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Gutsy Magpies fall short

Peter Ryan - AFL Media  June 12, 2017 6:30 PM

Fasolo stamps his return Alex Fasolo snags a goal on his return, as his teammates get around him to celebrate.
Jeremy Howe took one of his best marks yet in the second term of Collingwood's four-point loss to Melbourne. Picture: AFL Photos.

Jeremy Howe took one of his best marks yet in the second term of Collingwood's four-point loss to Melbourne. Picture: AFL Photos.

Jack Watts became a hero on Queen's Birthday eight years after his poorly-timed debut, kicking a pressure-packed goal with less than two minutes to go to give the Demons victory in a thriller at the MCG and put them into the top eight.

Melbourne had fought back after being 28 points down midway through the second quarter, but some brilliance from 21-year-old Christian Petracca just before half-time kept the Demons in the hunt and gave them the chance to come back in the third quarter.

Melbourne did just that, kicking six goals to two in the third term as it regained some ascendancy at the fall of the ball and began to feed off dominant Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy.

In a pulsating last quarter Melbourne was never headed, but it never opened up a lead greater than 11 points as Collingwood kept battling.

Watts' goal, coming after a brilliant spoil from recruit Michael Hibberd, sealed what eventually became a four-point victory after Collingwood kicked a goal on the siren, settling the final score at 15.14 (104) to 15.10 (100).

The Magpies looked to have done enough in the second quarter when they outmuscled the Demons around the ball and kicked six unanswered goals to establish a handy 23-point lead at half-time.

Their lead was built on enormous tackling pressure that forced Melbourne into handball turnovers and to overuse the ball in tight.

The quarter's dominance also included a leap just before half-time from Collingwood high flier Jeremy Howe that was arguably the former Demons defender's best spectacular mark, and when Darcy Moore kicked a goal just before half-time the Magpies were on top.

However, Simon Goodwin threw Tom McDonald into the ruck, pushed Cam Pedersen forward and called on his midfielders to lift their intensity and the Demons responded.

Petracca was brilliant inside 50 lurking the area like a caged Tiger, marking well and creating contests for Jeff Garlett, James Harmes and Tomas Bugg to kick goals.

Melbourne kicked six goals to two in the third quarter to have a one-point lead at three-quarter time.

They kicked five behinds in the last quarter but goals to Mitch Hannan, Petracca and Watts proved the difference, despite Collingwood having 20 inside 50s to Melbourne's nine.

In the end it was a thriller befitting of the occasion.

MEDICAL ROOM
Melbourne: Jack Watts had some issues with his back early, but after going into the rooms he returned and played out the rest of the game. Oscar McDonald had a hit on the hip pointer.

Collingwood: Lynden Dunn had to leave the ground early after taking a knock to the nose and then he was winded when hit hard in a marking contest with Mitch Hannan in the last quarter.

NEXT UP
Collingwood heads into the bye at 5-7 but it is at least back in the hunt while Melbourne sits in the eight with a huge game against the Western Bulldogs on Sunday at Etihad Stadium.

MELBOURNE       4.3   6.6   12.9   15.14 (104)
COLLINGWOOD  3.2  10.5   12.8   15.10 (100) 

GOALS
Melbourne: Petracca 3, Watts 3, Garlett 2, Bugg 2, T McDonald, Harmes, Pedersen, Melksham, Hannan
Collingwood: Greenwood 2, Sidebottom 2, Moore 2, Phillips 2, De Goey 2, Fasolo 2, Aish, Crocker, Treloar,

BEST
Melbourne: Petracca, Jones, Viney, Hibberd, Hunt, Garlett
Collingwood: Sidebottom, Grundy, Treloar, Howe, Maynard, Broomhead

INJURIES
Melbourne: Watts (hip)
Collingwood: Nil

REPORTS
Nil

Umpires: Rosebury, Stephens, Ryan, Mollison

Official crowd: 70,926 at MCG