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Classic Magpies comeback crushes Carlton’s AFL finals dream

Collingwood has pulled off another miracle AFL win, consigning rival Carlton to the ultimate heartbreak as the Blues were knocked out of the top eight.

August 21, 2022
By Oliver Caffrey
21 August 2022

Heartbroken Carlton has been denied a drought-breaking AFL finals berth by another Collingwood heist in a classic climax to the home-and-away season.

The Blues led by 24 points at three-quarter-time after an eight-goal third term but Collingwood stormed home yet again to snatch a thrilling one-point win.

“I just can’t believe it, I really can’t. We’ve found another way to win.”

Collingwood coach Craig McRae

Collingwood star Jamie Elliott kicked a classic match-winner for the second time at the MCG this season as the Magpies prevailed 11.9 (75) to 10.14 (74).

Elliott had the 88,287 fans – the biggest AFL crowd since the 2019 grand final – stunned as he slotted a running goal at the 26-minute mark, following on from a miracle major by teammate Beau McCreery a few minutes earlier.

Carlton had opportunities to grab back the lead but was denied by Collingwood’s steely defence – and by kicking 0.6 to the Magpies’ 5.1 in the last quarter – leaving despondent Blues players to slump to the ground when the siren sounded.

Having started 2022 with an 8-2 record, Carlton is left with serious heartbreak after being in the top eight all season until the final day.

Needing to defeat the Magpies after the Western Bulldogs replaced them in the last finals position through a 23-point win against Hawthorn earlier on Sunday, the Blues kicked only two goals outside of their third-quarter burst.

It follows a last-gasp defeat to reigning premier Melbourne last week. Even a draw in either of their final two games would have secured the Blues’ first finals appearance since 2013.

“They’re devastated,” Carlton coach Michael Voss said of his Blues players.

“We didn’t want this season to end, we feel like we had more in us and clearly when we were in the position we were, we wanted to play finals footy.

“When it came down to those key moments we couldn’t get it done and it’s going to hurt for a bit.”

The Blues started in nervous fashion and missed easy shots as Collingwood’s pressure overwhelmed them.

Carlton rebuilt, however, and its 8.3 was the first time since the famous 1970 grand final the team had kicked eight goals in a third quarter against Collingwood at the MCG.

Ultimately, though, it was not enough as Collingwood secured fourth place and a tantalising qualifying final at the MCG against minor premier Geelong.

“Even when they (Collingwood) started to close, I still felt quite confident we could still get it done, but just not for long enough,” Voss said.

“We’ve probably shown we’re somewhere between seven and 10 (on the ladder). Well, that’s not where we want to be, we want to be better than that.

“The reality is we’re not here just to make finals, we’re here to be a top-four footy club and we want to be sustainably great.”

Blues captain Patrick Cripps willed his team into the contest and was named best-on-ground despite his side losing.

His statline of 35 touches and 12 clearances was impressive, but his courage was inspiring after waving away trainers following a big friendly-fire hit from Jack Silvangi.

Carlton was forced to win the sudden-death showdown without star midfielder Sam Walsh, a late withdrawal with back soreness.

The Magpies will enter the finals after winning 12 of their past 13 games, having kept their extraordinary record in close games alive.

After finishing 17th last season, Collingwood will have a double chance in the finals in Craig McRae’s first year as coach.

“I just can’t believe it, I really can’t. We’ve found another way to win,” said McRae, who was seen wildly celebrating Elliott’s match-winning goal.

“There will be footage of me getting carried away on the bench.

“I tell my players to live in the moment, so I’ve got to do that and role model that.

“I like to be really measured when things aren’t working for us and then show the emotion when things are. I was celebrating like the fans were.”

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