COLLINGWOOD has pulled off a remarkable comeback victory to all but kill off Gold Coast's finals hopes with a gripping five-point win at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night.
The Magpies trailed by 14 points early in the final quarter before kicking three goals against the tide to snatch a 9.13 (67) to 8.14 (62) victory.
SUNS v MAGPIES Full match coverage and stats
Josh Daicos started the comeback with a brilliant running goal from 50m, before Brody Mihocek levelled the scores and then Will Hoskin-Elliott gave them the lead for the final time.
Gold Coast went forward one final time, but Collingwood held on to win its sixth straight game and consolidate its spot in the top eight.
The win came with a dramatic final few minutes, as Darcy Moore was helped from the field with a left knee injury after landing awkwardly in a marking contest that also saw Gold Coast's Ben Ainsworth hobbling from the field at the same time.
The Daicos brothers were magnificent for the victors – Nick having a match-high 37 disposals and 674m gained, while Josh finished with 19 and three crucial goals.
In an entertaining game marred by mistakes in slippery conditions, Steele Sidebottom (27) was also important, as was Moore, Jack Ginnivan (three goals) and John Noble.
It was the second gut-wrenching loss for the Suns in six days after last Sunday's two-point defeat at the hands of Port Adelaide.
Izak Rankine looked like the match-winner with two of his four goals early in the final term, while Touk Miller (31) and Noah Anderson (30) were tireless in the midfield.
The Suns started superbly, kicking the first three goals through Mabior Chol, Levi Casboult and Papua New Guinea-raised debutant Hewago Oea to jump to an 18-point lead.
But the Magpies soon steadied, outnumbering their opponents at contests and taking the game on to give their forwards plenty of opportunities.
Ginnivan kicked three goals before half-time, the first a brilliant left foot snap and the second a lovely around-the-corner set shot from the pocket, to create a 14-point buffer.
They did miss some easy opportunities to extend the lead though, the worst offender a Mihocek brain-fade from adjacent to the goal line when he tried to play on quickly from a mark, only to have the ball touched off his boot by Charlie Ballard.
However, Josh Daicos finished from close range before half-time to give the Magpies a lead.
Jordan de Goey's not-so-spectacular return
After not playing since the Queen's Birthday match against Melbourne following his much-publicised trip to Bali, all eyes were on Jordan de Goey's return. The prodigiously talented Magpie extracted the first clearance of the game, but that was about as good as it got. De Goey had two disposals at quarter-time, four at the half, nine at three-quarter time and finished with 11, looking off the pace for most of the night.
Ace in the Suns' pack
A slice of history was created when Gold Coast made a late change to give Papua New Guinea native Hewago Oea his debut. The 20-year-old, known simply as 'Ace' to his teammates, was the first player to ever come through the AFL PNG development program to play an AFL match. And the best was yet to come. Oea joined the 'first kick, first goal' club in the big time when he gathered a loose ball midway through the first quarter, straightened and kicked a brilliant right foot checkside from 30 – much to the delight of his teammates.
The Rankine file
Izak Rankine's star continues to rise with another wonderful performance. While players from both teams stumbled, fumbled and missed opportunities from close range, Rankine was as clean as any player on the field. He kicked four goals from 18 disposals, including one miraculous effort off the ground early in the fourth term to lift the home team. He was a constant menace all night and is quickly turning into one of the most dangerous small forwards in the competition.
GOLD COAST 3.4 5.6 6.11 8.14 (62)
COLLINGWOOD 3.4 6.9 6.10 9.13 (67)
Gold Coast: Rankine 4, Anderson, Casboult, Chol, Oea
Collingwood: Ginnivan 3, J.Daicos 3, Henry, Hoskin-Elliott, Mihocek
Gold Coast: Anderson, Miller, Rankine, Swallow, Rowell
Collingwood: N.Daicos, J.Daicos, Sidebottom, Ginnivan, Moore, Noble
Gold Coast: Budarick (ankle), Ainsworth (lower leg)
Collingwood: Moore (knee)
Gold Coast: Chris Burgess replaced in selected side by Hewago Oea
Gold Coast: Brayden Fiorini (unused)
Collingwood: Isaac Chugg (unused)
Crowd: 16,027 at Metricon Stadium