It came down to the last minute. We wanted the best and we got the best.

In one of the hottest Grand Final days ever recorded, with the two best teams of the season, in one of the best seasons in recent times, we got perhaps the best ever premiership decider.

And now it's official: Collingwood is the best team of 2023, with the Magpies edging out Brisbane by four points on Saturday in a Grand Final epic in front 100,024 people at the MCG.

In a game full of remarkable highlights, brutal toughness, brilliant goals, spectacular individualism and hard-nosed team ethos, it was Craig McRae's men who claimed this year's premiership, winning 12.18 (90) to 13.8 (86).

With five-and-a-half minutes to play, Lions star Charlie Cameron looked set to snatch the flag for Brisbane when his snap put his side four points ahead. But Collingwood superstars Nick Daicos and Jordan De Goey teamed up to immediately grab back the lead, with Daicos' swift handball to De Goey giving the Pies' No.2 space to bomb it from 50 metres in the 10th lead change of the game.


It restored the Pies' four-point lead, before Steele Sidebottom marked on the wing and was dragged to the ground by Lion Jarrod Berry. A 50-metre penalty was awarded and the Pies veteran slotted a goal from the 50-metre line to give the Pies a 10-point break with 4:23 remaining.

The game looked over before some Hugh McCluggage magic saw Joe Daniher snap a goal to get the Lions within four points with 93 seconds to play, before the Pies ground out the last moments to clinch an extraordinary flag.

Five years after the heartbreak of the 2018 Grand Final loss, the Magpies got their moment in pulsating fashion, with heroes all over the ground.

Bobby Hill kicked four goals from 18 disposals in a career-best game to win the Norm Smith Medal, while Nick Daicos had a stellar afternoon, with the young superstar having a game-high 29 disposals and a goal to end his special second season.

Daicos kicked off a frenetic first term, slotting the opening goal after a free kick. The sensation had started forward in his second game back from injury, with the Pies having all the early running. They skipped to a two-goal lead before Brisbane had caught its breath, with Zac Bailey's two first-quarter goals helping edge the Lions ahead.


The first goal was good – an on-the-run banger that sailed through – but the second was an all-timer, seeing the Lions star smother Mason Cox, collect the ball, evade two Collingwood tacklers and then snap it through. The Lions had jumped to a three-point advantage before again the Pies took back control, with a De Goey long bomb after the siren establishing Collingwood's 10-point lead at the first change.

If we thought the first quarter was good, there was the most epic of second quarters to come. During the quarter-time break, the MCG speakers blasted John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads, igniting three crowd singalongs.

It also lit the fuse for Cameron, who was making them sing for him soon enough with two quick goals and another goal assist to get the Lions firing.

Brisbane's efforts to keep the ball at ground level in defence had Collingwood unsettled and their fleet of small forwards went to work, with Deven Robertson busy, Bailey terrific and Lincoln McCarthy kicking a cracker from the pocket to put them 13 points ahead.

After full throttle footy in the second term, the third quarter hit arm wrestle territory. Collingwood was kept to 0.6 until the final two minutes, when Hill smartly spotted Scott Pendlebury open 30 metres from goal. Having watched his side surrender the lead, the Pies champion's never-in-doubt kick put his side ahead by four points heading into the last quarter.


Daniher was a big part of Brisbane's push, with the key forward having an important day, helping set up Robertson's crucial goal in the third quarter with his contested mark on the wing.

COLLINGWOOD   4.4     9.9     10.15     12.18 (90)
BRISBANE            3.0     9.3     11.5       13.8 (86) 

Collingwood: Hill 4, Crisp 2, De Goey 2, N.Daicos, Mihocek, Pendlebury, Sidebottom
Cameron 3, Daniher 3, Bailey 2, McCarthy 2, McCluggage 2, Robertson

 Hill, N.Daicos, Crisp, Howe, Mitchell, Pendlebury
Brisbane: McCluggage, Daniher, Coleman, Andrews, Bailey, Cameron

Collingwood: Murphy (concussion)
Brisbane: Nil 

Collingwood: Patrick Lipinski (replaced Nathan Murphy at quarter-time)
Brisbane: Jarryd Lyons (replaced Callum Ah Chee in the fourth quarter)

Crowd: 100,024 at the MCG