Collingwood have overcome a 21-point deficit and injuries to three players to score a gutsy eight-point AFL away win over GWS.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley hailed the efforts of his makeshift young team as they overcame another rush of injuries to keep their finals campaign alive with a gutsy eighth-point away win over Greater Western Sydney.
The Magpies had only one player on the bench for most of the second half, but battled back from a 21-point second-quarter deficit to score an 11.9 (75) to 9.13 (67) victory at Spotless Stadium on Saturday.
The victory lifts them into eighth, though they will drop out if Richmond beat St Kilda on Sunday.
Buckley rated it one of the Pies’ better performances of the season.
Collingwood, who had five players injured in last week’s loss to Brisbane, lost three more in just over one half of football on Saturday night.
Brent Macaffer suffered an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury just after halftime, while Dane Swan and Clinton Young went down with hamstring strains in the first half.
Buckley doubted whether any of the eight players injured in the past two games would be fit for next weekend’s final-round clash with Hawthorn.
The Magpies trailed at all breaks and didn’t hit the front until just under six minutes from time, but kicked the last three goals of the game.
Josh Thomas sparked the Pies with an equal career-best three goals and a team-leading 29 touches.
Buckley also praised the efforts of Steele Sidebottom and several youngsters including Marley Williams and Ben Sinclair.
“We’ve got a lot of young blokes that stood up and got the job done when required under some duress and it will be something that they can learn from and take with them,” Buckley said.
“When you go to the three-quarter time huddle and you can see some of his (Macaffer’s) teammates in tears because they know what’s happened … that tells you something about the make-up of our playing group, who have copped it from all angles this year.
“But I can’t speak highly enough about the integrity and the character of our group and the way they’ve handled themselves through this second half of the year in particular.”
Giants coach Leon Cameron lamented his side’s lack of polish at crucial moments and minimal good supply to his young forwards.
“To Collingwood’s credit, with their backs to the wall, they are very good and they found a way to win,” Cameron said.
“There were crucial moments in the game when they just found a touch and their good players stand up when the moment arises.
“I couldn’t have a go at our effort.”
Toby Greene racked up a career-best 42 touches for GWS.
The Giants lost Jono O’Rourke to a hamstring injury in the first quarter and had co-captain Phil Davis withdraw before the game due to a lingering calf issue.