North Ballarat have ended Collingwood's unbeaten run at home with a stirring come-from-behind win in round 18 of the Peter Jackson VFL. It was the Magpies first home-and-away loss at Victoria Park since round 11 last year and they now face an uphill battle to make the top four.
Trailing by 25 points at the final change, the Roosters piled on seven goals to two in the final quarter to win 17.15.117 to 17.7.109. Small forward Andrew Hooper finished with a game-high five goals and Nick Couch booted four while North Melbourne listed trio Ryan Bastinac (44 disposals, 18 contested), Trent Dumont (36) and Brad McKenzie (28) starred in the win.
Daniel Wells, sidelined for most of the year with an Achilles injury, played most of the second half and finished with 14 possessions. Out of favour Collingwood forward, Jesse White (13 disposals), turned the game upside down in the second quarter when he kicked three goals as the Pies appeared to take control after an even first term.
Ryan Pendlebury (12) and Tony Armstrong (18, 8 marks) controlled proceedings down back and Jarrod Witts (16, 37 hitouts) was on top of Braydon Preuss in the ruck. North Ballarat had many chances in front of goal but missed opportunities allowed the Magpies to gain the edge at half-time leading by 22 points.
After the break both sides traded blows as the home side looked to increase their lead. North Ballarat coach Gerald Fitzgerald moved Joel Tippett onto White in a pivotal move with Tippett curbing White's influence on the match after half-time.
Clinton Young again provided dash and he and Patrick Karnezis (30 disposals) both kicked goals to extend the Magpies lead nearing time-on before Hooper pegged one back for the Roosters. The Magpies looked to have the edge however at the final change with their lead out to beyond four goals.
It was Hooper again who got the Roosters going in the final term, kicking truly a minute in. They kicked the next five majors and at the 16 minute mark the scores were level.
The Roosters hit the lead not long after and then goals to Couch and Jonathan Lanyon gave the Roosters some breathing space approaching time-on before Ben Monkhorst scored a belated goal for the Pies. The final margin was eight points - the win the fourth in-a-row for North Ballarat as they continue to finish off their final year under Fitzgerald in style.
Collingwood need to win their last two matches against Richmond and Port Melbourne, both at home, whilst relying on other results to go their way in the hope of securing the double chance. North Ballarat have the bye next round before hosting Coburg in what should be an emotional send off for triple premiership coach Fitzgerald.
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