Live: Collingwood vs GWS
COLLINGWOOD and Richmond in the preliminary final at the MCG on a Friday night.
The finals match-up the AFL dreamed of is a reality after the Magpies saw off GWS by 10 points in a hotly-contested semifinal on Saturday night.
Collingwood exploded out of the blocks and looked headed for a crushing win as it led 3.6 to 0.2 at quarter time.
But the Giants fought back in the middle two quarters and it took a three-goal blitz early in the final term for Nathan Buckley's men to secure a spot in the final four.
That it comes against the Tigers will delight AFL headquarters as the two biggest clubs in the land go head-to-head in a final for the first time in 38 years.
It was almost too much for Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, who rode every bump with his team from the grandstand.
"I'm just so delighted for everybody," McGuire told Fox Footy.
The Pies led by just three points at three-quarter time but kicked the first three goals of the final term to score a 9.15 (69) to 9.5 (59) win in front of 72,504 fans.
Jordan De Goey played a huge role in the win, terrorising the Giants defenders all night to kick three goals and have a hand in a few more.
Steele Sidebottom (31 possessions), Scott Pendlebury (25 disposals and 11 tackles) and Adam Treloar (29) did the heavy lifting through the middle and veteran defender Tyson Goldsack continued his remarkable comeback from a knee reconstruction to help keep GWS gun Jeremy Cameron to one goal.
Collingwood looked set for a leisurely hit-out on their way to a prelim with the listless Giants in disarray early.
The rampant Pies kicked the first three goals of the match to lead a goalless GWS by 22 points at the first break, with their inaccuracy the only black mark against them.
But a Stephen Coniglio-led resurgence tipped the game on its head in the second quarter.
Buckley's men suddenly found themselves under pressure at every turn and they didn't handle it well.
Ryan Griffen dribbled through the Giants' first goal of the evening and the visitors added another three majors to the dismay of the overwhelmingly pro-Collingwood crowd.
De Goey's running shot the split the middle as the halftime siren sounded for the Pies' only goal of the quarter with tensions boiling over in an all-in melee.
GWS trailed by seven points after the restart but hit the front for the first time with successive goals, including a brilliant set shot from Coniglio on the boundary line.
But Collingwood were able to regroup late in the quarter.
With the crowd at fever pitch, a sublime De Goey gather and give set up Travis Varcoe for the first goal of the final term.
Then Will Hoskin-Elliott rocked his former team with his second major and De Goey goaled from a free kick to set the Pies well on their way to a date with the reigning premiers.
Coniglio was outstanding for the Giants with 30 touches and two goals, with Lachie Whitfield also influential with 31 disposals.
WEEK THREE FINALS FIXTURE (All times AEST)
First Preliminary Final
Friday September 21 at 7:50pm at the MCG
Richmond v Collingwood
Second Preliminary Final
Saturday September 22 at 3:20pm at Optus Stadium
West Coast Eagles v Melbourne
Pies dig at confident Greene
Toby Greene's unique studs-up marking technique, in which he protects his space with his feet, has been in the headlines this week.
And the Magpies didn't miss a chance to stick the boot in with their banner tonight.
The AFL made it clear to the Giants that Greene should have been penalised once in last week's elimination final, when he kicked Nic Newman in the midriff.
But the laidback small forward was in a confident mood before the bounce at the MCG.
Greene was captured by Channel 7 telling a young Tigers fan he'd "see you next week" in a strong prediction the Giants will back for next weekend's preliminary final against the Richmond.