Oliver Henry needed two cracks at it but his match-winning goal has helped Collingwood bolster their AFL finals hopes with a gripping four-point victory over Hawthorn.
Henry’s calm set shot from 40 metres at the 21-minute mark of the last quarter put the Magpies in front for the final time as they prevailed 10.12 (72) to 10.8 (68) on Sunday at the MCG.
The 19-year-old forward, in his second season and 19th game, had missed from the same spot two minutes earlier but held his nerve in the decisive moment.
Henry finished with two important goals in a performance that continued his upward trajectory after he was dropped to the substitute role following a wayward display in round nine.
“I’m really proud of what he did in that last quarter (and) even his clutch goal right on three-quarter time,” Magpies coach Craig McRae said.
“He’s just managing his moments a lot better than what he was earlier in the year and he’s growing in front of our eyes.”
The result was Collingwood’s third straight victory and put them back inside the top eight with a 7-5 record ahead of a Queen’s Birthday showdown with stumbling Melbourne.
The Magpies played the wet and slippery conditions better than the handball-happy Hawks during the first half and dominated contested possession, building a 30-point lead before the main break.
But a more direct Hawthorn kicked the opening four goals of the second half and snatched the ascendancy when Sam Butler was gifted a controversial free kick for contact below the knees, paid against Darcy Moore in the goal square.
Butler’s goal marked the first of four lead changes in a tight second half.
There was plenty of time left after Henry’s goal in time-on of the last quarter but neither side managed another score in the desperate final stages.
“There’s a fine line between happiness and misery, isn’t there, and two weeks in a row we’re happy with the way we executed in the last parts of the game,” McRae said.
Rising star Nick Daicos (36 disposals) was superb in the wet for the Magpies as Henry and Jack Ginnivan kicked two goals each.
Fellow youngster Beau McCreery produced a big last quarter and ruckman Darcy Cameron continued his strong run of form.
Mitch Lewis kicked four goals for Hawthorn as Jai Newcombe, Harry Morrison and Tom Mitchell battled hard around the ball.
Hawks stalwarts Luke Breust and Liam Shiels were unable to celebrate with a victory as they simultaneously reached the 250-game milestone.
“We didn’t lack energy or intent or effort … but we just lacked a little bit of footy smarts at different stages of the game, particularly in the first half,” Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell said.
“There were a couple of plays late where we were disappointed that we couldn’t produce a strong enough collective style to get another scoring chance.”
Reef McInnes was a late inclusion for Collingwood when Jamie Elliott withdrew through illness but the young forward was substituted out with a shoulder injury after a failed spoiling attempt on Dylan Moore.
Hawthorn veteran Jack Gunston was cleared to carry on despite suffering a fresh injury on his troublesome right ankle.