Collingwood defender Jeremy Howe was in agony as he was stretchered off the MCG with a fractured forearm in the Magpies’ pulsating 22-point AFL win over Geelong.
Howe had a horrifying collision with Geelong small forward Tyson Stengle in the third term of Friday night’s eventful round-one clash.
After trailing by as much as 22 points in the third quarter, Collingwood roared back against the reigning premiers and won 19.11 (125) to 16.7 (103).
New Collingwood captain Darcy Moore was emotional post-match as he paid tribute to his fellow defender Howe.
“It’s heartbreaking, we go through so much together as AFL players,” Moore told the Seven Network.
“It’s pretty distressing and it’s pretty messed up. We have to forget about it and get on with the job (after the injury).
‘A horrible part of the game’
“It’s a horrible part of the game, but we expect nothing less than Jeremy, he’s an incredible teammate and he puts his body on the line.”
The Magpies swamped Geelong with an eight-goal run from late in the third term and kicked five goals to none in the last quarter for an impressive win.
Jordan De Goey, one of Collingwood’s best, put an exclamation mark on the win with a booming 50m shot for his third goal late in the last term.
The Cats edged out Collingwood by six points in last year’s epic qualifying final – one of the games of the season – on the way to the premiership and this was another classic.
Howe and Stengle contested a high ball and the Collingwood player flew into the air from the impact.
He landed heavily on his left arm and play was stopped for several minutes as he received medical attention.
Howe needed the so-called “green whistle” for some acute pain relief and the Seven Network chose not to replay the incident.
Collingwood teammates ran over to him en masse as he was taken off the ground. Stengle also had to leave the field from the impact of the collision, but was able to return.
The Magpies backman was the most concerning injury in a growing casualty list from the match.
Geelong vice-captain Tom Stewart was taken out of the game at quarter-time because of a knee injury.
Fellow Cats defender Sam De Koning also had to leave the field with a knee problem, but was able to return.
Last year’s Rising Star Nick Daicos showed no early signs of second-year blues with an outstanding game for the Magpies, racking up a match-high disposals.
Former Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury also shone in the midfield with 27 possessions and eight tackles.
Reef McInnes was subbed into the game after Howe’s injury and he impressed with two goals.
In his first game for Geelong, former Collingwood player Ollie Henry had a night of extremes.
Magpies fans booed him incessantly, but when he kicked a goal in the second term Henry put his hands to his ears in reply.
He was also at the centre of a quarter-time scuffle that resulted in teammate Zach Tuohy having his guernsey shredded.
A couple of minutes later, Henry was a bit casual as he ran into an open goal and Moore chased him down with an outstanding tackle – right in front of the Collingwood army at the Ponsford Stand end.
New Cats captain Patrick Dangerfield was their best with 22 possessions.
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