Collingwood remain unbeaten at home in season 2015 after holding out a fast finishing Sandringham by ten points in round 12 of Peter Jackson VFL. The Pies were in control leading by 29 points at the final change but the Zebras rallied to get within three points approaching time-on before going down 11.12.78 to 10.8.68.
The dangerous Brenden Abbott finished with a game-high three goals for the winners with Patrick Karnezies booting two while for Sandringham Paddy McCartin was their only multiple goal kicker with two. Mason Cox won the battle of the big men in the ruck for Collingwood, he received fine support from Brodie Grundy, who was returning from injury and played the first three quarters.
The pair provided first use for Pies runners in Clinton Young, Ben Kennedy (27 disposals) and Sam Dwyer while Ryan Pendlebury, Jonathon Marsh and Matt Scharenberg were solid in defence, holding the Zebras to just the five goals at three-quarter-time. In chilly conditions at Victoria Park the home side began well, opening up a 27-point lead by quarter-time with a six goal to two first term. In the second term conditions deteriorated as rain fell, however it didn't deter the Pies as they stretched their lead to 33 points at the main break.
The third quarter was a scrappy affair with only the one goal scored by Sandringham’s McCartin just four minutes in. The Zebras lifted their work rate thanks to the likes of Clinton Jones (31 disposals), Eli Templeton (25) and skipper Adam Cockie (26) while their defence stood firm with Luke Delaney and Tom Lee locking down any Pies attacks.
Abbott goaled in the first minute of the final quarter to stretch the Pies lead to 35 points but the Zebras weren't done with. They booted the next five goals, the last of them, a snap close to goal from Cameron Shenton, to put them within three points with 17 minutes gone on the clock.
It was nervous times for the black and white faithful in the stands until Karnezis marked and goaled to give Collingwood some breathing space heading into time-on. Conditions became gloomy and the main scoreboard stopped working but it didn't matter to Pies fans when the siren sounded.
Collingwood have now defeated three teams inside the top eight in succession and it sets up a crucial clash away to reigning premier Footscray next round. Sandringham is back at the Trevor Barker Beach Oval hosting Coburg and will be looking to get back on the winners list. Both Collingwood and Sandringham are just outside the top four on percentage only as the jostling for positions in the top eight continues.
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