COLLINGWOOD has successfully surfed the orange tsunami all the way to the Grand Final, holding on for dear life to beat a gallant Greater Western Sydney by just one point.
The game was in the balance right up until the final siren, keeping the crowd of 97,665 on the edge of their seats as the Giants bench urged their teammates to run forward at all costs.
But the Pies threw as many numbers as possible around the ball, clogging it down in the middle of the ground in a reversal of the preliminary final between the two sides from four years ago.
MAGPIES v GIANTS Full match coverage and stats
Josh Daicos found some rare space on the wing in the final few seconds, securing the 8.10 (58) to 8.9 (57) win as the MCG literally shook, such were the crowd celebrations on the final siren.
The Giants had got out to a 17-point lead early in the third term, but playing their third final in three weeks, struggled to maintain their ballistic gamestyle for all four quarters, finding a second wind late (and a Jesse Hogan goal) to push the Pies all the way to the finish.
Collingwood clung onto its one-point lead for six minutes and 18 seconds, including a game-saving mark from Steele Sidebottom after Toby Greene's snap was on-line.
It was a typically fiery start, with the pressure ratcheted right up. Collingwood's fans set the tone early, drowning out that famous GWS song as the players ran out with a "Colllllllllllingwooood" chant.
The Pies kicked the only two goals of the first quarter, capitalising on a slight edge in inside 50s as the Giants backline settled into the game.
The second quarter has been when GWS has put teams to the sword this finals series, and while it wasn't quite as ballistic as last week's efforts against Port Adelaide, the Giants were able to pick their way through Collingwood's full-ground zone with relative ease.
First it was Toby Greene, then Tom Green, and then the skipper set up Isaac Cumming and suddenly, after being goalless in the first term, the Giants took a 10-point lead into half-time.
GWS even kicked the first of the third, making it five straight goals, before Collingwood finally steadied enough to hit a target inside 50, a former Giant in Bobby Hill ending the Pies' 62-minute goalless streak.
Collingwood rediscovered its drive off half-back, opening up the game through Jeremy Howe, Scott Pendlebury and Isaac Quaynor, with Jack Crisp and Pat Lipinski also lifting in the middle.
Substitute and fan favourite Jack Ginnivan's first touch – a wild shot on goal at the start of the fourth term – was greeted with a wall of noise, the lively small replacing key forward Dan McStay (knee) at three-quarter time.
Sam Taylor and Jack Buckley were simply superb in defence for the Giants, with Lachie Whitfield running hard all game off half-back.
De Goey does it all – until he can't
Just 10 minutes into the game, Jordan De Goey had three clearances himself, such was the fervour in which he attacked the ball. He kept the Pies in the game in the first half and was instrumental through the middle in the third term as the team made its charge. But the matchwinner was stuck on the bench for the final minutes, unable to rotate onto the ground as the play was on the other side of the field. It didn't matter, and De Goey sprinted onto the field after the final siren, grinning from ear to ear.
Turns out it's easy being Green(e)
The Giants' first-half lead was built on the back of outstanding work by skipper Toby Greene and young gun Tom Green. Greene was allowed far too much latitude for a player of his agility and smarts over the first two quarters, often lurking around a player who had taken a mark and receiving a handball. The bullocking Green controlled proceedings in the middle and, while his influence waned, was the Giants' best.
Cox the finals matchwinner. Again.
The Giants had drawn level courtesy of a 50m penalty and Sam Lloyd goal, and it was the Pies’ turn to push for the lead. Mason Cox has more than his fair share of outstanding finals performances under his belt, and he locked away another big moment with 14 minutes left. He led hard to take a strong mark, and converted from 45m, running straight at Sam Taylor to engage the Giant with some trash talk. One trip to the bench to replace a torn jumper later, and throw in a USA chant, and the Pies took the lead and were never headed.
COLLINGWOOD 2.2 2.6 7.7 8.10 (58)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 0.3 4.1 6.9 8.9 (57)
Collingwood: McStay 2, Crisp, Hill, Elliott, McCreery, Mihocek, Cox
Greater Western Sydney: Greene 2, Green, Cumming, Riccardi, Brown, Lloyd, Hogan
Collingwood: De Goey, Crisp, Pendlebury, Quaynor, N.Daicos, Cox
Greater Western Sydney: Green, Greene, Taylor, Whitfield, Hogan, Coniglio
Collingwood: McStay (knee)
Greater Western Sydney: Nil
Collingwood: Jack Ginnivan (replaced McStay at three-quarter time)
Greater Western Sydney: Xavier O'Halloran (replaced Ward in the fourth quarter)
Crowd: 97,665 at the MCG