Collingwood conquer Fremantle to win shot at fairytale AFL grand final

Resurgent Collingwood are one win away from a remarkable grand final berth after beating Fremantle by 20 points to charge into an AFL preliminary final.

Four unanswered first-quarter goals set the Magpies up for a 11.13 (79) to 9.5 (59) semi-final victory that booked a final-four date with Sydney at the SCG.

The victory, headlined by Jordan De Goey’s outstanding midfield display in front of 90,612 at the MCG, adds another layer to Collingwood’s unlikely rise from 17th to the top four under new coach Craig McRae.

De Goey (24 touches, six clearances and 12 score involvements) starred alongside Jack Crisp (two goals, 24 disposals and six clearances). Jeremy Howe and Darcy Moore marshalled a well-drilled defence while Jack Ginnivan kicked three goals.

Fremantle’s barnstorming season had led them to the finals for the first time since 2015. And following their dramatic elimination final win over the Western Bulldogs, where they came back from 41 points down, the Dockers had hoped to dish up a sterner first-quarter performance on Saturday night.

Instead, Fremantle again looked like deer caught in the finals headlights, with only Collingwood’s inaccuracy making for a flattering scoreboard.

Caleb Serong (34 disposals, 16 contested possessions) and Lachie Schultz (two goals) kept Fremantle in the game, while wingman Blake Acres, defender Luke Ryan and retiring veteran David Mundy were busy.

In the first minute, headline-grabbing Magpie Ginnivan instinctively stayed down as everyone else flew close to goal, coolly soccered home the opener, then pounded his chest and fist-pumped in delight.

Shortly after, Fremantle’s Rory Lobb took a powerful contested mark but dragged his set shot wide.

From there, Collingwood’s resolute press kept the toothless Dockers at bay while Brody Mihocek, De Goey and Jamie Elliott nudged the Magpies to a four-goal advantage at quarter-time.

Schultz nailed Fremantle’s first early in the second and added another later in the term. But Collingwood were dominant, with their wasteful 2.6 for the quarter keeping the half-time margin at a flattering 27 points.

Schultz teed up Griffin Logue for the opening goal of the third term before Ginnivan ended the Magpies’ run of nine consecutive points with a clever goal in traffic to extend the lead to 31.

Late in the third quarter, Collingwood’s inaccuracy was keeping Fremantle in the game. Jordan De Goey gave a powerful fend off and delivered the ball perfectly to Brodie Mihocek, whose goal put the Magpies 38 points clear. There would be no miracle comeback this week from the Dockers.

Michael Walters’ brilliant snap gave the Dockers a pulse at the final break but there would be no miracle comeback this week from the Dockers. Mason Cox snuffed out any hope when he nabbed his 100th AFL goal early in the final term.

In a consolation prize, David Mundy, 37, kicked his 161st goal in his 376th and final game midway through the fourth quarter. It started a run of three Dockers goals that did little but make for a flattering final margin.

Fremantle great Mundy was later chaired from the MCG after playing his 376th and final game, putting him seventh on the all-time games list.

Collingwood now head to Sydney for Saturday’s twilight preliminary final at the SCG.