Geelong has won one of the “all time” great finals, ending their week one hoodoo with a thrilling six-point win over Collingwood at the MCG.
The Cats found an unlikely hero in Gary Rohan, who had come under scrutiny this week for failing to deliver in big games, in the final term.
Rohan’s massive contested grab, with his side down by five points, was considered “Carey-like”, before he was able to assist Max Holmes kick the winner as the Cats booked a preliminary final berth.
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Jeremy Cameron was the other danger man for the Cats, and was “elite all over the field”, according to Fox Footy’s Jonathan Brown.
“I think he was probably BOG. He consistently over the night, the big moments, his ability to keep his team in it when his team looked ordinary, at big stages,” Brown praised.
“They had to stand up and deliver tonight.”
Garry Lyon said the Cats’ victory was one of the “great games of footy”, especially considering the pressure Geelong were under with their recent two from eight week one finals wins since 2011.
“The reality is Geelong go in the box seat,” he said.
“There’s so many heroics in all of this.
“They will gather themselves now, they are perfectly placed. (Week one’s) been problematic for Geelong.”
Collingwood had their chances in the final term and looked to be setting up an upset win when Jordan de Goey kicked his second goal for the term at the 22-minute mark.
“They are breathing a massive sigh of relief the Geelong Football Club,” Nick Riewoldt said.
“De Goey kicks his second goal of that final term and they’re under such enormous pressure.”
But the Cats would not be denied, with Rohan’s massive moment and then some brilliance together with Cameron to set up Holmes.
“Geelong and Collingwood should be commended for that amazing performance – just a great game,” Fox Footy’s Nathan Buckley said.
“There’s always a sigh of relief with a game like that, but they earnt that.
“They played like that all year against an opponent who’s been winning those games. That’s a great effort.
“It was a game from start to end played at maximum intensity.”
Collingwood will now have to dust themselves off and face the winner of Saturday night’s elimination final between Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs, likely without midfielder Taylor Adams who was assisted from the field late in the loss.
Ash Johnson also limped off and finished the match on the bench.