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VFL: Zebras end Collingwood's campaign

VFL: Semi-final in 60 seconds Get a snapshot of the VFL Magpies' semi-final clash with Sandringham in 60 seconds with Collingwood Media.
Collingwood captain Jack Hellier kicked a crucial goal in the final term as the VFL Magpies lost a nailbiting VFL semi-final to Sandringham.

Collingwood’s VFL season is over after a heartbreaking seven-point Semi-Final loss to Sandringham.

In front of what was rumoured to be one of the biggest crowds recorded at North Port Oval, the Magpies kicked 14.13 (97) yet fell short of the Zebras total of 15.14 (104).

Collingwood coach Dale Tapping perfectly summarised the mood of the squad when speaking to Collingwood Media post-game.

“When you play finals footy and you get to this point of the year and you exit, there’s going to be overriding disappointment,” Tapping said.

“It was a courageous performance. We didn’t stop giving all day. Today it was about winning some key moments and they (Sandringham) won them. Full credit to them, they were too good for us on the day.”

Played out in brilliant spring conditions, the do-or-die match proved a see-sawing affair from the outset.

Both sides traded goals in the opening quarter before the Magpies broke away with five goals to two in the second quarter.

Not to be outdone, the Zebras answered back with six goals to three in the third quarter to even the scores at 69-apiece at three-quarter-time.

The Magpies were not able to stem the flow of Sandringham in the final term, despite goals from Brent Macaffer, Jack Hellier, Gus Borthwick and Brayden Maynard.

“It turned into a shootout really,” vice-captain Ben Moloney told Collingwood Media post-match.

“We had to rally together and we did really well to keep them at bay for a while, but they were just the better side in the end.

“You could have a ten-minute bit where you were in front and you’d be in control and then they’d sort of peg it back.”

In a game defined by a handful of key moments, Collingwood were left with a hole in defence after Jonathon Marsh exited the game with a suspected hamstring injury in the second quarter.

His absence, in addition to Sandringham’s decision to send Mitch Brown forward, proved a match-winning factor in the game.

“Losing Marsh really hurt our back structure,” Tapping said.

“Mitch Brown got hold of us a little bit with his aerial stuff... (Marsh) has been playing on those guys at AFL level and has been doing it pretty well. That hurt us a bit.”

One of four inclusions from Collingwood’s AFL team, Matt Scharenberg was named as Collingwood’s best player for his role as a rebounding defender.

Scharenberg played arguably his best game in the black and white as he finished with a team-high 26 disposals, had six rebound 50s and took a game-leading five contested marks.

For Sandringham, Clinton Jones had 42-disposals to be part of the Zebras outfit that Moloney believes “won the midfield battle”.

Sunday’s VFL loss at North Port Oval means that the Collingwood Football Club has now played its last game for 2015.

However Tapping believes that once the overriding pain of defeat settles, this season will be remembered as a positive one.

“When the dust settles, although today is disappointing, I don’t want it to define our VFL year. We’ve had a really good year,” he said.

“We’ve continued to make really good inroads into what we want to do at a VFL level. Today is disappointing of course but we’ll reflect and I’m sure it’ll be looked upon as a reasonably positive year.”

Sandringham v Collingwood
Second VFL Semi-Final
Sunday 13 September
North Port Oval, 11.40am

Collingwood
   2.2   7.6   10.9   14.13   (97)
Sandringham   2.5   4.6   10.9   15.14   (104)

GOALS
Collingwood: 
Macaffer 2, Gray 2, Young, Witts, Karnezis, Maynard, Cox, Hellier, Williams, Matheson, Borthwick, Close

BEST
Collingwood: Scharenberg, Witts, Hellier, Young, Macaffer, Williams