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Melbourne Football Club

Collingwood trounces Melbourne at the MCG

Melbourne players come from the ground following the Queen's Birthday defeat to Collingwood. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos)
Melbourne players come from the ground following the Queen's Birthday defeat to Collingwood. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos)

ANYTHING you can do, we can match.

That is well and truly the message Collingwood is sending to Geelong.

After the flag favourite Cats opened an elongated round 12 with a statement of intent, the challenging Pies closed the weekend with a similar declaration of their own ambitions.

Collingwood's 41-point victory over Melbourne on Queen's Birthday Monday wasn't as emphatic as Geelong's over Richmond earlier in the weekend, but it was as necessary.

The 15.8 (98) to 7.15 (57) win ensured the Pies remained the Cats' biggest threat for top spot, while it took them a game clear of the Giants in second heading into next week's bye.

However, wayward in front of goal and around the ground – even captain Scott Pendlebury was uncharacteristically poor by foot – the feeling remains the Pies still have more to give.

Jaidyn Stephenson, Jordan De Goey and Will Hoskin-Elliott finished with three goals each up forward, providing plenty of punch in another display of their potent threat.

Meanwhile, midfield star Adam Treloar was awarded best-on-ground honours after winning 34 disposals to go with five clearances, six tackles and a goal.

Melbourne, at the other end of the spectrum at 3-9, might finally be out of puff.

While they tested the Pies for large periods at the MCG, the Demons ultimately only had themselves to blame for their poor foot skills and a lack of connectivity forward of centre.

Just as Collingwood's scratchy win was emblematic of a campaign that can still get better, Melbourne's deflating loss was reflective of a season full of 'what ifs' and laden with regret.

Despite defeat, Max Gawn got the better of the ruck dual with fellow All Australian Brodie Grundy, winning 34 disposals to complement 33 hitouts and 10 clearances.

James Harmes, Clayton Oliver and Angus Brayshaw also won in excess of 30 touches, though their ability to hit targets forward of centre left plenty to be desired throughout the game.

A lamentable start to the match ultimately proved costly for Melbourne.

The opening quarter was dominated by the Pies. They had the game's first six inside 50s, highlighting their territorial supremacy, before making it show on the scoreboard.

However, despite kicking the opening three goals of the match, Collingwood's early wastefulness in its forward half meant it only took a 15-point lead into the first break.

In fact, such was the one-way nature of the contest throughout the term, Jeff Garlett's goal against the run of play – Melbourne's first of the match, kicked in the 30th minute of the opening quarter – was almost met by stunned silence from those within the MCG.

It led to the slightest of swings in momentum, as the Dees stemmed the bleeding.

Although they couldn't necessarily close the deficit throughout a much more even second quarter, with the margin instead ballooning to 21 points at half time, the Demons went to the main break well on top in key statistical categories like clearances and contested ball.

Having worked so hard to remain in the game late in the third quarter, classy and successive goals to Steele Sidebottom and Treloar within a minute broke Melbourne's back.

First, Sidebottom stepped around a man to snap truly from an acute angle. From the restart, Treloar broke clear from the centre, took a bounce and finished calmly on the run.

Just like that, the margin was five clear goals and the Pies were virtually home.

Melbourne chipped away at that lead throughout the final quarter, but just as it had proved throughout the match, Collingwood's advantage always seemed an insurmountable one.

In a game where Melbourne appeared destined to hand the match over on a silver platter, Tom McDonald's miss – which would have cut the lead to 14 points – resulted in a Stephenson goal at the other end. Once and for all, that proved the killer blow.

It also made for a fitting way to end a forgettable afternoon for the Demons.

MEDICAL ROOM

Collingwood: Collingwood ran out the match with a relatively clean bill of health.

Melbourne: Sam Frost failed a concussion test in the first quarter of the game following a clash of heads with teammate Christian Salem. He subsequently failed to finish the match.

NEXT UP

Both sides enjoy the bye in round 13.

COLLINGWOOD     3.5     6.8     11.8     15.8     (98)
MELBOURNE          1.2     3.5      5.9      7.15     (57) 

GOALS
Collingwood: 
De Goey 3, Stephenson 3, Hoskin-Elliott 3, Grundy, Mihocek, Sidebottom, Treloar, Cox, Thomas
Melbourne: Weideman 2, Garlett, Petracca, Spargo, Hunt, Hannan

BEST
Collingwood: 
Sidebottom, Treloar, Stephenson, Hoskin-Elliott, De Goey, Sier
Melbourne: Gawn, Harmes, Oliver, Brayshaw, May, Petracca

INJURIES 
Collingwood: 
Nil
Melbourne: Smith (flu) replaced in selection side by J.Wagner, Frost (concussion)

Reports: Nil 

Umpires: Stevic, Deboy, Whetton, Ryan 

Official crowd: 74,036 at the MCG