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AFL: Pies survive Demons fightback to progress

Collingwood took a step closer to grand final glory after booking their place in the preliminary final with a seven-point win over Melbourne.

The Pies have been the dominant team in the AFL all season and can now sit back and rest up ahead of the preliminary final, which will be played the weekend of 22nd/23rd September.

That will be against the winner of the second semi-final, which will be one of Brisbane, Port Adelaide, Greater Western Sydney or St Kilda.

Luckily for Melbourne they will get a second bite of the cherry and will be at home to Carlton in the first semi-final next week.

The clash between the Pies and the Demons was always going to be a closely-fought contest and it was the home side who edged through in a thriller.

Pies hang on to take the win

Collingwood looked to be cruising through to the preliminary final at one stage as they were leading by 25 points heading into the final quarter.

However, Melbourne came back to make a real fist of it and missed opportunities to snatch the win at the death. Collingwood were hanging on in the final minute as Bayley Fritsch missed a golden opportunity when fluffing a set shot.

Not only that, Kysaiah Pickett put it out of bounds on the full and Collingwood will have been very relieved to hear the final siren.

92,600 supporters were packed into the MCG on Thursday night and the vast majority will have left the iconic venue happy bunnies.

Maynard concerns for Collingwood

The Pies are through to a prelim, but they will be sweating on the availability of defender Brayden Maynard, who could be facing a spell out through suspension.

Maynard is in hot water following a hit on Melbourne’s Angus Brayshaw and it will be left to the judiciary to decide his fate,

Positives for Pies

Collingwood had to do it the hard way and did not register a point in the final quarter of the match, but thankfully for them, they had already done enough.

There were some stand-out performances in the Collingwood side, in particular Bobby Hill, Jack Crisp and Will Hoskin-Elliott.

Hill booted a couple of early goals and was one of the best performers of the night, while Crisp also kicked a massive goal and put in another consistent performance.

Hoskin-Elliott rose to the occasion on a big night and will need to do the same going forward.

Second bite for Demons

After finishing in the top four, Melbourne will get a second chance against an in-form Carlton and a number of players will need to raise their game.

Max Gawn was once again the stand-out performer for Melbourne, while Clayton Oliver was also at the top of his game.

Gun midfielder Christian Petracca tried his best to get his side over the line at the death, but couldn’t.

But, unfortunately for Melbourne, a number of their team-mates failed to hit their usual standards and will need to do better against Carlton.

And they also have concerns over Jacob van Rooyen, who looks set to be suspended for a stray elbow that struck Collingwood’s Dan McStay.

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