COLLINGWOOD sunk the Bendigo Gold’s hopes of a dream finish with a third-quarter blitz in Friday night’s VFL finale at the Queen Elizabeth Oval.
The Gold led the Magpies by nine points after a Tyrone Downie goal nine minutes into the third term as a boilover loomed.
But there was a danger all game that at some stage the Magpies would grab the momentum, and when they did the Gold were unable to halt the damage over the last 20 minutes of the third quarter.
Having been held to just seven goals for nearly two-and-a-half quarters by a Gold side that had been relentless in its tackle pressure, the floodgates for the Magpies opened in the last 20 minutes of the third term.
From nine points down, the Magpies launched a game-breaking run when they piled on nine goals to one to end the third quarter.
The Magpies set up their 20 minutes of dominance from the middle, where they were able to gain constant clean centre clearances and drive the ball deep into attack.
On the back of their third-term blitz, the Magpies led by 47 points at three quarter-time and a game that had been alive at half-time was quickly over.
The margin grew to a game-high 57 points during the final quarter, but the Gold fought the match out until the final siren, kicking three of the last four goals to cut the final margin to 46 points as the Magpies won 20.11 (131) to 13.7 (85).
In what was the last of Bendigo’s 321 VFL matches, Jack Sketcher, Matt Farrelly, Sam Heavyside, ruckman Jeremy Lambden, Alik Magin and skipper Steven Stroobants were the Gold’s best players.
Downie and Jack Sheahan kicked three goals each, while Stroobants will go down in the history books as the player to kick Bendigo’s last VFL goal.
Quinton Lynch was a thorn in Bendigo’s side, kicking five goals for the Magpies.
“I’m flat as a tack and absolutely shattered that the culture and bond we’ve built ceases tonight,” Gold coach Aussie Jones said.
“The boys gave their all tonight and with three minutes to go they were still tackling like their life depended on it and that’s an amazing sign of character that sums this group up.”