GREATER Western Sydney has notched just its second ever win at the MCG, withstanding a brave Collingwood fightback to win by 16 points in a fierce Easter Saturday contest that was marred by serious injuries to both teams.
The Giants started Saturday's game as prohibitive favourites and the bookmakers looked to have got it right when the visitors got out to a 17-point lead early in the second term on the back of four straight goals.
But the Magpies were not about to roll over, rebounding from their disappointing round one loss to Hawthorn to give GWS an almighty scare.
Despite being down to two men on the bench for the entire second half, Collingwood looked set to overrun the Giants when it kicked the final term's opening two goals to lead by 11 points.
However, the Giants' class shone through when it counted as they kicked five of the last six goals to clinch a 15.5 (95) to 12.7 (79) victory that spoke volumes of their growing maturity.
Both teams' days were soured by sickening injuries in the first quarter, which ran for nearly 39 minutes after Collingwood forward Tim Broomhead and Giants midfielder Tom Scully were stretchered from the ground.
Broomhead, who was a late inclusion for Ben Reid (hip), suffered a broken left leg in a horrific collision with a goalpost early in the term, while Scully suffered a fractured right ankle after his leg got caught under a Callum Brown tackle close to quarter-time.
GRAPHIC VISION: Pie's brutal leg injury
The Magpies will also be sweating on Darcy Moore's fitness ahead of round three after the young tall sat out the entire second half with a hamstring injury.
The Giants lost star forward Toby Greene before the game when he was a late withdrawal with hamstring soreness.
Stephen Coniglio (27 possessions, seven clearances and three goals) was the star for the Giants and stood up more than anyone when the game was up for grabs.
When the Pies made a fast start to the final term, Coniglio kicked two consecutive goals to put the Giants back in front – for good as it turned out.
WATCH: Coniglio brilliance leaves Pies flat-footed
Dylan Shiel (26 possessions) and Callan Ward (29) were also prime movers through the midfield, while Josh Kelly's defensive work rate shone as he laid a game-high 15 tackles.
Lachie Whitfield (26 possessions and one goal) and Heath Shaw (11 rebound 50s) gave GWS plenty of drive from defence, while Jeremy Cameron (three goals) waged an entertaining battle with Pies defender Jeremy Howe.
Ex-teammates Shane Mumford and Adam Treloar catch up after the final siren. Picture: AFL Photos
"We knew it was going a tough tussle all day," Cameron said.
"They've probably been heavily criticised in the media all week. With this competition, it moves from one side to the next, whether it's us, Collingwood, whether it's St Kilda, whether it's Geelong or whether it's West Coast.
"The team normally responds really well and they did. To their credit they had two down at the end and probably ran out of legs, so it could've been closer."
In the Giants' previous 12 games at the MCG, their only previous win had come against Melbourne in 2014.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said his team's performance had been a vast improvement on its round one loss to Hawthorn, challenging his players to maintain the effort they brought against the Giants for the rest of the season.
"It goes down as an 'L'. A very different looking one, but still the same letter. But there's a contrast between our performance from last week," Buckley said.
"I suppose it's their challenge to keep producing that and not (the effort of) round one.
"It showed a lot of pluck, showed a lot of endeavour, a lot of discipline through the game. We sort of had it on our terms for the most part, but it just opened up late."
Brodie Grundy (20 possessions, 45 hit-outs, eight clearances and two goals) was outstanding for the Magpies, decisively winning his ruck battle with Rory Lobb.
Pies captain Scott Pendlebury (30 possessions) was solid in the first three quarters, but brilliant in the last when he did everything he could to drag his team over the line.
Tom Phillips (32 possessions) gave Collingwood dash all day from defence, while fellow backmen Howe, Lynden Dunn, and Matt Scharenberg worked well together to keep the Giants' tall forwards largely in check.
WATCH: Whitfield finally puts Pies to bed
Collingwood: Tim Broomhead broke both the tibia and fibula in his left leg at the nine-minute mark of the first term, when he tried to soccer a goal and his leg collected the goalpost. The impact was sickening and the forward was stretchered from the ground in obvious pain, before taking to hospital by ambulance. Darcy Moore went down to the rooms late in the second term to be assessed for a hamstring injury. He returned to the ground briefly but did not appear for the second half. Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said Moore had suffered hamstring tightness and was in doubt for the Magpies' round three clash with Carlton.
Greater Western Sydney: Tom Scully was stretchered from the ground late in the first term after his right foot became trapped under him after he was tackled by Callum Brown. The hard-running midfielder suffered a fractured ankle in the incident and was taken to hospital by ambulance for assessment. Zac Langdon went into the rooms midway through the first quarter but returned to the field soon after with his right hand heavily taped. Stephen Coniglio spent time off the ground in the second term after copping a knock to the knee, but came back on after several minutes.
The Magpies have a six-day break before taking on Carlton at the MCG next Friday night. The Pies have lost two of their past three games against their traditional rival. GWS meets Sydney at the SCG next Saturday night, having notched its first win over the Swans at their home ground last season.
WATCH: Crisp goal freshens up Magpies
COLLINGWOOD 3.2 5.3 9.7 12.7 (79)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 4.1 6.2 10.2 15.5 (95)
Collingwood: Grundy 2, Treloar 2, Aish, Varcoe, Phillips, Thomas, Crisp, Moore, Hoskin-Elliott, Crocker
Greater Western Sydney: Coniglio 3, Cameron 3, Langdon 2, Scully, Tomlinson, Whitfield, Kelly, De Boer, Himmelberg, Lloyd.
Collingwood: Grundy, Phillips, Howe, Pendlebury, Sidebottom
Greater Western Sydney: Coniglio, Ward, Shiel, Whitfield, Tomlinson, Finlayson
Collingwood: Broomhead (broken leg), Moore (hamstring), Reid (hip) replaced in selection side by Broomhead
Greater Western Sydney: Scully (fractured ankle), Greene (hamstring tightness) replaced in selected side by Corr
Umpires: Stevic, Deboy, Gavine
Official crowd: 30,941 at the MCG