Nathan Buckley knows some people will doubt the legitimacy of the eventual 2020 AFL premiers, but he doesn’t care if Collingwood’s 16th flag comes with an asterisk.
Labelled a blockbuster, the showdown between Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs was set to thrill.
The roof closed at Marvel Stadium for a game like this would’ve captured an intense atmosphere. But this obviously wasn’t the case with the recent Coronavirus pandemic. The game wasn’t the most impressive either with the Pies dominating all night to come out as 52-point victors.
The Pies started quickly, similar to what the Tigers did on Thursday night. Collingwood slammed on the first four goals of the game as they dominated, especially out of the middle of the ground. Brodie Grundy was all over Tim English early on and there were fears in the Bulldogs’ camp that this was going to be a recurring theme throughout the night.
It wasn’t until the 15-minute mark when Mitch Wallis slotted one that the Bulldogs finally hit the scoreboard. It was Collingwood by 26 at the first change.
The second quarter started the same way as the first did. Collingwood continued their dominance as it began to look embarrassing for the Bulldogs. The Pies slammed on three more goals before a Bulldogs reply and extended their lead to 48 points.
However, the Dogs bit back and put through three straight goals to ease the bleeding and gain some momentum heading into the second half. Ben Cavarra, kicking his first goal with his first kick in league footy, was one of the Bulldogs’ three goal-kickers in the second quarter and one of their few highlights for the night. The Dogs’ midfield lifted in the back end of the term also, with Jack Macrae being the prime mover. The Magpies led by 30 at the main break.
Collingwood kicked a couple of early goals in the third through Brody Mihocek and Jordan de Goey and dampened any hope of a Bulldogs comeback as they stretched their lead to 42 points, before Josh Bruce kicked the only goal in the third quarter for the Bulldogs and his first for his new team.
The third quarter was seemingly a bit of a stalemate as the Bulldogs struggled to dispose of the ball efficiently in their forward half. Collingwood were pretty much home as they led the Bulldogs into the final change by 35 points.
The last quarter wouldn’t have been the ideal end to what ended up being a sour night for the Dogs. They only managed to register two behinds as the third-quarter Josh Bruce goal ended up being their last for the night.
Grundy continued his domination through the ruck, both Brown brothers looked exciting and the defensive set-up was at its best, holding the Bulldogs to 34 points for the night. Mihocek impressed with three goals and Mason Cox chimed in with a couple and looked very ominous all night.
Bailey Smith was arguably the Bulldogs’ best as he looks to keep improving in season 2020 and potentially become one of the better mids in the league. Collingwood ran away with the last three majors of the contest and got home by 52 points.
It was a very positive start for the black and white as they look to one of their biggest games of the season, next Thursday night against the Tigers. The Bulldogs will be looking to rebound immediately against an improving Blues outfit in Saturday twilight footy.