Eagle eyed AFL fans believe Collingwood may have deliberately broken a rule in a stroke of tactical genius that helped them win the AFL Grand Final.
The Magpies defeated Brisbane by four points in a classic decider that came down to a thrilling final quarter.
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The Lions took a 80-78 lead when Charlie Cameron kicked a goal with five minutes remaining, leaving Pies fans starting down the barrel of another heartbreaking Grand Final loss.
But Collingwood hit back straight away, only after they were given a warning for breaching the 6-6-6 rule — where six players need to be within each of the forward 50, defensive 50, and the middle of the ground at a centre bounce.
Umpire Matt Stevic is heard saying: “That’s a warning. 6-6-6 against Collingwood. I’m going to throw it up.”
Brian Taylor said in commentary on Channel 7: “Just unnecessary hold ups. Just pay the free (kick) or move on.”
The warning meant the umpire tossed the ball up instead of bouncing it, allowing Collingwood’s 211cm ruckman Mason Cox to easily get the tap over Brisbane’s Oscar McInerney.
Nick Daicos got the ball to Scott Pendlebury, who kicked inside 50 before the ball found its way to Jordan De Goey, who snapped a goal to give Collingwood back the lead.
Steele Sidebottom then kicked a clutch goal from outside 50 and the Magpies held on to win the premiership.
Triple M’s Rudi Edsall wrote on X: “I’m surprised there hasn’t been more made about the 6-6-6 warning against Collingwood that meant the centre bounce was changed to a ball up before Jordan de Goey’s fourth quarter goal.
“Seems a bit odd to me that a team is able to profit so much from their own infringement.
“Also I don’t really understand the need for a warning at all. Just pay a free, everyone knows the rules.”
AAP’s Oliver Caffrey said: “Other clubs will now catch on to Collingwood’s genius and we could just have a 6-6-6 off next year if the warning stays.”
One fan wrote on Reddit: “Does anyone think the 6-6-6 rule infringement on Collingwood in the laster quarter that led to the De Goey goal was a set play so that was a throw up rather than a ball up.
“Collingwood practice so many in game situations that I reckon the infringement was deliberate.”
While many believed Collingwood pulled off a tactical masterstroke, broadcaster Gerard Whateley debunked the conspiracy theory on SEN.
“They fall behind and they stack their midfield for this moment. Pendlebury, Daicos and De Goey all have a critical influence,” Whateley said.
“I like to think they committed the 6-6-6 breach to get the ball tossed up but that’s not really true.”
David King said: “People are saying that’s true.”
Whateley replied: “That’s just part of myth. I’ve checked. I love to be believe that’s true not it’s not.
“Cox is able to get his hand to it then they each do their thing and De Goey kicks his signature goal.”
Former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said it’s possible it was a deliberate ploy, since the throw up advantaged Cox and the Magpies.
“Yeah they could have and that would be really smart coaching if they could have because I think Mason is better at knowing where the ball is going than McInerney,” he said on SEN.
“It definitely worked in their favour. It was a ruck solid contest but kicking the centre bounce goal had a significant impact on the game.”