Defensive pressure all important

During the week, with their premiership defence on the line, everything about Collingwood had been questioned, including their hardness. They responded by making defensive pressure the theme leading into this grand final re-match against the Lions, and it saved them. They weren’t in control for long periods of this game, and still made plenty of mistakes. But they were tougher, more desperate, and when the game was there to be won, once again they were better in the big moments. No one exemplified that more than Jamie Elliott, whose four goals, including two clutch last-quarter efforts, were complemented by a phenomenal workrate.

Jamie Elliott celebrates a goal.

Jamie Elliott celebrates a goal.Credit: Getty Images

The Lions have big problems

Last week, it was the Magpies who were under the gun with three straight losses imperilling their premiership defence. Now, the heat comes on last year’s runners-up. The Lions have big problems. Losing their most creative ball user, Keidean Coleman, for the year was a shattering blow in round one; losing Tom Doedee to another ACL injury during the week – ahead of what was to be his first game for the club – was shattering. With Conor McKenna also nursing a hamstring injury, the Lions’ ball movement from halfback isn’t anything like the lethal weapon it was in 2023. Two losses at the Gabba, where they didn’t drop a single game last year, hurts even more.

Pendlebury’s rare mistake?

Scott Pendlebury is the epitome of a ball player – he’s never been suspended in his entire 386-game career – and for him to hit anyone, at any time off the ball is near unthinkable. So who knows what he was thinking when he gave Lachie Neale an old-style “tummy tap” behind play late in the third quarter? It was done with an open hand to the solar plexus, and while it’s unlikely to cross the impact threshold to warrant a week on the sidelines, it was certainly out of character and will raise eyebrows.

Collingwood have revived their season and sent the Brisbane Lions’ further south with a 20-point win in a scrappy, fluctuating grand final re-match at the Gabba.

The Magpies were kept scoreless in the second term but weren’t made to pay and the premiers roared back to win 14.8 (92) to 10.12 (72), improving to 3-1 on Thursday night.

Brisbane, who lost by four points to Collingwood at the MCG decider last year, are now 0-3 in their worst start since they lost their first eight games in 2018.

Unbeaten at the Gabba last year, the Lions are 0-2 at the venue in 2024. History is still against both sides, North Melbourne in 1975 the last team to start 0-3 and win the flag.

Brody Mihoceck (three goals), Jamie Elliot (four) and Bobby Hill (three) dangerous while Jack Crisp’s long-range effort out of a pack, against the flow, helped extinguish Brisbane’s final-quarter charge.

Collingwood veteran Scott Pendlebury, who has avoided suspension in 387 games, will face scrutiny after his open-handed slap to the stomach of Lachie Neale left the Lions co-captain doubled over in pain.

Last year’s Norm Smith Medallist Hill tormented the Brisbane defence again in the first quarter in front of a full house of 34,022 fans.

Bobby Hill of the Magpies.

Bobby Hill of the Magpies.Credit: AFL Photos / Getty Images

Both sides were error-riddled, dropping simple marks and missing targets in borderline comical scenes given the quality of their last encounter.

The Magpies’ speed told though, their ball movement too slick and direct as Hill popped up for three of five goals as the visitors threatened to tear the game open.

Dayne Zorko’s (30 disposals) lone hand showed the way though and senior teammates Hugh McCluggage and Neale (35 touches, 10 clearances) responded with powerful second quarters to help turn the tide.

McCluggage (29 disposals) had nine touches and Neale five clearances in the one-sided term, Neale booting an early goal in his return from a hamstring injury.

AAP

Defensive pressure all important

During the week, with their premiership defence on the line, everything about Collingwood had been questioned, including their hardness. They responded by making defensive pressure the theme leading into this grand final re-match against the Lions, and it saved them. They weren’t in control for long periods of this game, and still made plenty of mistakes. But they were tougher, more desperate, and when the game was there to be won, once again they were better in the big moments. No one exemplified that more than Jamie Elliott, whose four goals, including two clutch last-quarter efforts, were complemented by a phenomenal workrate.

Jamie Elliott celebrates a goal.

Jamie Elliott celebrates a goal.Credit: Getty Images

The Lions have big problems

Last week, it was the Magpies who were under the gun with three straight losses imperilling their premiership defence. Now, the heat comes on last year’s runners-up. The Lions have big problems. Losing their most creative ball user, Keidean Coleman, for the year was a shattering blow in round one; losing Tom Doedee to another ACL injury during the week – ahead of what was to be his first game for the club – was shattering. With Conor McKenna also nursing a hamstring injury, the Lions’ ball movement from halfback isn’t anything like the lethal weapon it was in 2023. Two losses at the Gabba, where they didn’t drop a single game last year, hurts even more.

Pendlebury’s rare mistake?

Scott Pendlebury is the epitome of a ball player – he’s never been suspended in his entire 386-game career – and for him to hit anyone, at any time off the ball is near unthinkable. So who knows what he was thinking when he gave Lachie Neale an old-style “tummy tap” behind play late in the third quarter? It was done with an open hand to the solar plexus, and while it’s unlikely to cross the impact threshold to warrant a week on the sidelines, it was certainly out of character and will raise eyebrows.

Scott Pendlebury has spoken briefly about his “love tap” on Lachie Neale.

The Collingwood veteran said Neale told him he got fined for a similar action in the past.

“The retaliator always gets caught – Mum always taught me that. And I got sucked in tonight,” he told Channel Seven.

Scott Pendlebury hits out.

Scott Pendlebury hits out.Credit: Channel 7

Victory for Collingwood. Impressive. Brilliant last quarter.

Collingwood 14.8 (92) defeat Brisbane 10.12 (72)

Massive win tonight for road warriors Collingwood.

This one from Kai Lohmann.

It’s well into time-on now and probably too late for the Lions.

Brisbane need four goals for the win. Super unlikely. Less than five minutes to play.

Brody Mihocek drags one in … his third.

That’s quality. This will be remembered as a classic win by Collingwood.

Collingwood 14.7 (91) lead Brisbane 9.11 (65)

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