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Emotional end to VFL Pies' season

Tiarne Swersky  September 2, 2017 8:48 PM

White reflects on final game Hear from retiring forward Jesse White after the VFL Magpies' 12-point Elimination Final loss to Richmond at North Port Oval.

In a season filled with highs and lows, Saturday’s Elimination Final loss to Richmond concluded a year filled with promise and progression from the VFL program. 

Down by 29 points at half time, the Magpies stormed home at North Port Oval, but just fell short of another inspiring victory.

Similar to their 2017 campaign, it was a case of down, but not out.

After starting the year with a record of 1-5, the Magpies fought back in the second half of the season to secure its place in the top eight.

There we great wins, sour losses, moments of individual brilliance and engaging storylines throughout.

The emergence of first-year forward Kayle Kirby was one narrative.

The development of young defender Marty Hore was another.

And on Saturday, against Richmond, a season filled with emotion, excitement and endless opportunity came to a close.

For retiring forward Jesse White, the 12-point defeat would be his last taste of professional football.

“After 11 years, it’s pretty emotional,” White told Collingwood Media post-game.

“Football is all I’ve known since high school. I’m looking forward to the next chapter, but it’s pretty emotional for me right now.”



White announced his retirement from the game earlier this season. Image: AFL Photos.

With a place in the preliminary final on offer, the Magpies came out of the changerooms after the main break, set to erase their poor first-half output.

Led by White and fellow forward Mason Cox (three goals), the margin was trimmed to 11 points with one term to play.

Goals to Chris Mayne, Josh Daicos, Josh Thomas and Kayle Kirby edged the Magpies ahead deep in the last quarter, but it would be Richmond that would leave North Port Oval victorious, thanks to late goals from Sam Lloyd and Jake Batchelor.



Mayne kicked two goals in the final term to almost will the Pies across the line. Photo: Shane Barrie.

“It was a tough loss for the boys. We got close, but we just couldn’t hold them off in the end,” White said.

“Overall, our season was a bit like today. We just weren’t quite there. We couldn’t finish off those close games.”

Collingwood’s VFL captain Jack Hellier echoed White’s sentiments as he reflected on the “nerve-racking finish” against the Tigers.

“We fought really hard to get back into the game,” Hellier told Collingwood Media post-game.

“The last few minutes were intense. Unfortunately, we just fell short.

“We’ve come a long way this season. It’s been a bit up and down, but I’m really proud of the way everyone has gone about it.”

When asked about his retiring teammate, Hellier credited White’s attitude and approach to the VFL program this season.

“It’s pretty emotional for us as a team; Jesse has been a great teammate.”

“He’s provided a lot of experience and leadership skills that I’ve taken on board.

“He’s been unbelievable for the development of this program."

And while their 2017 campaign may be over, Hellier said the program would remain in a strong position with the development of the team’s young stars.

“It’s been great having so many of the VFL boys stick through over the past 3-4 years.”

“We’ve got some good young talent coming through. Marty (Hore) has a great year and Lachlan Tardrew is coming up as well.

“There’s a good balance and a good mix in this group.”

VFL ELIMINATION FINAL
Richmond v Collingwood
Saturday 2 September, 2.40pm
North Port Oval, Port Melbourne

Collingwood
: 0.1    1.3   6.5    11.7 (73)
Richmond:     3.6   5.8  7.10 12.13 (85)

GOALS

Collingwood: Cox 3, Mayne 2, White, Blair, Blair, Thomas, Daicos, Kirby
Richmond: Moore 3, Bolton 2, Ellis, Hunt, Griffiths, Miles, Lennon, Lloyd, Batchelor

BEST
Collingwood
: Borthwick, Cox, Blair, Brown, White, Mayne
Richmond: Miles, Ellis, Lloyd, Batchelor, Moore, Beasley