Collingwood has gone done to arch-rival Carlton, 13.13 (91) to 9.8 (62) at the MCG on Sunday.
The Magpies led by as much as 24 points late in the second quarter but couldn't keep the Blues at bay as they surged in the final term, and when Eddie Betts snapped truly midway through the quarter he handed his team the lead for the first time in the match.
But it's hope all the same, hope inspired by the sheer genius of Sam Walsh. If his 38-disposal, five-tackle and five-clearance performance had been memorable to begin with, his remarkable final quarter goal to seal the team's win was the cherry on top.
It was part of a Carlton final quarter that yielded six unanswered goals, with Coleman Medal leader Harry McKay delivering four of them himself, as the Blues completely overwhelmed their wilting opponents.
Jordan De Goey's 31 disposals and 12 marks, along with Chris Mayne's 26 touches and 10 grabs, had initially put Collingwood in a position of control, but interim coach Robert Harvey watched as his side's lead dissipated over the course of the game.
It had hardly been the most inspiring start regardless, with both sides plagued by woeful attacking inefficiency in its early stages. It took teenage forward Ollie Henry, previously without an AFL goal, to finally deliver a pair of pinpoint shots and help open a 17-point Collingwood lead in the first term.
Jack Martin eventually put Carlton on the board after the quarter-time siren, but it did little to shift the momentum. The Pies piled on five of the first six goals on either side of the interval, grabbing complete command of the contest.
Amid that rush came Henry's third, before the Blues – falling four goals behind midway through the second quarter – eventually set about stopping the rot. Successive majors would cut the deficit to just 10 by half-time, with the Magpies' concerns compounded by Josh Thomas leaving the game with concussion.
The game was following a pattern, and it continued after the main break. Back-to-back Collingwood goals swelled the margin to as much as 20 points, but back-to-back Carlton goals soon followed. Tom De Koning handed one to Trent Bianco on a plate with a wayward kick out of defence, then converted himself at the other end just minutes later.
Coleman Medal leader Harry McKay, a peripheral figure through the contest's first three quarters, was bound to have his say eventually and snapped truly just seconds into the final term to close the margin to two points. It set up a grandstand finish, as the Blues looked to capitalise on one of the game's many momentum swings.
This one, however, would be too strong for Collingwood to overcome. Eddie Betts snapped, Walsh delivered his moment of magic and McKay produced a pair of darts from beyond 50m as Carlton poured on six unanswered goals to not only claim the lead for the first time but surge clear.
Pies buoyed by Henry's hat-trick
Teenage forward Ollie Henry had never kicked a goal heading into Sunday's contest. But by half-time, the pick No.17 from last year's NAB AFL Draft had three to his name. One of few on the field able to find his radar in front of goal during the game's early stages, the versatile 186cm prospect delivered pinpoint accuracy on a trio of difficult set-shots to give Collingwood the early ascendency at the MCG. Having shown glimpses of his potential throughout his first four senior games, you can consider his fifth a breakout performance. Perhaps it will be followed by a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination early next week.
COLLINGWOOD 3.2 6.4 9.5 9.8 (62)
CARLTON 1.3 4.6 7.9 13.13 (91)
Collingwood: Henry 3, Elliott, Hoskin-Elliott, Mihocek, Sidebottom, Cameron, Bianco
Carlton: McKay 4, Betts 2, Martin, Stocker, Silvagni, Kennedy, Williams, De Koning, Walsh
Collingwood: Noble, Henry, Mayne, Crisp, De Goey
Carlton: Walsh, Kennedy, Dow, Martin, Stocker, Silvagni, McKay
Collingwood: Thomas (concussion)
Collingwood: Poulter (replaced Thomas)
Carlton: Fogarty (unused)
Crowd: 0 at the MCG
MAGPIES v BLUES Full match coverage and stats