Collingwood re-wrote the record books in the worst-possible way on Saturday night as they were thrashed by Geelong in “one of the most embarrassing losses in finals history”.
Patrick Dangerfield starred in attack as Geelong advanced to a fourth preliminary final in five seasons with a 68-point annihilation of Collingwood.
‘GET OVER IT’: Ash Barty caught in ugly Channel 7 controversy
The Cats held the Magpies to a record-low one scoring shot in the first half and were never challenged in the 15.10 (100) to 5.2 (32) semi-final victory at the Gabba.
Geelong led by 54 points at half-time and produced staggering numbers by the final siren in winning the contested possession (106-85), uncontested possession (250-110), mark (134-46), clearance (34-21) and inside-50 (46-30) counts.
At the main break it was 9.6 (60) to 1.0 (6), the one scoring shot for Collingwood marking the first time that has happened since the 1960 grand final, and just the second time in the club’s history.
It was also the club’s second biggest half-time deficit in a finals match ever, and biggest since 1984.
The AFL world was left in disbelief at the utter annihilation.
In commentary for Fox Footy, Melbourne great Garry Lyon called it “one of the most embarrassing loses in finals history.”
“That is as comprehensive a belting in a half of footy, let alone in a final, as we’ve seen in 2020,” Lyon said.
St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt said the Magpies were “absolutely exposed, particularly in the mental side of this contest.”
“They just haven’t shown up, pretty simply,” Riewoldt said.
Others brutally mocked the Collingwood capitulation, celebrating as a glum Eddie McGuire was seen watching on from the stands.
The only thing that would make this win better is more shots of Eddie McGuire. #AFLCatsPies— Matt Neal (@DrMattNeal) October 10, 2020
knowing that Eddie McGuire is quite upset now makes everything ok— coe jordy (@jocelynseip) October 10, 2020
Eddie McGuire channeling 2020 pic.twitter.com/uqNWGfXL99— jon “airships” kudelka (@jonkudelka) October 10, 2020
Eddie isn’t happy 😔— Emma Alberici (@albericie) October 10, 2020
Gimme a break! I was sitting next to Eddie and I think I saw genuine tears— Emma Alberici (@albericie) October 10, 2020
When hell freezes over.— Dave Hughes (@DHughesy) October 10, 2020
356 disposals to 200. An annihilation.— Daniel Cherny 📰 (@DanielCherny) October 10, 2020
I really want to turn off the game because it’s too boring, but Channel 7 keep flashing on Eddie McGuire and it’s too good #AFLCatsPies— Jason Gregory (@SpeechwritingAu) October 10, 2020
Speaking after the match, McGuire said Collingwood should still be proud of their “extraordinary” 2020 season.
“You know the desire’s there ... sometimes a team plays one game too many and I think that’s what we were doing tonight,” McGuire said.
“It wasn’t as if there was a lack of desire, it wasn’t as if there was a lack of endeavour but they just couldn’t get to the ball and Geelong took over and gave us a comprehensive thrashing.
“We got belted today and we’re really devastated and disappointed but you have to take it in what kind of a season it is, and to have a brilliant win like we did last week against the West Coast Eagles is something to hang our hat on.
“We have to get over this and see what next year brings.
“The disappointment is there and we have to cop that for a while and then when that subsides in the cool light of day we’ll go through the year.
“In these types of situations you don’t want to go mad on the negatives, you have to look at the things that worked for you, as well as the things that didn’t, and then make decisions accordingly.”
Geelong set up prelim clash with Brisbane
The result means the top four will fill the preliminary spots for just the second time in the past six seasons, with Geelong to take on second-placed Brisbane.
Dangerfield crashed packs, created scoring opportunities for teammates and kicked four goals himself, including a pair of stunning banana kicks from the boundary line, in an influential display.
He was far from alone, with Cam Guthrie, Sam Menegola, Tom Stewart and Mitch Duncan all on a long list of strong contributors in a dominant performance by the Cats.
Coleman Medal winner Tom Hawkins kicked four goals and captain Joel Selwood had 18 disposals just eight days after finger surgery, while retiring champion Gary Ablett came off the bench to set up two important early goals.
Cats coach Chris Scott described it as his side's best performance of the season to date, given what was at stake.
“As much as us getting away to a lead in the first half was important, I thought defensively we were really strong as well,” Scott said.
“Good teams at the end of the year defend really well.
“You don't fluke it through to this stage without being a good defensive team.”
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.