JORDAN De Goey's stunning return from injury has ensured Collingwood will play finals for a third straight year.
Playing his first game since round seven after undergoing hand surgery, De Goey was simply magnificent, kicking four goals and gifting another to Brody Mihocek in the 10.8 (68) to 6.10 (46) victory over Gold Coast at the Gabba.
MAGPIES v SUNS Full match coverage and stats
The win ensures the Magpies will finish in the top eight regardless of their final round result against table-topping Port Adelaide in seven days' time.
With three Alex Sexton goals early in the first quarter, the Suns jumped out to a 12-point lead, but Collingwood overturned a deficit at the stoppages and cranked up the pressure to arrest momentum.
De Goey was a menace in his first match back, running rock-solid Sun Sam Collins ragged, outmarking him in one-on-one contests and then losing him in congestion around stoppages.
BUCKS ON DE GOEY 'You understand how much we've missed'
His fourth goal from 50m off two short steps in the third term was a thing of beauty.
After missing six games with a hamstring injury, Adam Treloar also looked to have not missed a beat, racking up 26 disposals to be the game's most influential midfielder.
Jack Crisp, Isaac Quaynor and John Noble all provided excellent run from the back half.
LADDER PREDICTOR Can your team make the eight?
It took until the final quarter to shake the unpolished Suns, but Collingwood are safely into the eight and can now prepare for the Power and the finals.
Gold Coast had its chances, but were sloppy after half-time and looked rushed going inside 50.
Big Mason's miraculous goal
With the game in the balance early in the final quarter, towering Magpie Mason Cox produced a piece of magic that will follow him the rest of his career. After outmarking hapless Sun Caleb Graham 55m from goal, Cox spun around, played on and waltzed away to take a bounce. The big American then steadied himself and drilled the 35m shot on the run, much to the elation of the Magpie Army, who he playfully encouraged to support him more with his celebration.
Oh no, Nick Holman
On a much smaller stage, but Nick Holman's third-quarter blunder that cost his team a goal brought back memories of another Collingwood triumph – Nick Riewoldt's 2010 Grand Final replay nightmare. With the Suns trailing by five points on the stroke of the final change, Alex Sexton squared the ball to an unmanned Holman, who took the mark in the goalsquare. An unsuspecting Holman took a step to play on and was mown down from behind by Jack Crisp to forfeit a certain goal – just as Riewoldt did to a Heath Shaw smother a decade ago. Moments later Cox kicked a goal to extend the Pies' lead to 11.
The Alex Sexton rollercoaster
The 2020 season has been bizarre for all types of reasons, and Alex Sexton encapsulates that as much as anybody. The Gold Coast small forward led the club's goalkicking in 2019, kicking 39 majors and was then voted into the leadership group during the pre-season. Following some patchy form, Sexton has been dropped twice this year, but showed just what he was capable of against the Pies. He kicked three goals in the first quarter to single-handedly keep his team in the match early.
COLLINGWOOD 2.2 4.5 7.5 10.8 (68)
GOLD COAST 3.1 3.5 5.6 6.10 (46)
Collingwood: De Goey 4, Cox 2, T.Brown, Crisp, Hoskin-Elliott, Mihocek
Gold Coast: Sexton 3, Corbett, King, Swallow
Collingwood: De Goey, Treloar, Quaynor, Crisp, Daicos, Noble, Cox
Gold Coast: Powell, Weller, Miller, Sexton, Bowes
Gold Coast: Lemmens (corked thigh)