Collingwood coach Craig McRae lauded his side's growing maturity after they boosted their AFL finals hopes with a thrilling four-point upset of arch rivals Carlton, who lost star defender Jacob Weitering to a shoulder injury.
Weitering was substituted out of Sunday's clash at a heaving MCG midway through the first quarter, leaving a huge hole in the Blues' back-line.
The Magpies took advantage, outlasting their old foes in a heart-stopping 11.13 (79) to 11.9 (75) victory after leading by as many as 23 points in the final quarter.
But the result wasn't settled until the final few seconds, when Jack Silvagni's desperate snap shot out of congestion drifted agonisingly wide for the Blues.
Sam Walsh also had appeals for a high tackle inside 50m turned away on the final play of the game.
A bumper crowd of 80,627 witnessed the absorbing contest - the second-highest attendance at an AFL match since the start of the pandemic.
It was the Magpies' second win over a top-four contender in as many rounds after last week's victory over Fremantle, improving their record to 6-5 and putting them on the brink of the top eight.
"I must admit (my heart rate) did get a little bit elevated in that last minute," McRae said.
"Footy does that, doesn't it? The game's never finished.
"You've got to finish it and we'll learn some good lessons around that.
"Earlier in the year we lost games around not knowing how to win or how to kill the clock or get energy in the game.
"Today we did that better but we've still got some work to do."
Young forward Ollie Henry reclaimed his spot in Collingwood's starting 22 and kicked three goals in an important contribution, which included two majors in the final term to help keep the Blues at bay.
Steele Sidebottom and Patrick Lipinski kicked two goals each as Jack Crisp (27 disposals), Jordan De Goey (24 disposals, one goal) and Taylor Adams (21 disposals) got to work in the midfield.
They were involved in a tough battle with a Carlton on-ball division led by Adam Cerra (30 disposals), George Hewett (31) and Sam Walsh (35).
Key forward Charlie Curnow snared four goals for the Blues, including the last two of the game to give his side a late sniff.
"Our guys fought out the game really hard but if you took a snapshot across the game, Collingwood were the deserved winners," Carlton coach Michael Voss said.
"But somehow we found a way to put ourselves in a position to win and this group for the first half of the year has been able to do that time and again.
"There's some character traits about this group that are pretty handy to build off the back of."
A fiery opening ignited when Adams laid a ferocious tackle that carried Patrick Cripps over the boundary line, sparking a melee just three minutes into the contest.
Weitering's absence played a role in allowing Collingwood to gain an 18-9 advantage in marks inside-50.
Australian Associated Press
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