VFL 2018: Collingwood defeats Port Melbourne by two points in thrilling match at North Port Oval
Paul Amy, Caulfield Glen Eira Leader
August 12, 2018 10:30am
GOING into the match their positions on the ladder and their 9-6 records showed there was little between them.
And after an enthralling final quarter played in heavy rain, only two points separated Collingwood and Port Melbourne at North Port Oval on Saturday.
It went the Pies’ way, after they held off a desperate and doughty Borough.
The home team had a good chance to grab the lead in the 24th minute when Guy Dickson was taken high and received a free kick.
But his kick with a heavy ball and from about 25m out slipped wide and the Pies stayed three points in front.
Shortly before the siren Port onballer Mack Rivett took a snap on his left foot, but it was also astray and so Collingwood made off with a pulsating victory that kept its top-four hopes on the boil.
Cracks of thunder and lightning in the third quarter preceded the arrival of hail that covered the ground and rain that soaked it. It turned the match into a slog, every metre gained in the wet coveted.
Port had taken the lead for the first time midway through the term after a goal from skipper Jordan Lisle.
Guy Dickson of Port Melbourne wins a ruck contest.
It was fortunate to be in front given that Collingwood had much the better of the first half, as the forward entries — 37 to 20 — showed. But the Maggies didn’t make it count on the scoreboard, just as they hadn’t in the previous round against Box Hill Hawks.
Port kicked back through Blake Pearson 15 seconds into the second half and twice through Lisle.
But Collingwood levelled the score when Gus Borthwick slotted a set-shot and then slipped away again when Jarryd Blair put away a snap and Andrew Gallucci took a free kick and 50m penalty from former teammate Ryan Pendlebury.
They were telling blows given that only one goal, from Port’s Dylan Conway, was scored in the slush in the final quarter.
Gallucci had also kicked three goals in the first half; his match haul of four marked him out as one of the best players on the ground.
In that group too were youngsters Nathan Murphy (in defence), Sam McLarty (up forward) and comeback man Alex Woodward.
Callan Wellings, Sean Hetherington and Lachie Tardrew were influential too; throw in players like Woodward, Borthwick, Jack Hellier, Marty Hore, Matty Smith, Michael Chippendale and Tom Jok, and the Maggies have quite a VFL list. It explains why they’re still ticking over despite the club’s injury list being as long as Lulie St.
How about Hetherington? The former Williamstown dasher played in the Riddell league last year and, deciding on a VFL return, hooked up with former Seagulls football manager Chris Dixon at Collingwood. He’s had a terrific season and was at the heart of the action again, particularly in the first half when he kicked a goal and initiated another when he darted in for an intercept mark at half back.
Disappointed Port players come from the ground.
Port was always chasing in the match, but it did so doggedly. It fell 22 points behind in the first quarter, only to rally and cut the margin to eight points at quarter time.
Two goals from the slippery Gallucci in the second term again gave the Pies a handy break at the half.
The rain changed the conditions and in the final term Port laid siege to its goal. But Collingwood held on in a match that, with its high stakes and tension, had the feel of a final.
The Borough had outstanding defenders in Dylan Van Unen, Lucas Cook and Damian Mascitti, and the pace of Shannen Lange served them well too.
But with two rounds remaining last season’s premier cannot make the top four and will have to launch its defence through an elimination final.
Collingwood 5.5, 7.9, 10.9, 10.10 (70)
Port Melbourne 4.3, 5.5, 8.9, 9.14 (68)
Collingwood goals: A. Gallucci 4, S. Hetherington, J. Blair, J. Smith, L. Tardrew, G. Borthwick, M. Chippendale.
Best: L. Tardrew, N. Murphy, S. McLarty, M. Hore, J. Hellier, G. Borthwick.
Port Melbourne goals: B. Pearson 2, J. Lisle 2, M. Rivett, D. Conway, E. Templeton, K. Haretuku, C. Searle.
Best: L. Cook, D. Mascitti, D. Van Unen, M. Wooffindin, S. Lange, D. Conway