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Controversy erupted in the AFL on Monday after Clayton Oliver won best on ground in the traditional Queen's Birthday clash between Melbourne and Collingwood.
Collingwood stamped themselves as serious finals contenders after they inflicted a third-straight defeat on reigning premiers Melbourne in a Queen's Birthday classic.
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After finishing 17th last season, the Magpies will go into the bye at 8-5 and in the top-eight after posting a memorable 26-point victory in front of 76,059 fans at the MCG.
Maligned American star Mason Cox came alive with a third-quarter for the ages to help turn the game in Collingwood's favour.
In scenes reminiscent of his famous 2018 preliminary final performance, Cox kicked a goal on the run to earn a monster roar from the heaving pro-Magpies crowd.
However that same crowd was left raging after full-time when Cox missed out on winning the inaugural Neale Daniher Trophy as best on ground.
That honour went to Demons star Oliver, despite the young gun not playing in the winning side.
Oliver ran hot early, collecting 27 first-half possessions - 16 of them in the opening term - and finished with 43 to earn the gong.
But there were ugly scenes when Oliver was announced as the winner, with Collingwood supporters raining down boos from the crowd.
While they appeared to be booing Cox's snub rather than Oliver's triumph, many felt the actions of fans crossed the line considering the stature of the game and the award.
The annual Queen's Birthday match helps raise money and awareness for Motor Neurone Disease, which Melbourne great Neale Daniher suffers from.
“Obviously it’s a huge honour to play in this game, what Neale’s doing is unbelievable work for MND. We appreciate it,” Oliver said.
“Huge honour to play the game, Collingwood too good today. Hats off to you.”
A chorus of boos echoed around the MCG as Oliver accepted the award, which many labelled 'disgusting' and 'poor form' on social media.
Booing the winner of the Neale Daniher Trophy. All class. #AFLPiesDees
— Clare Murphy (@ClareAliceMurph) June 13, 2022
I don't like him much but booing Clayton Oliver on a day like today is pretty poor form. #AFLPiesDees
— Andrew Power (@MontyPython1) June 13, 2022
Terrible by the Collingwood supporter booing. Disgusting. Ungracious winners. #AFLPiesDees
— Zoe Rose Lawson (@ClavFamMumma) June 13, 2022
— Scottie Hamers (@fit4footy) June 13, 2022
Collingwood fans booing Oliver after cracking the sass when Bombers fans booed Pendlebury is pretty ironic
Also Oliver with 43 disposals and a goal 100% the deserving winner of the Neale Daniher Trophy #AFLPiesDees
— Jamison ♡︎ (@ShieldsAtlantic) June 13, 2022
That's just disappointing the crowd booing like that this game is to support Neale Daniher and MND,Not a good look at all. #AFLPiesDees
— Jamie. (@choppa87) June 13, 2022
Collingwood fans booing Clayton Oliver..
Isn’t this what they hated Essendon fans for doing to Scott Pendlebury
Pretty ordinary IMO
Enjoy the massive win Pies fans but no need to boo Oliver who I think was a clear best on despite a losing effort. #AFLPiesDees
— Aaron Wright 💛🖤 (@AaronWright360) June 13, 2022
It later came to light that AFL greats Matthew Lloyd and Cameron Ling both gave Cox three points in the judges voting, but reporter Josh Gabelich didn't give the American a single vote.
Oh dear, how do you not give Cox at least 1 🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/jAZrpXYkFW
— James Mottershead (@mottersjames) June 13, 2022
Collingwood shock Melbourne in AFL boilover
Collingwood reeled in a 20-point deficit to edge the out-of-form Demons, who were without suspended superstar Steven May following his infamous fight with teammate Jake Melksham.
Only inaccurate kicking prevented the Magpies from taking the lead earlier as Melbourne steeled themselves to rebound from a horror fortnight on and off the field.
The Demons led from early in the first quarter until ace Collingwood forward Brody Mihoceck nailed his third goal seven minutes into the final term.
Craig McRae's team would never give up their advantage from there, winning 12.10 (82) to 8.8 (56) in one of the games of the season, booting six final-quarter goals to one.
"Clearly playing against last year's premiers you expect you're going to have play four quarters," McRae said.,
"We're seeing that our best can be really competitive but we're growing as well.
"I can just see our players believing. Belief can be really powerful."
The Demons have major injury issues as captain Max Gawn spent long periods on the bench, key defender Harrison Petty was assessed following a head knock, while debutant Daniel Turner was subbed out of the match with concussion.
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