A Collingwood player bends down with his hands on the ball as he tries to burst free as three GWS defenders watch.

Five quick hits — A maligned Collingwood superstar dominates, but an injury hits the Pies at the wrong time

Collingwood has prevailed in a preliminary final for the ages, beating GWS by a point as Jordan De Goey lit up a packed MCG.

But it’s not all good news for the Pies, with an injury to a key forward set to cause some grand final week headaches.

Here are five quick hits from an incredible final.

Jordan De Goey answers the bell

It took only a matter of seconds for Jordan De Goey to make his intentions known. He didn’t come to the MCG to muck around, this night was about to be his.

And so it proved from start to finish — well, until a little before the finish anyway.

Jordan de Goey’s brilliant performance went no small way towards winning the prelim final for Collingwood. (Getty Images: AFL Photos/Robert Cianflone)

De Goey somehow got stuck on the bench for the crucial final moments of the game, forced to watch on helplessly with the Pies unable to force an interchange to get him back on.

Luckily the result fell the Pies’ way, largely because of the immense influence De Goey wielded throughout the night. He was a titan at the contests, winning clearances and busting through tackles like few others in the league can.

It may have been the best game of Jordan De Goey’s career. Now next week will be the biggest.

Nick Daicos, just like he never left

It was just lovely to see him back out there, scurrying around and working his very unique brand of magic.

Craig McRae eased Nick Daicos back into this game after his lengthy injury lay-off, starting him on the bench and regularly running him off half-back.

A Collingwood player bends down with his hands on the ball as he tries to burst free as three GWS defenders watch.

Nick Daicos showed he was back from his injured knee, winning plenty of the ball and a number of key clearances for the Magpies.(Getty Images: AFL Photos/Dylan Burns)

But as the game went on, Daicos looked more and more like himself, and in the last quarter his was a cool head among the chaos.

He’s got more to give, and he will be one of the biggest factors on grand final day next Saturday. And hey, he might even be a Brownlow Medallist by then too.

Tom Green’s future can’t get much brighter

There isn’t much standing between Tom Green and the very, very top of this sport.

Green is an outstanding young footballer, and for a half of footy was the best player on the park in a huge preliminary final.

A GWS AFL player hugs a teammate as he celebrates his own goal in a final.

Tom Green’s dynamic play helped the Giants hit the front against Collingwood at the MCG.(Getty Images: Quinn Rooney)

The size of the man is obvious, as is his ability to win the hard ball in and under. But what is underrated about Green is his poise and composure, and his fantastic skills by foot.

If you took a dash of Patrick Cripps and mixed in just the slightest hint of Scott Pendlebury, you would get something resembling Tom Green. Those are outrageously big wraps, but there isn’t a whole lot this guy can’t do.

It was a tough night to take for GWS, but for the club as it is for Green, the sky is the limit.

All eyes on Dan McStay’s knee

No grand final week would be complete without at least one good injury cliffhanger to carry us through.

Unfortunately, if the body language of Dan McStay and his teammates are anything to go by, there might not be a twist ending to this one after all. The injury he suffered to his knee looks likely to be serious enough to keep him out next week.

Three Collingwood players gather around an injured teammate who is wearing his team jacket after a finals win.

Dan McStay (centre) was Collingwood’s leading goalkicker with two, but a knee injury puts him in doubt for the grand final.(AAP: Joel Carrett)

That would be a big blow, not just for McStay himself but for Collingwood’s forward line which for large periods on Friday night was carried by the former Lion.

We’ve seen medical miracles performed for grand finals in the past, so maybe all hope is not lost for McStay, but either way it looms as the biggest question mark around the Pies ahead of the decider.

The black and white army plays its part

Can you quantify the impact of a crowd on a game of football? Even if you are at your most conservative, surely a crowd of more than 97,000 fans has to be worth at least one point?

If that is true, then so is McRae’s post-game declaration that Collingwood would not have won if not for the black-and-white army.

A crowd of fans wearing black and white celebrate in the stands, with several Collingwood signs among them.

The Collingwood Army was out in force at the MCG, as the crowd came close to 100,000 despite only a small contingent of GWS fans.(Getty Images: AFL Photos/Dylan Burns)

Almost as impressive as the noise those fans made is the way the Giants stood up to them all in defiance — GWS were not overawed by the occasion, not one little bit.

But now the MCG has a week to brace itself for what awaits next Saturday. If it’s Brisbane, another largely partisan crowd will look to scream the opposition into submission. If it’s Carlton, the stadium might not be big enough for the two of them.



Author: Russell White