Collingwood prevails against Essendon in gripping Anzac Day AFL blockbuster at MCG

Teen sensation Jack Ginnivan has slotted a career-best five goals to help lift Collingwood to an 11-point win over Essendon in an enthralling Anzac Day encounter at the MCG.

In front of 84,205 spectators — the largest crowd at an AFL match since the 2019 grand final because of the coronavirus pandemic — small forward Ginnivan starred in his side’s 15.3 (93) to 12.10 (82) victory.

The 19-year-old had just 12 disposals but was awarded the Anzac Day Medal as best afield for his match-winning haul in the traditional blockbuster.

The result squared the Magpies’ season win-loss record at 3-3 and left Essendon reeling at 1-5, with its finals hopes just about shot.

There were some nervous moments for the Magpies as the lead changed hands six times in the second half before they kicked three goals in four minutes at the start of the final quarter.

They enjoyed some breathing space but the result was not settled until deep into time-on, when a 50-metre penalty against Nick Hind for moving on the mark put Brodie Grundy within range to kick the sealer.

Jordan De Goey (27 disposals) starred in the midfield and Jeremy Howe stood firm in defence, while Brody Mihocek booted four goals.

Scott Pendlebury’s (25 disposals) experience was important in his 15th appearance on Anzac Day and Nick Daicos (22) relished the big stage.

Essendon ball magnet Darcy Parish racked up a career-high 44 disposals and 12 clearances, while ruckman Sam Draper worked tirelessly and Alec Waterman (four goals) and Jake Stringer (three goals) had an impact in attack.

The Bombers got returns on their gamble of bringing Stringer and on-baller Zach Merrett (36 disposals) back from injuries earlier than first expected.

Both sides entered the round-six contest desperate for a win to boost their finals hopes.

The Magpies lost Nathan Kreuger to a recurrence of his left shoulder injury during the second term but were invigorated by Jack Crisp’s running goal and a bomb from Isaac Quaynor, which gave them a match-high 17-point lead before half-time.

Essendon’s Jake Stringer (right) gets a kick away while under pressure from Collingwood’s Isaac Quaynor.(Getty Images/AFL Photos: Dylan Burns)

Parish had 30 disposals and six clearances in the first half alone, helping Essendon to a 22-13 clearance advantage, but the Bombers lacked pace and penetration in possession.

And for all Parish’s touches, De Goey had been even more influential to that point with his 16 disposals and three clearances for Collingwood.

Jayden Laverde was substituted out with a leg injury but the Bombers emerged from the main break with greater energy.

They hit the front for the first time at the 18-minute mark of the third term when Matt Guelfi pinned De Goey holding the ball and nailed the long set shot.

It was the first of four lead changes for the quarter as Ginnivan’s fourth major gave the Magpies a one-point lead at the final change.

Essendon, Collingwood AFL players run through an Anzac Day banner at the MCG.
Essendon and Collingwood players run through an Anzac Day banner.(Getty images/AFL Photos: Dylan Burns)

The goal-for-goal arm wrestle continued early in the last quarter until quick goals to Mihocek, Ginnivan and Reef McInnes gave Collingwood a buffer.

Essendon recovered from dire positions at 1-4 and 2-6 last year to reach the finals but will need to engineer a special turnaround to repeat the feat this season.

ABC/AAP

Reference-www.abc.net.au

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