Sport AFL Magpies scrape home over Eagles in MCG classic
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Magpies scrape home over Eagles in MCG classic

Steele Sidebottom celebrates another Collingwood goal.
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Collingwood emerged eight-point winners over West Coast on Saturday in an AFL classic at the MCG.

The match started as an old-fashioned shootout and concluded as a titanic AFL arm wrestle between sides with top-four aspirations.

The Eagles were better than the Magpies for long stretches but were over-run in the final quarter, ensuring their 19-year wait for an MCG win over Collingwood would enter a third decade.

The 17.7 (109) to 15.11 (101) scoreline flattered the Magpies, who entered the match as the AFL’s most inaccurate kick for goal but finished winners through their accuracy.

Both sides were left with major casualties: luckless defender Nathan Brown was off before quarter-time with another shoulder injury, while Elliot Yeo sported a less toothy grin after a collision with Jarrod Witts.

Yeo lost both front teeth in the seconds before halftime, sparking a search for the dislodged teeth in the MCG turf.

It was an unsavoury end to a thrilling first half.

Adam Simpson’s Eagles had dominated possession and dictated the pace of the game.

The Eagles were ruthless in front of goal, kicking several improbable majors and looking the better side.

Collingwood kept their heads above water by making the most of their forward forays, including a pair of goals to Jarryd Blair.

The lead changed seven times before halftime when West Coast emerged with a 14-point lead.

After the break, the Magpies fought back with two quick goals but the Eagles were able to settle and respond with two of their own.

For long periods, the ball seemed camped almost permanently in the Eagles’ forward line but the Magpies’ defence was able to hold firm.

Late goals to Alex Fasolo and Steele Sidebottom eroded the Eagles’ lead to a goal, setting the stage for a massive final term.

Jamie Elliot and Scott Pendlebury put Collingwood back in front but the lead was wrestled back again by Josh Hill and Dean Cox majors.

The Magpies were not to be denied, with Dayne Beams in his 100th game and Elliot putting Collingwood nine points up again.

Shannon Hurn’s booming kick brought the Eagles back to three points but a questionable 50-metre penalty to Brodie Grundy gave him the chance to kick the sealer from point-blank range.

The Eagles had given everything but fell just short, with the otherwise invisible Travis Cloke popping up for an injury-time goal.