Jack Ginnivan and Brayden Maynard clash during the round four match between Collingwood and Hawthorn at Adelaide Oval, April 7, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

THE KINGS of the close finish have done it again, but only just. 

Collingwood had to use an old playbook to overcome a stunning second-half fightback from Hawthorn on Sunday night before securing an important 11.11 (77) to 11.6 (72) victory.

The Magpies won all three finals by single digits last September – plus 14 other games under Craig McRae – and only just navigated past the Hawks by five points in a memorable conclusion to the second edition of Gather Round. 

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Sam Mitchell's men recovered from 38 points down at half-time and got within one straight kick. They kicked the final five goals of the game, including the only four goals of the fourth quarter in a dramatic finish at Adelaide Oval.


Despite losing three forwards out of the Easter Monday loss to Geelong – Luke Breust, Nick Watson and Mitch Lewis – Hawthorn found the firepower to challenge Collingwood late and almost pinched one of the upsets of the season.

And it was all about the small forwards. 


The two that moved clubs – Jack Ginnivan and Lachie Schultz – last October. The one that used to kick big bags in the TAC Cup – Blake Hardwick – and Hawthorn’s vice-captain Dylan Moore. 

The game was built around Ginnivan's first appearance against his old side after the premiership Pie’s bombshell move on deadline day. And he didn’t disappoint, kicking two goals including one in the final quarter after pointing out to the boundary umpire that Isaac Quaynor hadn't given the ball back, conceding a 50 metre penalty in the process.


Hardwick used to kick big bags in the TAC Cup as a teenager, but the forward-turned-defender returned to his natural habitat in attack after half-time, booting four second-half goals to turn the game, including three in a stunning third-quarter burst. 

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Hawthorn vice-captain Dylan Moore slotted three of his own, but it wasn't enough to bank a win for the first time in 2024.


Box office star Jordan De Goey rose to the occasion, producing his best showing of the season to date, finishing with 31 disposals, 11 contested possessions, seven tackles, six clearances, 791 metres gained and a goal in a standout performance. 

Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell fired against the side he left 18 months ago, amassing 30 touches, 18 contested possessions, 10 tackles and seven clearances. 


John Noble continued his redemption tale with another eye-catching display off half-back, backing up a strong return to the 22 on Easter Thursday after being dropped on the eve of last September and missing out on a place in Collingwood's flag-winning side. 

After starting the premiership defence without a win across the first three rounds, following losses to Greater Western Sydney, Sydney and St Kilda, the Magpies head to the bye with their season back on track after back-to-back away trips. 


They had to navigate an opponent that was depleted on paper and winless to start 2024, but one that has been historically challenging. Hawthorn had won 14 of the past 17 games between the clubs dating back to the 2011 preliminary final, but it was fighting out of its weight division at Adelaide Oval. With a wide gap in experience – 66 average games to 144, and seven players with less than 20 games compared to the Magpies' one – the Hawks were gallant but exit round four without a win to start 2024.


Veteran Pie subbed out
Scott Pendlebury was subbed out of the game at half-time after copping a knee to the back from Josh Weddle just before the main break. The former skipper went straight into the rooms and didn't return after copping a hit in a similar spot to a recent incident. Pendlebury wasn't sent to hospital and was replaced by Steele Sidebottom at the start of the third quarter.


Gun Hawk back to his best
Jai Newcombe has been a sensation since being picked in the 2021 Mid-Season Rookie Draft. He has finished second in the past two Peter Crimmins Medals and last year was included in the 44-man All-Australian squad, but the Poowong product has been below his best to start 2024. That was until Sunday. Newcombe had a big impact with 26 disposals, 18 contested possessions, 10 clearances, seven tackles and six inside 50s.


COLLINGWOOD   4.1    9.4    11.6    11.11 (77)
HAWTHORN         1.1    3.2     7.5     11.6 (72)

Collingwood:   Schultz 2, Mihocek 2, Pendlebury, McInnes, Hoskin-Elliott, Elliott, De Goey, N. Daicos, Crisp
Hawthorn: Hardwick 4, Moore 3, Ginnivan 2, Ramsden, Newcombe

Collingwood: De Goey, J. Daicos, Mitchell, Frampton, Noble
Hawthorn: Hardwick, Newcombe, Amon, Moore, Impey 

Collingwood:  Pendlebury (ribs)

Collingwood:  Steele Sidebottom replaced Scott Pendlebury at half-time
Hawthorn: Henry Hustwaite replaced Sam Butler in the fourth quarter

Crowd: 43,198 at Adelaide Oval