BY CONNOR STEPHENS
Congratulations to Collingwood who have won the 2023 AFL Premiership. On Saturday 30 September, Australia was treated to undoubtedly the greatest ever Grand Final of the last few years, with Collingwood making amends after their heartbreaking 5 point defeat to West Coast in the 2018 decider, this time running out 4 point winners over the Brisbane Lions.
Collingwood would kick the first goal of the game, with young gun Nick Daicos receiving a free kick for high contact in the Magpies’ Forward 50, but he didn't let the pressure phase him as he slotted nicely to send the MCG crowd roaring. Bobby Hill would add to Collingwoods first goal 2 minutes later, kicking his first of 4.
Brisbane would finally get their first major on the board halfway through the first quarter, with Zac Bailey slotting nicely to bring the margin back to 6 points.
Collingwood would kick 2 behinds, courtesy of Beau McCreery and Jamie Elliott, before Brisbane would add their second goal with an absolute belter from Lincoln McCarthy, with Collingwood now only leading by 2 points.
Zac Bailey would add his second goal of the match to give Brisbane the lead approaching quarter time, but Brody Mihocek would quickly snag one back, and then Jordan De Goey kicking one on the quarter time siren gave Collingwood a 4.4 - 28 to 3.0 - 18 lead going into the 2nd quarter.
Brisbane would start the second term in a blaze of glory, with pocket rocket Charlie Cameron kicking 2 goals in the first 5 minutes after having a quiet first quarter. Hugh McCluggage would kick one, and Bobby Hill added his second for Collingwood, keeping them in the hunt.
Goals to Joe Daniher and Lincoln McCarthy would put Brisbane in the box seat heading into the main break, but just like the first term, Collingwood would add quick goals breaking Lions fans hearts. Bobby Hill added his third and fourth goals, including taking one of the best marks ever seen in recent memory. Jack Crisp would also add 2 goals to his tally as Collingwood would take a 9.9 - 63 to 9.3 - 57 lead at Half Time.
It would take a while to see the first major of the 3rd quarter, but Hugh McCluggage would finally seal one for Brisbane near the halfway mark of the premiership quarter. Deven Robertson would add another for Brisbane about 5 minutes later, and Collingwood veteran Scott Pendlebury would kick the Magpies sole goal for the quarter about 2 minutes before 3 quarter time. With a score of 10.15 - 75 to 11.5 - 71 Collingwoods way heading into the final term, we were in for an absolute spectacle.
After many behinds scored by both teams, Charlie Cameron would break the stalemate, kicking his 3rd major, and the first goal kicked in 22 minutes of playing time, giving the Lions the lead. However, Collingwood would preply straight after the centre bounce, with Jordan De Goey sending the Magpie fanbase absolutely mental.
A controversial 50 metre penalty paid to veteran Steele Sidebottom would then see him add a goal for the Magpies to give them a 10 point lead heading into the final minutes, but Joe Daniher would kick his 3rd and bring the margin back to less than a goal with less than 2 minutes left to play.
Collingwood would hold on to claim the 16th premiership in their history, but not without some major controversy.
With about a minute left on the clock, a free kick was paid to Brisbane, and with the Brisbane team not knowing they had received a free kick, kept playing. The umpires called advantage, to which the ball ended up in Collingwoods hands and they ran the clock down.
Many pundits have questioned how the advantage wasn't called back, but what we can all say is that we witnessed an absolute ripper game of Australian Rules Football to conclude the 2023 season.
Bobby Hill was the deserving recipient of the Norm Smith Medal for his 18 disposal, 4 goal performance, shining bright for the Magpies when the game needed to be won.