Craig McRae has relished the possibility to take a deep breath after Collingwood survived a late scare in an 11-point victory over GWS that put them a step nearer to an AFL finals berth.
The Magpies triumphed 11.22 (88) to 12.5 (77) on the MCG on Sunday, reclaiming a top-eight spot with a fifth straight win.
It got here amid the controversy round Jordan De Goey’s newest off-field drama, which first-year coach McRae admitted had been a distraction for Collingwood throughout the build-up.
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Woeful inaccuracy in entrance of aim nearly got here again to chew them, with the Giants piling on seven last-quarter targets to the Pies’ two in entrance of 30,804 followers.
A 37-point margin on the remaining change was in the reduction of to 10 factors when Toby Greene kicked his solely aim with greater than 4 minutes left on the clock.
At that stage, GWS had kicked 4 targets in 10 minutes and had been mounting a critical problem.
However the Magpies tightened up across the contest within the dying phases to ensure of a end result that gave them a 9-5 file and continued the Giants’ (4-10) robust yr.
“It’d be nice to be able to win a game and put the feet up on the bench but it’s not our story at the moment,” McRae mentioned.
“I’m really proud of the players’ ability to galvanise themselves this week and support those that have been under fire, if you like, and then come out and execute.
“For 3 quarters of the sport we had been pleased with our efforts.”
The De Goey distraction didn’t show on-field as Collingwood’s midfield got on top for the opening three quarters in dreary conditions.
Taylor Adams (24 disposals, six clearances) was influential against his old side, while Nick Daicos (25 disposals), Steele Sidebottom (26) and Josh Daicos (23) also effective.
Ruckman Darcy Cameron finished with two goals from 17 disposals to go with five clearances and 23 hit-outs, underlining his importance after signing a new three-year contract with the Magpies.
Jesse Hogan kicked a game-high four goals for the Giants, including two in the final term as the visitors threatened to pull off a remarkable comeback.
Co-captains Stephen Coniglio (31 disposals, four clearances) and Josh Kelly (26, three) lifted around the ball in the final term but the damage had been done.
Collingwood were clear winners overall in contested possession (137-124), clearances (37-28) and inside-50s (62-50).
“They might’ve put much more scoreboard strain on us and we acknowledged that however (their inaccuracy) provides you a chance, so you have to take that,” Giants interim coach Mark McVeigh said.
“We all know if we go away from the model we’re attempting to proceed to educate, it hurts us.
“They were good enough to be able to do that (to us) and we were lucky at times.”
Controversy arose within the remaining quarter when Collingwood defender Darcy Moore was penalised for a deliberate rushed behind in a choice that left teammates bemused.