Collingwood have advanced to a semi-final clash with Sandringham next Sunday after out muscling Werribee in the VFL Legendairy Elimination Final at North Port Oval. The Magpies jumped out of the blocks and held sway for most of the match until Werribee got to within 17 points five minutes into the final quarter before Collingwood steadied to win 13.15.93 to 9.10.64.
The Magpies 29-point win was orchestrated by Patrick Karnezis (18 disposals) who was among the goals again booting a game-high three along with Sam Dwyer who gathered thirty disposals through the midfield and Jarrod Witts (13, 33 hit outs) who dominated in the ruck. Werribee was best served by Scott Sherlock with 27 touches and Ben Speight in his 100th match kicking two goals while Scott McMahon and Brody Mihocek tried hard in defence.
Collingwood began well thanks to Jake Williams who kicked both his goals in the first quarter as the Pies were quick to open up a 21-point lead. Mason Cox (13, 22 hit outs) was providing headaches for the Werribee defence when he wasn't supporting Witts in the ruck as the Tigers were put under immediate pressure from the Magpies in the opening term.
Werribee hit back in the second quarter out scoring Collingwood for the term and a late goal to Kieran Harper reduced the margin to 15 points at the main change. The Tigers were cleaner with ball use with Sherlock and Speight providing run and carry and Matt Hanson some grunt around the packs.
There was plenty of support for both teams with a good crowd appreciating the sunny conditions as the Magpies tightened the screws in the third term. They held Werribee goalless with the likes of Jack Frost 12 possessions, Tony Armstrong (12) and Lachlan Wallace (22) standing firm down back.
Goals to Karnezis and Brent Macaffer (27, disposals) in the quarter had the Pies lead out to 28 points at the final change. Werribee again tried to bridge the gap with quick goals in the final term to Sherlock and Josh Porter but consecutive goals to Still of the Magpies ended any resistance putting the game beyond reach and ending the Tigers season.
The match was held up for several minutes in the quarter when Werribee first year player, Braden Ferrari, was stretchered off after suffering a heavy knock in play. Collingwood could welcome back Darcy Moore and Jonathon Marsh from AFL duties to strengthen their line-up for next weekend’s semi and will be confident of progressing; the Pies defeated Sandringham at Victoria Park in round 12.
For Werribee they finish seventh after another finals campaign falls short and although they won’t be making excuses the loss of key players to their AFL aligned North Melbourne on the Friday night would have hurt their structure.
They fought the match out but Collingwood’s constant pressure at the ball carrier and their more experienced AFL players rose to the occasion of a cut-throat final to get the result and keep the black and white army alive for one more week in September.
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