Bobby Hill celebrates a goal in the round one clash between Geelong and Collingwood at the MCG on March 17, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

NEW SEASON, same old Collingwood under Craig McRae.  

It wasn't quite single digits, but the 22-point win against reigning premier Geelong, in front of 86,595 people at the MCG and in an atmosphere that felt akin to a final in March, showed the Magpies' remarkable rise in 2022 can soar to new heights in 2023. 

CATS v MAGPIES Full match coverage and stats

The Cats started the night by saluting club legend Joel Selwood, who retired in the days after they went all the way last September, but it ended without star key defender Tom Stewart and a hobbling Sam De Koning. 

Twenty-four hours after a season-opener that delivered a low-scoring draw between Richmond and Carlton, Collingwood and Geelong produced another epic encounter between these two modern-day rivals that ended in a 19.11 (125) to 16.7 (103) result.


Chris Scott's side led at quarter-time, half-time and three-quarter time, before Collingwood kicked all five goals of the last quarter and the final eight goals of the game to steam home at the Punt Road end in clinical finish to the first Friday night of the new season. 

But while the four premiership points propel Collingwood to a fast start, the Magpies are set to be without veteran defender Jeremy Howe for an extended period following a devastating incident early in the third quarter. 

Only minutes after the second half started it stopped for the best part of seven minutes following a collision between Howe and All-Australian small forward Tyson Stengle that was so gruesome it wasn't replayed on the big screen or by the host broadcaster. 

The night of carnage will be as big a story as the upset Collingwood win. Both clubs will be left to deal with the ramifications of potential serious injuries to crucial players to start the season. 


The Daicos brothers ran riot from start to finish, exposing the Cats on the wide expanses of the MCG with their deep range of precise, deft foot skills on either side of the body.

TOUCHING TRIBUTE Daicos brothers pay respects to late grandfather

After winning the Rising Star in a brilliant debut season, Nick finished with 35 disposals and 579 metres gained to start season two, while Josh amassed 27 disposals on a wing, just days after the passing of their grandfather.

Box office star Jordan De Goey backed up his brilliant pre-season form with 25 possessions and three goals in a dominant display around the ball, combining with Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell, who collected 21 disposals, 11 clearances and two goals in his first outing in black and white, and the evergreen Scott Pendlebury, who collected 27 touches and had a few moments where he made time stand still.


After being ranked 15th for clearances in 2022, the Magpies won that important statistic on Friday night by seven, amassing nine more stoppage clearances on the back of Mitchell and De Goey’s form in tight.

Geelong started the night with its four most recent premiership cups on the MCG, but heads back down the highway after it had no answers late to a Collingwood outfit that ended its 16-game winning streak.

Big Sav shows why Cats played hard ball
After exploring this project in the VFL last year, the Cats properly unleashed Esava Ratugolea as a key defender, following a full summer training down back. Chris Scott quipped on Thursday that he wished he thought of moving him back earlier in his career. And it wasn't hard to see why. Port Adelaide went after the 24-year-old last year after he managed only four games in the premiership year. Ken Hinkley must have been watching and wondering what if? 

Welcome back, Bobby!
While it was all about Tom Mitchell and Dan McStay in October, it was all about Bobby Hill on Friday night. In not just his first game at his new club, but in his first game since recovering from testicular cancer, Hill showed he won't be opening the door for Jack Ginnivan to return to the senior side any time soon. The former Giant kicked an equal career-high three goals and was involved in others, standing up on the big stage first up to provide the Magpies with another avenue to goal.


Brutal start to life as a Cat
Collingwood didn't want to lose Ollie Henry last October. It took until a few minutes out from the trade deadline for Graham Wright to agree to a three-way trade that netted Tom Mitchell. It didn't take long for Collingwood supporters to make their feelings known. When Henry's name flashed up on the scoreboard as the Cats team was announced one by one, the Magpies faithful howled. It took him until halfway through the second quarter to have a clear moment. And he took it, cupping his ears to a howling MCG outer. Just when he looked like adding a second five minutes later, Moore chased him down in the goalsquare in front of the Collingwood cheer squad that erupted. Henry added a second late in the third quarter after a 50-metre penalty and worked his way into the game, finishing with 15 disposals, six marks and two goals, overcoming an intense atmosphere. 

Collingwood's Darcy Moore tackles Ollie Henry of Geelong in R1, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos


GEELONG     6.0     12.1     16.3     16.7     (103)
COLLINGWOOD        5.3     9.6     14.9     19.11     (125)

Tuohy 2, Stengle 2, Rohan 2, Hawkins 2, Cameron 2, Henry 2, Smith, Holmes, Dangerfield, Atkins
Collingwood: Hill 3, De Goey 3, Mitchell 2, Mihocek 2, Cox 2, McCreery 2, McInnes 2, Pendlebury, McStay, Adams 

Smith, Ratugolea, Cameron, Tuohy, Dangerfield
Collingwood: N.Daicos, De Goey, J.Daicos, Pendlebury, Noble, Mitchell, Hill

Stewart (knee), De Koning (knee) 
Collingwood: Howe (arm)

Brandan Parfitt (replaced Tom Stewart at quarter-time)
 Reef McInnes (replaced Jeremy Howe in third quarter) 

Crowd: 86,595 at the MCG