Collingwood have continued their unbeaten run at Victoria Park with 23-point win over fellow finals contender the Casey Scorpions in round 15 of Peter Jackson VFL. Injury plagued Ben Reid played a full game booting three goals, while former Hawk, Clinton Young, sparked the Pies with two third-quarter goals as they kicked clear to win 12.11.83 to 9.6.60.
The win lifts Collingwood into fifth place, level with Essendon in fourth. with only percentage separating the pair. It was a hard fought win by the Pies who were missing key players in Patrick Karnezis, Brenden Abbott and Michael Still, with all three having been major goalkickers for the team this season.
In the first quarter the Casey Scorpions made hard work of a strong wind favouring the Johnston st end, booting just two goals, while Reid kicked a valuable one for the Pies at the other end late in the quarter to reduce the margin to nine points at the break. Collingwood's midfielders began getting on top in the second quarter with Sam Dwyer and Paul Seedsman providing plenty of drive and Gus Borthwick in the thick of it around the packs, a Jake Williams goal deep into time-on giving the home side a six point lead at the main break.
Goals to Young, Corey Gault and Nick Gray extended Collingwood's lead to 24 points approaching time-on in the third term. Mitch White and Jordan McKenzie responded for the Scorpions as rain began to fall but a 17 point margin at the final change appeared a handy lead with the weather threatening.
Supporters braved the chilly and dark conditions from deep in the stands for the last quarter as the Pies peppered the goals. They booted 3.7 with Reid again getting in on the act, to the Scorpions 3.1 - Jayden Hunt booting two in a last gasp attempt from Casey to pinch the points.
Collingwood had many good players around the ground including Dwyer (26 disposals), Young (19) and Seedsman (17) while Jonathon Marsh and Tony Armstrong controlled things down back. For the Casey Scorpions, McKenzie (30) was busy around the ground along with Alex Neale-Bullen (40). White and Hunt each kicked two goals while skipper Evan Panozza and Dean Terlich tried hard in defence.
Collingwood have a favourable draw leading up to the finals with three of their remaining five games at home, however, before they return to Victoria Park they must face ladder leaders Williamstown away in round 16 in what is a huge test for the Pies.
The Casey Scorpions have a tough run home facing four of the top eight in their final five matches, beginning with Werribee this weekend, who are one spot below them in eighth place. Despite a two game buffer over Port Melbourne (9th), it is a must win game for both the Scorpions and Tigers to keep the Borough at bay and remain a finals contender.
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