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Thrilling final to come

Injuries the problem

MELBOURNE, Saturday (AAP). - The scene is set for a bone-crunching and thrilling VFL preliminary final at VFL Park next Saturday when Coll ingwood meets Geelong to decide who plays Carlton in the grand

final.

The Magpies 19.19 (133) scraped in by one point against Fitzroy 19.18 (132) at the MCG in one of the most memo rable clashes in recent years. '

Meanwhile at VFL Park Carlton 16.17

(113) crushed Geelong 11.7 (73) by 40 points in the second semi-final to advance to their second grand-final appcarance in three

years.

Both Collingwood and Geelong are beset

with injury problems after today's'matches.

The Magpies could be without Brownlow. medallist and champion ruckman Peter

Moore, who was carried off the ground in . the second quarter after suffering an injury to his right leg's lower hamstring muscle.

Club medical officers will examine the

injured leg tomorrow, but at this stage he must be considered unlikely to play against Geelong. . .

The Magpies also lost talented defender Andrew Smith late in the second term with a dislocated left shoulder. Club officials said after the match he would almost certainly not take the field again this season.

Meanwhile, Geelong officials will be anx . iously watching the progress of winger

Michael Turner and rover Neville" Brun's at

training this week.- . - :

Turner was helped off the ground early

in the third quarter with suspected broken/ ribs, while- Bruns sprained his left ankle within 30 seconds of the first bounce.;. .

The Cats'class centr.e-half forward, Stef _phen Reyrioldsdn/could also be in doubt for ! next week's clash after suffering a hip injury.

To'day saw the exit of Fitzroy from-the - finals scries after the team had striven ^valiantly to defeat Collingwood at the MCG. After a magnificent fightback in the second "half the" Lions failed by the narrowest pos

sible margin.

Fitzroy's coach, Robert Walls,' was both proud and gracious in defeat.

The first-year coach praised both his own players and Collingwood.

. "The way the guys played in the second half I could not have asked for any more". Walls said. "They played with dignity today.

It was an enormous credit to them all".

He said, he "admired" Collingwood's fighting spirit. "They never gave in", he said. "They got the best out of themselves". They had the lead, then lost it, but fought back.

You "have to admire them for that".

The Lions chief said the impact of the loss

would probably not hit him until tomorrow; morning. However, the mood in Coll ingwood's dressing room after the match was hardly one of jubilation.

Collingwood's coach, Tom Hafey, said he "aged about 10 years in 100 minutes", today. He was confident the Magpies would win, he said, but admitted he had more than a few worrying moments towards the end of the game. . '

"I "could see Fitzroy firing up but I still had a lot of confidence because they never gave in", he said. "One thing about the side is they do fight their best when they have their backs against the wall".

He said the loss of Moore had had a big influence on the game and that after Coll ingwood had lost Moore and Smith the Lions started to gather their momentum.

,'The Magpie coach also said today's \vin would lift the morale of the players, which had hit rock-bottom at the beginning of the

week.

"The morale was low at thexlub at the beginning of the week", he said. "On Tues day night the training was embarrassing. It

was the worst I have ever seen. We needed

this win to litft the spirit around the club". ' -Asked about the Magpies' prospects for . next week; Hafey replied that they could . play better. He said reserve ruckman Chris ? Perry could be called on to take Moore's

place if the blond-headed giant cannot line up next week. '

Geelong's coach, Bill Goggin, admitted after the' ga'me that" the Cats had a tough

task ahead of them.

.. "We have now got to find out if we can bounce back and at the moment the odds are against us", he said. "Today's effort made ' us look ordinary and'during the next week

we will have to take a look at the reserves ranks to see what is available there".

Picturegram

Collingwood forward Ross Brewer marks strongly over Fitzroy's Chris Smith in VFL semi

final at MCG

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