The Magpies suffered a serious blow in the first quarter of the 2023 AFL grand final after Nathan Murphy took a shoulder directly to his head when competing for a loose ball.
The Collingwood camp was left nervously waiting to hear the news about the key defender’s head injury assessment.
He was immediately taken off the field over concussion protocols with Patrick Lipinski subbed in to replace him.
He sat on the sidelines with his head in his hands and did not return to the field.
Richmond legend Matthew Richardson said it was a particularly nasty hit, but the Herald Sun’s Jon Ralph confirmed Murphy had “bounced back up” in the changerooms shortly before halftime.
It was a rough and tumble start to the premiership decider with Nick Daicos, Eric Hipwood, Brayden Maynard and Dane Zorko all being involved in head high tackles — but only two were paid as free kicks.
While Matthew Richardson was happy with the one where Zorko leaned into a tackle and was collected over the shoulder — many others didn’t see it that way.
“You are kidding,” AFL legend Gerard Healy said on radio.
Kane Cornes also said: “You have to protect the man going for the ball.”