Collingwood have further tarnished West Coast’s AFL premiership credentials, recording an upset 19-point win over the Eagles at the MCG.
The Eagles, faced with a challenging run to the finals, desperately needed to bank four premiership points on Saturday in their final trip to Melbourne during the regular season.
Instead they were outplayed for large portions of a scrappy game, thumped 47-28 in clearances and beaten 13.13 (91) to 11.6 (72).
Collingwood’s total of 119 tackles was a club record, while Rupert Wills laid 11 tackles – more than any other player on debut in the game’s history.
The result was all the more remarkable, given Collingwood forward Darcy Moore – arguably best on ground in the first half – hurt his leg and sat on the sidelines after halftime.
West Coast, who confront Fremantle, Greater Western Sydney, Hawthorn and Adelaide in August, are unlikely to slip outside the top eight before finals.
But coach Adam Simpson is still grappling with the same question he has been trying to answer for most of the year.
Why do the Eagles perform so poorly outside Perth?
Simpson will need to work it out soon, otherwise last year’s grand finalists will be making up the numbers come September.
Collingwood, no risk of making the finals after an inconsistent season, were simply too hard, fast and desperate for the Eagles.
West Coast, who were shooting for a sixth straight win but coming off unconvincing victories over Melbourne and Carlton, trailed for most of the second and third quarters.
But they rallied after halftime and regained the lead early in the fourth term, when Jamie Cripps converted his set shot from a tight angle.
The hosts’ response was overwhelming.
Collingwood made a mockery of the low-scoring game, piling on four goals in the space of eight minutes.
Eagles Josh Hill and Josh Kennedy missed shots in response, ensuring there was no late twist.
Moore clutched six marks and booted 3.2 in a dominant opening half, while Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy dominated the ruck contests.
Taylor Adams and Scott Pendlebury both had plenty of ball and tallied a combined 24 tackles and 15 clearances for the Magpies.
Jack Darling booted four goals for West Coast.