Collingwood have improved their AFL finals hopes with a thrilling four-point upset of arch rivals Carlton, who lost star defender Jacob Weitering to a shoulder injury.
Weitering was substituted out of Sunday’s clash at a heaving MCG midway through the first quarter, leaving a huge hole in the Blues’ back-line.
The Magpies took advantage, outlasting their old foes in a heart-stopping 11.13 (79) to 11.9 (75) victory.
The result wasn’t settled until the final few seconds, when Jack Silvagni’s desperate snap shot out of congestion drifted agonisingly wide for the Blues.
A crowd of 80,627 witnessed the absorbing contest – the second-highest attendance at an AFL match since the start of the global pandemic.
It was the Magpies’ second win over a top-four contender in as many rounds after last week’s win over Fremantle, improving their record to 6-5 and putting them on the brink of the top eight.
Young forward Ollie Henry reclaimed his spot in Collingwood’s starting 22 and kicked three goals in an important contribution, which included two majors in the final term to help keep the Blues at bay.
Steele Sidebottom and Patrick Lipinski kicked two goals each as Jack Crisp (27 disposals), Jordan De Goey (24 disposals, one goal) and Taylor Adams (21 disposals) got to work in the midfield.
They were involved in a tough battle with a Carlton on-ball division led by Adam Cerra (30 disposals), George Hewett (31) and Sam Walsh (35).
Key forward Charlie Curnow snared four goals for the Blues, including the last two of the game to give his side a late sniff.
A fiery opening ignited when Adams laid a ferocious tackle that carried Patrick Cripps over the boundary line, sparking a melee just three minutes into the contest.
Wayward kicking at goal kept the Pies’ second-quarter lead to just 18 points and it vanished in quick time as Cripps kick-started a comeback.
The Blues kicked the last four goals of the first half to lead by six points at the main break.
But they couldn’t find the major opening in the third term as Collingwood’s three-goals-to-none gave them an 11-point buffer at the final change.
Jesse Motlop broke the drought when a score review went his way, dragging Carlton back within a kick.
Mason Cox held his nerve with a set shot from 15 metres out and Tyler Brown’s snap gave the Pies further breathing space.
But the Blues came again, with Curnow’s third and fourth goals putting them within reach of victory before Silvagni missed with the final shot of the game.