Collingwood Magpies battle to first win as Brisbane Lions slump to 0-3


Jamie Elliott celebrates a goal during Collingwood’s clash against Brisbane in round three, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

COLLINGWOOD has given its wobbly premiership defence an injection of life with a rousing 20-point win over Brisbane at the Gabba on Thursday night.

With the return of a defensive ferocity that had been missing the first three weeks, the Magpies soared to a 14.8 (92) to 10.12 (72) victory in the Grand Final rematch.

LIONS v MAGPIES Full match coverage and stats

They trailed by five points at half-time, then kicked five goals to one in the third to earn some breathing space and stormed home in the last term to send many of the 34,022 home fans scurrying for the exits early.

While Collingwood now moves to a 1-3 win-loss record, the Lions are floundering at 0-3 with a tough month ahead.

Their Gabba fortress has now been penetrated for a second straight time in 2024.

Craig McRae’s personnel and positional changes worked a treat, with Nick Daicos (30 disposals and seven score involvements) back to his dazzling and creative best from half-back, alongside recalled running defender John Noble (24).

Jamie Elliott kicked four goals, with his final major symptomatic of the Magpies’ desperation, pinning Dayne Zorko holding the ball and then converting his set shot.

Collingwood finished with 85 tackles to Brisbane’s 53, a whopping 16 of which came inside forward 50.

The Magpies were beaten at the stoppages (42-34) and inside 50s (56-43), but in a classic contrast of styles, they forced the Lions into turnovers and exploded into action on the rebound.

Veterans Tom Mitchell and Scott Pendlebury were important in the midfield, Jordan De Goey had some nice moments, and Billy Frampton, Jeremy Howe and Darcy Moore worked well in defensive tandem.

After a dominant second quarter grabbed it the lead at half-time, Brisbane really struggled to score, with it three-pronged tall forward line rarely marking the ball inside 50.

Lachie Neale was incredible in the second term and finished with 35 touches that included 10 clearances while Zorko (30) and Hugh McCluggage (29) battled hard.

The result is a second straight loss at the Gabba, where the Lions were unbeaten in 2023.

After a nervous start from both teams that saw plenty of unforced turnovers, Collingwood was first to settle.

Norm Smith medallist Bobby Hill was again tormenting the Lions, kicking three first-quarter goals and the Magpies applied a ton of pressure at the contest and ran in waves once they won the ball.

Conversely, Brisbane went long to its tall forwards, who couldn’t grab a mark, and watched the Pies link up from half-back via Noble and Daicos, who were both heavily involved in goalscoring chains.

The match changed dramatically in the second quarter.

Led by co-captain Neale’s 13 disposals that included five clearances and a calm set shot that began his team’s comeback, Brisbane camped inside its forward 50 to arrest the lead by the half.

On the back of 14 clearances to three, it generated 21 inside 50s to two and kicked 4.5 as the Magpies went scoreless.

Cam Rayner pinned Darcy Cameron holding the ball and as the siren sounded for half-time, put his team in front with an arrow from 50m.

Brisbane’s tough road to the top four, and maybe the top eight
Three matches and three losses for the Lions leaves them in a precarious early-season predicament. Although they still have 20 matches remaining, the coveted top four looks a long way off, and on current form the top eight will be their primary focus. The next month is full of challenges as well, with North Melbourne up next in Gather Round, followed by Melbourne at the MCG, Geelong at the Gabba and Greater Western Sydney at Manuka Oval. Chris Fagan needs a few of his troops to find some form and find it fast.

Pendlebury’s out of character action
During a strong bounce-back performance that netted him 21 touches and five tackles, Scott Pendlebury had a strange, out of character moment in the third quarter. With a ball-up about to occur on centre wing, the Magpies champion used an open hand to hit Lachie Neale in the stomach, with some modicum of force. It was enough to drop the dual Brownlow medallist and earn a free kick. It’s unlikely to go any further, but the Pies might cast a nervous eye to the Match Review Officer’s findings on Friday.

Fagan back on the bench
After returning to the coaches’ box in 2023 following many years on the bench, Chris Fagan made a return to the boundary line against the Magpies. Fagan has never been tied to the box and often said he enjoys the interaction with his players when he’s beside the field. Will he continue for the rest of the season after that result?

BRISBANE                   1.3     5.8     6.10     10.12 (72)  
COLLINGWOOD           5.3     5.3     10.6      14.8 (92)  

GOALS
Brisbane: Rayner 2, Neale, McCluggage, McCarthy, Lohmann, Fletcher, Daniher, Cameron, Bailey
Collingwood:
Elliott 4, Mihocek 3, Hill 3, McCreery 2, McInnes, Crisp

BEST
Brisbane: Neale, Zorko, McCluggage, Andrews, McCarthy, Rayner
Collingwood:
N.Daicos, Noble, Elliott, Frampton, J.Daicos, Mitchell

INJURIES
Brisbane: Nil
Collingwood: Nil

SUBSTITUTES
Brisbane: Kai Lohmann (replaced Deven Robertson in the fourth quarter)
Collingwood:
Jack Crisp (replaced Fin Macrae in the third quarter)

Crowd: 34,022 at the Gabba 



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