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Great Southern pair Darcy Cameron, Mitch McGovern taste victory in first week of AFL finals series

Calvin SimsAlbany Advertiser
Darcy Cameron and Patrick Lipinski celebrate Collingwood’s qualifying final win.
Camera IconDarcy Cameron and Patrick Lipinski celebrate Collingwood’s qualifying final win. Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images

North Albany junior Darcy Cameron kicked a vital early goal as Collingwood claimed a gripping seven-point qualifying final win over Melbourne at the MCG on Friday night.

The Magpies led by 25 points going into the last break but had to ward off a rampaging Demons late in the game as they kicked the only three goals of the final term.

But the Magpies held on to claim a brilliant 9.6 (60) to 7.11 (53) victory and will now await the winner of the semifinal clash between Greater Western Sydney and Port Adelaide.

The 28-year old Cameron had eight disposals, 14 hit-outs, one tackle, three marks and his first quarter major before being subbed out in the second half.

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 07: Darcy Cameron of the Magpies celebrates a goal during the 2023 AFL First Qualifying Final match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Melbourne Demons at Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 07, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Camera IconCollingwood’s Darcy Cameron celebrates a goal in the qualifying final against Melbourne at the MCG. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images

Cameron said a combined effort between himself and American ruck-forward Mason Cox played a key part in his side getting over the line.

“To get through in the first qualifying final is unbelievable, the boys put in a really good effort; they’re (Demons) an unreal side so to slog it out like we did, I’m stoked,” he said.

“It was a really tag-team effort, Mason’s (Cox) effort against Max Gawn was unreal, he matched in the centre bounce and around the ground.

“He (Gawn) got on top at stages, he’s an unreal player but I think we did a reasonable job and it went a long way in winning the game.”

Cameron, who was selected by Sydney at pick 48 in the 2016 AFL draft before making the move to the Magpies in 2020, heaped praise on an enthusiastic crowd in a wet affair.

“There was a bit of Albany weather to the night actually, it’s a long way (from Albany) but our crowd is the best in the business,” he said.

“They jump on board, they’re so loud, they get us over the line and we often refer to them as the 19th player.

“They help us so much in those big moments, you hear the Melbourne crowd trying to boo Bruzzy (Brayden Maynard) and then the Collingwood chant just dominated.

“It was pretty nerve-racking sitting on the sidelines after getting subbed out but we fought it out really well.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 08: Mitch McGovern of the Blues in action during the 2023 AFL First Elimination Final match between the Carlton Blues and the Sydney Swans at Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 08, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Camera IconCarlton’s Mitch McGovern in action during the elimination final. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images

“We were pretty calm, we probably wanted to lock the ball in a few more times but we let it spill out and it happened to go down their end, we’ll learn from that.”

Meanwhile ex-North Albany key position player Mitch McGovern played a key role in Carlton’s thrilling elimination final win over Sydney at the MCG on Friday night.

Despite leading by 29 points at half-time, Sydney stormed back in contention to get within a kick late in the final quarter but the Blues held on.

McGovern collected 16 touches, six marks, one tackle and had 463m gained.

The 28-year-old will play in the Blues’ semifinal against the Demons at the MCG on Friday night.

Denmark-Walpole product Kalin Lane gathered six disposals, 15 hit-outs and two tackles in the Brisbane Lions’ 40-point semifinal win over Williamstown in the VFL.

The Lions will play Weribee in the preliminary final on Saturday.

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