Collingwood beat Cats by 31 points
Collingwood are a superpower on the rise. Geelong are a superpower in decline. The Magpies’ convincing 31-point AFL win over the premiers at the MCG on Saturday night could not have better illustrated the contrasting trajectories of last season’s two grand finalists in the 10 months since Geelong won the flag.
Collingwood, free-flowing and fluid, were at the height of their powers to keep alive their top four hopes.
Geelong, disjointed and dishevelled, butchered the ball by hand, by foot, and around goal as they slid to the edge of the top eight trapdoor.
Collingwood forward Dale Thomas booted three goals in the 17.8 (110) to 10.19 (79) victory.
Midfielder Dayne Beams was among several Magpies who kicked two along with 37 disposals in a complete team performance.
The Magpies started with intent and on fire, unleashing a seven-goal first quarter as they handled driving rain and the ball in tricky conditions far better to lead by 34 points at quarter-time.
With Heath Shaw marauding at will from defence, midfielder Scott Pendlebury influential in his first match for six weeks and Dane Swan busy around the ball, the Magpies led by 46 points at halftime.
Geelong booted the opening two goals of the third term to offer the briefest of sniffs of a comeback.
But four consecutive goals to the Magpies – Thomas’ third among them – killed off any hope of that and seemingly any hope the Cats have the weaponry to win a fourth flag in six seasons.
Swan had 39 possessions and Pendlebury 36, while the damaging Shaw racked up 30 touches.
Steve Johnson was easily Geelong’s best with 36 disposals and six tackles.
The Cats’ misery was compounded with midfielder Joel Corey reported in the second quarter for a sling tackle on Collingwood’s Jarryd Blair.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said it was “crucial” his side bounced back after their uncharacteristic defeat by Carlton and was pleased with the style in which they did.
“Our tackling efficiency around the ball was pretty good in the first quarter and it set us up,” Buckley said.
“I really do think it’s crucial (to bounce back in the manner Collingwood did). You’re looking for the inspiration and the reason to find that intensity all the time.
“Clearly after a poor performance where there’s question marks over your competitiveness and your intensity, it was important to bounce back pretty quickly.”
Geelong coach Chris Scott lamented his side’s poor first quarter, but thought his team competed well for the remainder despite the defeat.
“To me it seemed like we didn’t handle the conditions as well as the opposition,” Scott said.
“Our mistakes through the midfield translated into really easy shots for them. When you’re five or six goals down on the scoreboard, it becomes a real battle.
“I don’t think we played well early, but I thought we were pretty good for three quarters after that. It’s clear that our level right across the game is not where we need it to be.”© AAP 2013