Collingwood pushed West Coast all the way in a pulsating Second Qualifying Final at Optus Stadium. Watched on by a raucous crowd of 59,585, there were 11 lead changes as both teams battled it out for a home preliminary final. In the end it was West Coast who would prevail by 16-points, but only after a five goal to one final quarter helped them see off the spirited visitors.
1. Josh Kennedy is vital to any Eagle premiership tilt
Entering the 2018 Finals campaign the Eagles had a 6 & 5 record without Josh Kennedy, a completely different team to the 10 & 1 record they enjoyed with him. As if to highlight his importance to the team, just as Kennedy was finally able to impose himself on the contest coincided with West Coast taking the ascendency in the match. Kept on a tight leash by Tyson Goldsack, Kennedy’s two goals coincided with Collingwood’s two biggest leads of the game in the third and fourth quarter respectively.
2. Collingwood are fearless
Nathan Buckley’s charges have refused to be bowed by anything that has been thrown their way in 2018 and playing West Coast in front of a hostile crowd proved no different. Fourteen Magpies were playing their first final but you wouldn’t have known in the way they went about their task of causing a boilover.
3. Lewis Jetta is a Ronaldo fan
Having just grabbed back the lead for his team late in the last quarter, Lewis Jetta basked in the moment as the roar of the crowd washed over him. The sole focus of nearly 60,000 screaming fans he chose a Cristiano Ronaldo stance for his moment of glory.
It was a breakout night on the big stage for Jetta after a number of disappointing finals performances. After collecting 20-possesions and kicking the go-ahead goal, he was one of his teams best as they qualified for a home preliminary final.
4. Goldsack repays the faith
The veteran defender was a surprise selection just six months after undergoing a knee reconstruction. He performed admirably on Josh Kennedy and, along with Adam Treloar and Jeremy Howe who also returned against the Eagles, will be better for the run when Collingwood meets GWS in a cutthroat semi-final at the MCG.
5. Melbourne or Hawthorn are walking into a ‘lions den’
In the first ever final to be hosted at Optus Stadium the atmosphere was absolutely electric. While Collingwood performed well in the face of the wall of noise, the support from the crowd was almost palpable as they urged their team on to a nail-biting victory.
SECOND QUALIFYING FINAL
WEST COAST 3.3 6.7 7.11 12.14 (86)
COLLINGWOOD 1.3 7.4 9.9 10.10 (70)
West Coast: Ryan 2, Darling 2, Kennedy 2, Vardy, Jetta, Sheed, Cripps, Rioli, Redden
Collingwood: Adams 2, De Goey 2, Mihocek 2, Stephenson, Thomas, Varcoe, Mayne
West Coast: Yeo, McGovern, Ryan, Jetta, Sheed, Redden
Collingwood: Sidebottom, Adams, Grundy, Goldsack, Treloar, Mihocek
West Coast: Sheppard (hamstring)
Umpires: Nicholls, Meredith, Harris
Official crowd: 59,585 at Optus Stadium