Promising Geelong youngster George Burbury suffered a serious facial injury in a sickening collision with former Collingwood skipper Nick Maxwell as the Cats got the AFL pre-season underway with a two-point win on Wednesday night.
Burbury was taken to hospital at halftime as Cats officials searched the Simonds Stadium turf for several of his teeth which had been dislodged minutes earlier when Maxwell accidentally kneed him in the face as he claimed a mark.
Burbury, 21, played his first two senior games for the Cats last year in a campaign interrupted by foot and quad injuries.
The broken jaw suffered by the forward late in the second quarter was one of several injuries incurred by both sides in the opening match of the NAB Challenge on a warm night in Geelong.
Another Geelong youngster, Jesse Stringer, only lasted a few minutes before being subbed out.
The Magpies lost first-round draft pick Nathan Freeman to a torn hamstring in the second term, while Tim Broomhead suffered a hand injury.
The lead changed four times in the final term before Geelong sub Jordan Schroder emerged as the unlikely match-winner with a goal in the final 90 seconds.
It came less than a minute after Jesse White kicked his fifth goal at the other end, capping a fine first-up performance in black and white for the former Sydney ruck-forward.
Star Collingwood onballer Dayne Beams kicked the only super goal of the match for Collingwood in Geelong’s 0.16.8 (104) to 1.13.15 (102) win.
Geelong were best served by running defender Cam Guthrie, Mathew Stokes, Corey Enright and Josh Caddy.
The Magpies’ best players included Beams, White, small forward Ben Kennedy and Taylor Adams.
The Cats bolted out of the blocks and led by as much as 21 points late in a first term highlighted by Mitch Duncan’s spectacular goal while hemmed in tight on the boundary line.
The Magpies got better as the match progressed and it needed a goal after the three-quarter time siren from Mitch Brown to give the home team a narrow six-point lead at the last change.
But Schroder’s match-winner ensured most members of the 12,140 crowd went home happy.
Collingwood had six players representing the club for the first time – White, another ex-Swan in Tony Armstrong, Adams (GWS) and draftees Tom Langdon, Jonathon Marsh and Freeman.
The nearest thing to a new face for the Cats was Lincoln McCarthy, who played his one senior game back in 2012.
Scott Pendlebury began his first match as Collingwood captain in the sub’s vest.