Collingwood can thank 'Spider-Man' Rampe for win over Swans
DANE Rampe's SCG nightmare has continued, with another brain fade from the co-captain helping secure Collingwood a thrilling victory over a gallant Sydney.
At the same end of the ground as his bizarre goalpost climb a fortnight ago, Rampe ran over the mark in the dying minutes to gift Magpie Chris Mayne a 50m penalty that ended Sydney's crusade and clinched Collingwood a stunning seven-point win to open indigenous round.
To make matters worse, Mayne's original shot for goal had missed badly. However, after the 50m penalty, he was moved to the goalsquare and sent his second chance straight through the middle.
Swans star Sam Reid kicked six scintillating goals to claim the Goodes-O'Loughlin Medal on Marn Grook night, but his brother Ben nailed the one that mattered to keep Collingwood's noses in front heading into the final stretch.
Sydney young gun Nick Blakey had taken a brilliant mark and kicked home from in front to cut the margin back to two, before Rampe's emotions again got the better of him in a high-pressure situation and Collingwood prevailed 11.14 (80) to 11.7 (73).
Two weeks ago, Rampe controversially got away with clambering up the post - when many argue it should have been a game-deciding free-kick to Essendon - but there was no such luck on Friday night as Mayne was handed a saloon passage into the goalsquare to put the result beyond doubt.
Despite the disappointing end, Sydney's Bloods spirit has been reinvigorated.
After back-to-back wins over the Bombers and North Melbourne, the Swans pushed one of the premiership favourites to the absolute limit.
There was no player under a more intense spotlight during the Swans' early season struggles than the enigmatic Sam Reid.
Essendon all-time great Matthew Lloyd went so far as to suggest the $600,000 big-money star had never truly influenced a game during his entire Sydney Swans career.
The criticism was about as scathing as it gets, with the heat not only coming from the outside.
But one month on and Reid picked one of the biggest nights of the year to illustrate exactly what he was capable of, booting a career-high six goals in arguably the performance of his career.
Up against older brother Ben, Reid had kicked three by midway through the second quarter, only to keep on coming.
A banana-bending thriller from the boundary line with nine minutes left in the third gave Reid his fifth and looked the turning point in the match as Sydney clawed their way back to within three.
Moments later Lance Franklin (two goals), having been kept quiet all night, got on the end of one and snapped home to put Sydney in front.
The Swans have been among the AFL's slowest starters this season, but got off to a flyer for Marn Grook, kicking the first three of the match before Collingwood returned serve with four straight of their own.
Reid and Tom Papley wrestled Sydney back into it again and little separated the two fierce rivals at half-time and three-quarter time.
MORE DRAMA FOR WELLS
Playing his first game of AFL footy in 12 months, Collingwood ace Daniel Wells returned to kick three goals by half-time and turn the tide against Sydney.
But midway through the third quarter, Wells' night took a sinister and all-too-familiar twist when his knee appeared to buckle in a tackle.
Wells cut a forlorn figure as he limped from the ground, not to be seen again.
The question now is, how much time does the superstar midfielder have in the AFL before the curtain closes for good?
Wells' body has been a disaster and since leaving North Melbourne has played just 15 out of 58 games for Collingwood, with a myriad of different injury setbacks.
At 34 years of age, Wells had only a few weeks to prove his worth for the Magpies, according to St Kilda great Leigh Montagna, who believed the premiership contenders would soon move on.
Swans tagger George Hewitt also found himself in the wars and was forced off in the third quarter with a bad cut above the eye. He looked groggy as he left the field.