In front of a full house of 100,024 fans, Collingwood held on to defeat the Brisbane Lions in the AFL Grand Final by less than a kick.
With a final score of 12.18 (90) – 13.8 (86), it was a game of tremendous ebbs and flows.
A brilliant effort from Collingwood’s Jordan De Goey saw the Pies regain the advantage towards the end of the final quarter after they conceded the lead just a minute earlier when Brisbane’s Charlie Cameron kicked his third goal of the game.
Veteran Pie Steele Sidebottom, then kicked one of the goals of his career, and Collingwood advantage crept to a 10 points advantage.
The Lions’ Joe Daniher snapped a goal at the 27-minute mark to reduce the margin to four points, and in the frantic final couple of minutes Collingwood held on yet again.
The euphoria of such a close victory and – equally – the agony of defeat was clear to see as the siren sounded.
There were many outstanding performances on the day.
Bobby Hill delivered a brilliant performance with four goals, mark of the day and 18 disposals to collect the Norm Smith medal with a maximum 15 votes.
Ball winners Nick Daicos (29 disposals), Jack Crisp (25 touches, two goals) and Jeremy Howe in defence were key components for the victors.
Tom Mitchell did a solid job quelling Brownlow Medallist, Lachie Neale while the wide head and the elite kicking skills of Scott Pendlebury were pivotal late in the game.
On the other end of the stats tally was Billy Frampton, who came in for Daniel McStay, finished with two possessions for the game.
For the heart broken Brisbane Lions outfit, Keidean Coleman was high amongst their best and especially early, would have rivalled fellow Indigenous talent Bobby Hill for best on ground honours.
He finished with a team high 26 disposals.
Lions skipper Harris Andrews was impressive in defence, with his last quarter simply outstanding.
The middle field trio of Neale (21 touches), Josh Dunkley (20) and Hugh McCluggage (21) found their share of the ball but weren’t as influential as their Collingwood counterparts.
Both Daniher and Cameron kicked three goals each, while Zac Bailey and Lincoln McCarthy each chimed in with a pair.
Adding to the thrilling climax, the was a questionable advantage call in the final minute of the contest, when people didn’t hear the whistle when Neale was tripped, and Bailey played on.
Collingwood were deserving winners and now have 16 VFL/AFL flags, equalling other Melbourne based clubs, Essendon, and Carlton.
2023 Norm Smith Medal voting
15 – Bobby Hill (Coll)
5 – Keidean Coleman (Bris)
4 – Nick Daicos (Coll)
3 – Tom Mitchell (Coll)
2 – Jack Crisp (Coll)
1 – Scott Pendlebury (Coll)
Luke Darcy (Chair) – B Hill 3, N Daicos 2, S Pendlebury 1
Eddie Betts – B Hill 3, T Mitchell 2, K Coleman 1
Jude Bolton – B Hill 3, K Coleman 2, T Mitchell 1
Sarah Olle – B Hill 3, K Coleman 2, J Crisp 1
Luke Shuey – B Hill 3, N Daicos 2, J Crisp 1