But still there was more to come, with a sublime contested mark leading to a fourth in the dying minutes before a fifth in the final 20 seconds.
The deep Cats midfield had withstood the early loss of Mitch Duncan and Quinton Narkle seven days earlier against the Brisbane Lions, but Selwood’s first-quarter hamstring tweak might have been a bridge too far. In wet conditions the inspirational skipper’s crash and bash style was always going to be hard to replace, and while the Cats managed to hold their own in the clearances, they were beaten in the contested-ball stakes.
With Collingwood first to the footy more often than not, the Pies managed to get the game played on their terms. They turned the tables on Geelong, successfully controlling the ball and looking to cut the field open with incisive and at times daring kicks, despite the conditions.
Brody Mihocek worked the angles beautifully to set up a first-quarter goal to Will Hoskin-Elliott, while captain Scott Pendlebury had a couple of telling possessions which led to Adams slotting a third term major. In a low-scoring game, such moments were match-winning. Collingwood also had the advantage of possessing the most dangerous forward on the ground.
Brodie Grundy issued a reality check to mature-age Cats ruckman Darcy Fort, continuing to torment Chris Scott’s side just as he did in last year’s qualifying final while Adam Treloar and Brayden Maynard continued their strong form. Having been recalled for a match in front of his home crowd, young Cat Clark landed awkwardly in a contest with Grundy and headed straight for the rooms.
Selwood’s hamstring injury – while seemingly not overly bad – is still a concern given his age and the fact he had an interrupted pre-season because of a similar issue.
It’s not exactly unusual for Collingwood president Eddie McGuire to raise the issue of uniforms. And so it was after last year’s finals clash between the sides when myriad fans complained about the Pies wearing white shorts and the Cats wearing navy shorts when both clubs were wearing their primary jumpers, leading to a confusing mishmash of colours.
McGuire said at the time that Geelong had reneged on a two-decade long “gentlemen’s agreement” to wear white shorts whenever they play Collingwood. Well McGuire would have been glad then when the Cats rocked up to what was notionally their home game on Thursday night wearing white shorts, making for a more pleasing aesthetic.
While fans were again allowed en masse, that didn’t deter Channel Seven from sticking with its fan wall which has become a feature of the network’s AFL broadcasts in 2020. And if Collingwood fans looked carefully inside one of the Brady Bunch-style squares they would have found a couple of familiar faces.
Cheering on the Pies were a couple of the club’s AFLW players, namely Maddie Shevlin and dual best and fairest Jaimee Lambert.
COLLINGWOOD 2.2 4.3 5.7 8.9 (57)
GEELONG 1.1 1.3 3.5 5.5 (35)
Collingwood: De Goey 5, Hoskin-Elliott, Adams, Daicos.
Geelong: Tuohy, Rohan, Guthrie, Clark, Simpson.
Collingwood: De Goey, Grundy, Treloar, Adams, Pendlebury, Maynard, Crisp.
Geelong: Dangerfield, Guthrie, Tuohy.
Geelong: Selwood (hamstring), Clark (shoulder).
22,077 at Optus Stadium.
Daniel is an Age sports reporter