Rankine blow adds more pain for Crows as Pies fly home

Roger Vaughan |

Adelaide’s Luke Nankervis made life hard for Collingwood’s Lachie Sullivan in the MCG thriller.
Adelaide’s Luke Nankervis made life hard for Collingwood’s Lachie Sullivan in the MCG thriller.

Collingwood, the AFL’s cardiac kids, have broken Adelaide’s hearts again with a four-point win at the MCG.

Crows speedster Izak Rankine was penalised a controversial free kick for running too far in the last minute on Saturday and the Magpies held on to win 12.6 (78) to 11.8 (74).

With the game on the line, the key moments all fell Collingwood’s way.

First Jordan De Goey hit his head on the ground in a heavy fall during the last term, but he was able to return to the field and ended up kicking the winning goal.

A last-quarter goal from Jordan De Goey.
A last-quarter goal from Jordan De Goey helped Collingwood secure a four-point win over Adelaide. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

His mark and goal with two minutes left came at the end of a passage of play that started with Adelaide’s Ben Keays having a kick that would have sent the Crows deep into attack.

But Collingwood defender Isaac Quaynor, who had been enduring a dirty day, executed a brilliant smother on Keays’ kick and the Magpies took possession.

Rankine had sent Adelaide inside 50 when he was penalised, and while the Crows did not have clean possession when the ball was brought back, it killed their last chance.

It is debatable whether Rankine ran too far, and his coach Matthew Nicks would not buy into the discussion post-game.

“He’s extremely fast. He had a great game of footy … I won’t be making any comment around the (decision),” Nicks said.

Izak Rankine was one of the Crows' best.
Izak Rankine was one of the Crows’ best, but suffered an injury late against Collingwood. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Worse, Rankine might have suffered a hamstring injury in the same passage of play.

Under coach Craig McRae, Collingwood’s record in games decided by six points or less is an incredible 16 wins, three losses and one draw.

They have won their past four games against Adelaide by a combined margin of just 12 points.

“We train system, method, situations and moments – that’s what we can train – and the game gives you all the other parts,” McRae said.

“A bounce of the ball here, free kicks there – we can’t control those things.

“Maybe if you didn’t call ‘run too far’, the ball is down there and who knows what can happen. But the fighting element of those moments, we train that every week.”

Collingwood went into the game with a heavy injury toll, particularly among their forwards, and then also lost Will Hoskin-Elliott (hamstring) and Reef McInnes (concussion).

Collingwood's Reef McInnes.
Collingwood’s Reef McInnes was forced out of the game after an accidental kick to the head. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

De Goey will also need to be monitored for any delayed symptoms, given his head knock.

“It’s a challenging period for us, it really is,” McRae said.

Ultimately, the Crows were left lamenting a run of six straight goals that gave Collingwood a 30-point lead during the second term.

“It’s pretty hard to give up six goals against anyone, let alone Collingwood on the MCG,” Nicks said.

Just as Collingwood once more found a way to win, Adelaide again failed to do so.

The Crows had a two-point win over Carlton, but otherwise this season in games decided by a goal or less they have three losses and a draw.

They are in dire straits with a 3-6-1 record.

“We’re still learning from these experiences, but we’re sick of learning. We’re ready to take that next step, and unfortunately today we didn’t,” Nicks said.

Adelaide also have not won at the MCG since 2017 and have not beaten Collingwood since 2016.

Nick Daicos and Scott Pendlebury were outstanding for Collingwood, while captain Jordan Dawson and Rankine shone for Adelaide, particularly in the final term.

Rankine snapped a freakish goal midway through the final quarter that gave the Crows the lead.