A confident Collingwood will carry hopes of September footy into their AFL bye after dispatching an injury-hit GWS Giants by 42 points at the MCG.
The Magpies kicked clear of GWS in the final term to run out 18.11 (119) to 11.11 (77) winners over a depleted Giants side, improving their win-loss record to 8-3.
Scott Pendlebury and Taylor Adams were damaging in midfield where Dane Swan was busy and Jack Crisp showed his talent.
But it was the Magpie defence that stood tallest, with Marley Williams, Tom Langdon and Nathan Brown all enjoying strong matches to stymie the Giants forwards.
Worse than the final result for GWS was their injury toll, with co-captain Phil Davis (ankle), Joel Patfull (ribs) and Stephen Coniglio (shoulder) facing uncertain futures with serious-looking injuries.
Patfull’s looked particularly brutal, taken to hospital after teammate Matt Buntine’s knee caught him in the ribs during a marking contest.
The Giants badly faded without them, shipping eight last-term goals to confirm Collingwood’s fourth-straight win.
Coach Leon Cameron was downcast about the prognosis for his influential trio.
“We’ve been pretty blessed in terms of injuries this year but it hit in the back half of the game today,” he said.
“Even before the injuries happened, we were probably always two or three goals behind.
“We’ve got to learn from that.”
Influential ruck Shane Mumford joined the three in the hurt locker late in the match with an ankle injury that looked less serious than those of his teammates.
Cameron’s assessment of the match was accurate, with Collingwood in control all afternoon except for one second quarter burst.
Dylan Shiel, who re-signed with the club last week, had 11 touches in 10 minutes to push the Giants to an 11-point lead.
Collingwood kicked the next four goals to reassert their authority in front of the 43,390-strong crowd; the second biggest the Giants have played in front of.
Magpie big man Travis Cloke benefited most from the injuries, kicking a goal after the final siren to finish with a haul of five for the day.
In his 100th game, Jesse White kicked three while Giants’ forward Cam McCarthy continued his improvement with four goals.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley leaving aside their second-quarter lapse was proud of his players’ effort.
“We felt like we’d stabilised the momentum of the match and were in control of how the match was played which was no small feat,” Buckley said.
Cameron said how his side, now 7-4 in the win-loss, would respond in the likely absence of his senior players was “the million dollar question”.
“We’ve got a lot of good kids … screaming out for an opportunity, no doubt some of those guys will be playing next week.”