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Final quarter lapse costs VFL Pies

Luke Ball, pictured in his return to football against Bendigo last Friday, was one of Collingwood's best in its loss to Williamstown on Sunday. Photo: Shane Barrie.
Collingwood’s VFL team learned a harsh lesson in its six-point loss to Williamstown at Point Gellibrand on Sunday afternoon.

Having held sway for the majority of the first three quarters and entering the final stanza with an eight-point advantage, the Magpies seemingly went to sleep for the best part of the first 20 minutes of the last quarter and allowed Williamstown to pile on five successive goals to all but seal its third win of the season.

Although Magpies were eventually shaken into action and fought back hard with four goals in the final 10 minutes, they were unable to close the gap at the end of a 34-minute long quarter.

The result left a bitter taste in the mouth of the Collingwood players and coaches who could had a whiff of victory at different stages throughout the day. They still had hope of pulling off a remarkable draw with seconds remaining as the Seagulls defenders continually forced the ball out of play deep inside the Pies’ forward fifty.

“It's really disappointing,” Development Manager Craig McRae told

“I just think that we had a great opportunity with a good team in to win down here which we haven’t done in a long time.

“There were about 10 minutes in that last quarter where we didn’t stand up.

“It was pleasing to finish the game and play it right out but it was a lost opportunity. We need to be better than that.”

The positives for Collingwood were obvious, though they may only become clearer once the pain of defeat begins to dissipate.

Their most noteworthy performer was Irish rookie Caolan Mooney who bagged a five goal haul for the second time in his short career.

Mooney had not played for a fortnight owing to a calf injury but quickly made up for lost time with a three goal second quarter.

His pace made him dangerous when given even a hint of space, while his clean hands and sharp decision making in close helped create several opportunities for other forwards.

Luke Ball was again one of his side’s best in his second game back from a knee reconstruction.

He told after returning against Bendigo last week that his biggest test was how his knee held up ‘second up’, and based on Sunday’s performance it passed that test with flying colours.

Ball’s ability to get his hands on Sherrin was only one aspect of his impressive four quarter display.

He made wise decisions when in possession, was willing to wear the heavy hits from opponents and won several key clearances in the centre as the Magpies made their late but ultimately unsuccessful surge.

Others such as Alan Didak and Marley Williams did their hopes of returning to the seniors no harm while second-year key defender Corey Gault showed maturity beyond his years with several strong marks in one-on-one contests at key moments of the match.

Alex Fasolo, Jordan Russell and Ben Sinclair all responded well to their omission from the senior outfit.

Sinclair was deployed in a new role across half back where his pace, tenacity and attack on the ball made him one of the best afield in the opening quarter.

Second-year rookie Peter Yagmoor played one of his best games for the club at half back, regularly pushing up towards the wings and through the centre where he was able to read the play to intercept the opposition before setting up several attacking forays.

Aside from the result, the major downside for Collingwood was a suspected knee injury to promoted rookie Jack Frost.

The 20-year-old did not return after leaving the field midway through the final quarter and will be assessed during the week.

Ben Hudson and rookie pair Kyle Martin and Adam Oxley, who have been among Collingwood's best VFL players this year, did not play despite being selected on Thursday night.

The Magpies will have a week off due to the State of Origin game next week before tackling reigning premier Geelong at Victoria Park on Saturday 18 May at 1pm.

Collingwood     3.3, 6.5, 10.10, 14.13 (97)
Williamstown   3.3, 5.6, 9.7, 15.13 (103)

Goals – Collingwood: Mooney 5, Fasolo 2, Paine 2, Richmond, Moloney, Didak, Ball, Boland
Williamstown: Williams 4, McConnon 3, Deery 3, Hunter 2, Wood, Lockwood, Campbell

Best – Collingwood: Ferguson, Mooney, M.Williams, Didak, Russell, Ball
Williamstown: Wheeler, Prudden, Roberts, Williams, Markovic, McConnon

Injuries – Collingwood: Frost (knee)
Williamstown: Nil

Reports – Collingwood: Nil
Williamstown: Nil

At Point Gellibrand Oval