From the Archives, 2002: Pies stake their claim with a rousing win

First published in The Age on May 19, 2002

Pies stake their claim with a rousing win


A tired but resolute Collingwood team last night withstood a relentless onslaught from Brisbane to seal a rousing and unexpected victory over the reigning premier.

Collingwood celebrates victory over Brisbane.Credit:Ray Kennedy

Their three-point win may not, in pure ladder terms, have taken the Lions down a notch, but it made genuine contenders of the Magpies where previous occupants of second position on the ladder this season have failed, and failed spectacularly.

For the first half, it seemed Collingwood would simply make a more valiant fist of the situation than Essendon (then second and losers by 50 points) and Port Adelaide (then second and losers by 47 points) had before it.

But a six-goal third quarter, during which Chris Tarrant, Anthony Rocca and Rupert Betheras consistently shook their opponents loose, and the Lions were held to only two goals, showed Collingwood was capable of inflicting on the Lions their second loss of the season.

More than that, this was finally the sort of contest worthy of first and second on the ladder. Leigh Matthews and Mick Malthouse threw in some match-ups to die for – Brad Scott on the inexhaustible Nathan Buckley, Justin Leppitsch on Anthony Rocca to name just two.

After trailing by eight points at half-time, Collingwood clung to a slim lead throughout the last quarter as first Luke Power, then Jason Akermanis, and then Craig McRae, tried for a goal that would have levelled the scores or put the Lions in front with minutes and then seconds to play.

Jason Cloke falls to the ground after marking in front of Jonathon Brown.Credit:Ray Kennedy

Power’s kick from the forward pocket clanged into the post. Akermanis, having won a close battle with Paul Licuria, watched a black and white-clad figure fling itself across goal to save, and McRae’s kick landed safely in the arms of Shane Wakelin. They were acts that sealed Brisbane‘s fate, and brought the Magpies equal with it on premiership points.

The Lions kicked four goals, thanks to a late cameo by Des Headland and typically fierce and polished performances from Michael Voss and Akermanis, and six behinds in the frenetic final quarter to the Magpies’ three straight goals, after it seemed a rash of behinds in the second term might cost the Pies a thoroughly deserved win.

In the first quarter, both teams produced the kind of open, man-on-man, free-flowing, high-scoring contest that football purists had been hankering for, and it took 23 minutes for McRae to soil the scoreboard with a behind after nine straight goals had been kicked. Of course, he had already speared through two straight goals and would go on to finish superbly a third time in the quarter to help the Lions to a 13-point lead at the first break.

For Collingwood, a forward line stuffed with goal scoring potential – Scott Cummings, Tarrant, Rocca and Nick Davis – was beginning to find its way against a premiership defence. Each made his presence felt with an early goal, while in the centre young Mark McGough was going about business admirably on Voss and in defence Jason Cloke was doing a fine job of cloaking Jonathan Brown. To 17-year-old McGough’s credit, it was only after he went off injured that Voss’ game truly flourished. He finished with 29 touches.

Michael Voss gathers in the ball.Credit:Ray Kennedy

Though Cummings was quiet and eventually taken from the ground, Rocca was supreme on the lead and in packs to get on top of Leppitsch, who was later swung into attack. Tarrant carved up Craig Bolton to kick five goals and Davis, though he kicked inaccurately, often eclipsed Marcus Ashcroft. The suspension of defender Chris Johnson told dearly.

A five-minute patch riddled with points ruined a second quarter which might easily have seen Collingwood take a modest lead into the half-time break. Instead – thanks to a mid-air swipe from Scott Cummings and inaccurate set shots from Tarrant and Paul Licuria – the Lions were able to preserve an eight-point advantage at the major break.

Buckley, with 31 disposals, was typically tireless and classy; once, late in the first quarter, he seized on a loose ball on the 50-metre line after Brodie Holland brought Mal Michael violently to ground to slot through the Magpies’ sixth goal.

It was vintage, but the game-breaker was the goal, 19 minutes into the third, when Betheras pounced on a mistake in the Brisbane backline to put the Magpies ahead by three. It was, for all the Lions’ surges, all they needed.


5.1 8.9 14.12 17.12(114)


7.2 10.5 12.9 16.14 (111)


Collingwood: Tarrant 5, Betheras 3, Rocca 2, Davis 2, Buckley 2, Fraser, Cummings, O’Bree.

Brisbane: McRae 3, Akermanis 2, Lynch 2, Headland 2, Voss, Bradshaw, Brown, Pike, Keating, Power, Charman.


Collingwood: Buckley, Tarrant, Rocca, Betheras, Lockyer, Davis.

Brisbane: Black, Voss, Akermanis, Keating, Headland.


Collingwood: McGough (leg).


N Buckley (Collingwood) reported by field umpire M Ellis for wrestling B Scott (Brisbane Lions) during the second quarter. B Johnson (Collingwood) reported by field umpire K Nicholls for sriking L Power (Brisbane Lions) during the third quarter. B Scott (Brisbane Lions) reported by field umpire M Ellis for wrestling N Buckley (Collingwood) during the second quarter.


Sheehan, Ellis, Nichols.


46,276 at Colonial Stadium.


Mick Malthouse (Collingwood): “We have beaten the top two sides of last year and one side that finished in the top four last year, so we have beaten three of the best sides of last season.”

Leigh Matthews (Brisbane): “They played the game out like a proud side would. For instance, when the West Coast Eagles beat us we sort of fell away in the last 10 minutes. Tonight, though, we were 20 points down in what you would call a hostile game and we were only beaten narrowly.”

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