Melbourne have dealt Collingwood’s finals hopes a blow with a hard-fought 37-point win at the MCG.
With so much on the line, the Pies were desperately disappointing on Saturday in their sixth loss in a row.
The Demons, however, thoroughly deserved their 13.13 (91) to 7.12 (54) win.
Bernie Vince was outstanding for Melbourne with 30 possessions and three goals, while Jack Watts (26 disposals) and Nathan Jones (26) were also influential.
Dane Swan worked tirelessly for Collingwood to finish with 36 possessions, and Taylor Adams (26) and Scott Pendlebury (24) were also important.
With Travis Cloke still out injured and Jesse White dropped, Jamie Elliott was a surprise substitute, leaving Alex Fasolo to lead the way up forward with three goals.
The Demons hadn’t kicked a score greater than 60 points in the four games leading up to Saturday’s clash and managed just six goals in last week’s loss to St Kilda.
But they kicked four majors in the opening term and could have had more had they capitalised on their dominance around the ground in front of goal.
The listless Pies offered little resistance and should have trailed by more than three goals early in the second quarter.
But as has too often been the case for the Demons, their work rate fell away in the face of a resurgence led by Swan and Pendlebury.
Collingwood edged in front when Travis Varcoe goaled halfway through the term but the Demons did well to meet the challenge, with Vince important as they led by 11 points at halftime.
Melbourne really should have put the game away when they stretched their lead to 23 points but they left the door open and the Pies came charging through.
The ball was camped out in Collingwood’s forward half, with Fasolo’s third goal helping narrow the margin to eight points at three-quarter time.
But with the game in the balance, it was the Demons who took charge.
The Pies barely gave a yelp in a final term dominated by Melbourne, who kicked four goals to none to celebrate their sixth win of the season.
Collingwood suffered a blow when Tyson Goldsack injured his thigh in the warm-up and was withdrawn from the side. Matthew Scharenberg was handed his AFL debut as a result and acquitted himself well with 16 touches.