‘‘I am feeling the emotion of my supporters right now,’’ Bolton said. ‘‘I know all the things that are working. It is just the timing of that conversation. If this was in two days’ time I would feel more comfortable about it all. I think there is an element after a game us, as a club, we really hurt.’’
The Blues could not have asked for any more from their skipper Patrick Cripps, who was best on ground with 35 disposals, 19 contested possessions and a last-quarter goal when the game was on the line.
The Magpies had a plan to run captain Scott Pendlebury and Rupert Wills with Cripps but he overwhelmed them with his strength and clean hands. He also went forward at times to put pressure on Collingwood’s defence.
Bolton described Cripps as inspirational and admitted that some of their ball movement showed plenty of other on-ballers were coming along for the ride, with the coach saying the players gave their heart and soul in an attempt to get a win. But some fumbles late and Collingwood’s class around goal proved the difference in the end.
‘‘We were probably a little bit overzealous at times. There were too many people at the ball and they got outside us and kicked a couple of goals,’’ Bolton said.
‘‘You have to live it and learn it. We’re learning the hard way because the close losses haven’t gone our way just at the moment.’’
Bolton refused to blame umpires despite the free kick count being heavily in Collingwood’s favour, with Carlton receiving eight free kicks and conceding 24, describing umpiring as the hardest job in the game.
The Blues now travel to Sydney to play Greater Western Sydney in an attempt to back up a performance that did not surprise Collingwood.
Magpies coach Nathan Buckley said he was elated to get the win because the Blues had played well all game and tested the Magpies throughout.
He praised Steele Sidebottom for his performance as he stepped into more of an inside role in the absence of Taylor Adams and Dayne Beams, to have 34 disposals, and said Adam Treloar lifted too when the game was on the line.
Collingwood expect Mason Cox to be in line for selection after missing the past two weeks with a foot injury, however Chris Mayne will need to be assessed after he was concussed when he copped a boot to the head from Sidebottom.
Matchwinner Jordan De Goey also finished with ice on his shin at the end of the game after kicking the sealer late in the last quarter, with Buckley saying the Magpies were merely managing him.
‘‘He played the game out and had an enormous impact whether it was in the midfield or forward. He is a game-winner in that regard,’’ Buckley said.
Collingwood face St Kilda next Saturday afternoon at the MCG.
Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.