility Levi Greenwood also missed the second half with a knee injury.

Geelong will be sweating on the fitness of Mitch Duncan after he was ruled out at halftime with a knee issue.

It was largely a Collingwood domination in front of 93,436 fans, although the Pies failed to score in the final term and late goals to Tim Kelly and Patrick Dangerfield kept it interesting.

Dangerfield was superb but the other star Cats were subdued, with Gary Ablett well-beaten and frustrated throughout by Brayden Maynard.

Tom Hawkins was held goalless and neither Kelly nor Joel Selwood were particularly influential.

The Cats were slow off the mark and trailed seven goals to one midway through the second quarter.

Their issues arguably began before the opening siren when they made a late, weather-influenced change to their 22.

Rhys Stanley was dropped and Sam Menegola recalled, leaving Mark Blicavs to shoulder the ruck load against All-Australian Grundy.

But the forecast rain dried up and Grundy dominated, racking up 48 hitouts and 21 disposals for a Collingwood side that had winners across every line.

Adams (26 disposals, two goals) and Steele Sidebottom reigned supreme in the midfield and Jamie Elliott (two majors) caused headaches up forward.

Jeremy Howe (23 disposals, 13 marks) was superb down back, along with Jordan Roughead and Darcy Moore who had been under a fitness cloud.

There were danger signs early for the Cats, whose defensive errors paved the way for dangerous goalsneaks Jaidyn Stephenson and Elliott to hit the scoreboard early.

Playing in his first game back from a 10-week suspension for betting on Collingwood games, Stephenson looked to have lost none of his touch.

The Pies threatened to put the game on ice before successive goals to Brandon Parfitt, Gryan Miers and Zach Tuohy reduced the halftime margin to 19 points.

Neither team was able to seize the advantage in an arm-wrestle third quarter before Magpies skipper Scott Pendlebury, playing in his 300th AFL game, roved a classy goal to extend their lead and wrestle back the momentum.

© AAP 2019

COLLINGWOOD 4.2 7.5 9.7 9.7 (61)

GEELONG 1.2 4.4 5.6 7.9 (51)

Goals: Collingwood: J Elliott 2 T Adams 2 J Howe J Stephenson S Pendlebury S Sidebottom W Hoskin-Elliott. Geelong: B Parfitt G Miers G Rohan P Dangerfield S Menegola T Kelly Z Tuohy. Umpires: Simon Meredith, Ray Chamberlain, Robert O’Gorman.

Official Crowd: 93,436 at MCG.