Sydney beat Magpies in AFL prelim thriller

·3-min read

Sydney have repeated history, winning through to the AFL grand final with an epic one-point preliminary final win over Collingwood at the SCG.

In front of a heaving capacity crowd of 45,608, the Swans rushed through a Collingwood behind in the last few seconds to secure the 14.11 (95) to 14.10 (94) win.

They will play Geelong in a grand final for the first time next Saturday at the MCG.

Sydney's only other preliminary final at the SCG was a one-point win over Essendon in 1996 - the start of the Swans' current era that has featured two premierships and now seven grand final appearances.

"I'm OK - it's just a prelim final by a point," coach John Longmire deadpanned post-match.

The Cats will start favourites next Saturday, particularly given they cruised to a 71-point win over Brisbane, they have the extra day to prepare while Sydney and Collingwood belted the hell out of each other to the death.

But Longmire said the Swans will be ready.

"We'll be OK. It was a pretty tough blowout, right to the last two seconds. We covered it well, we'll be OK," he said.

The Magpies, who have become the AFL's cardiac kids this season with a string of close wins, looked shot in the third term when they fell six goals behind.

But they kicked four goals to one in the last quarter to nearly do it again.

Coach Craig McRae left his players alone post-match for a few minutes, saying he was worried his emotions would get the better of him.

"It's difficult, because you get so close. There's just an overwhelming sense of pride, though.

"You look at the players in the eye and see how much they hurt and see how much they've given for the year, to fall short.

Crucially, Tom Papley was paid the mark and kicked his third goal for Sydney midway through the last term when he should have been penalised for a push on Darcy Moore.

Luke Parker subdued Collingwood star Jordan De Goey in a best-afield performance, while captain Scott Pendlebury and fellow onballer Jack Crisp were outstanding for the Magpies.

Lance Franklin kicked two first-half goals for the Swans, taking him to equal-third for AFL goals in finals.

"What a finish. Wow. Well done to our boys. They fought really hard. They were a really good team. We knew they were going to come and they did," Franklin said.

"It felt longer than 30 seconds (at the end), that's for sure."

Swans key position player Sam Reid was subbed off at the start of the third term with an adductor injury, putting him in serious doubt for the grand final.

Coach John Longmire refused to address Reid's chances of playing next week.

"It's not relevant at the moment, it's just after our game. I don't deal in the what-ifs an hour after the game. Let's wait and see," he said..

Franklin, after a quiet qualifying final against Melbourne's All-Australian Steven May, was much more prominent and played a key role in the win.

His two first-half goals took him to 74 in finals - equal-third on the all-time AFL list.

It was a fast and furious opening half with a total score of 18.8 - the most in the first half of a final since 2010.

Sydney led by 21 points at quarter-time and five goals at the main break.

Collingwood kicked the last two goals of the third term to only trail by 23 points at the last change, setting up the pulsating final quarter.

The game looked over 12 minutes into the third term when Magpies defender Darcy Moore - arguably the player of the finals in the first two weeks - tried to centre a pass to Jeremy Howe.

Justin McInerney picked off the kick and tore forward to goal and put the Swans 35 points up.

But Collingwood, as they have done repeatedly this season, rallied and nearly pulled off another miracle comeback win.