Patrick Dangerfield could hardly have done more in a super-impressive first outing for Geelong but he still ended up on the losing side as Collingwood won a NAB Challenge shootout at Simonds Stadium by eight points.
Boom recruit Dangerfield amassed 28 possessions and booted three goals – including a clutch effort after the three-quarter time siren which brought the near-capacity crowd to its feet.
Another of Geelong’s big-name off-season recruits, former Gold Coast ruckman Zac Smith, was also among the Cats’ best on Friday night.
But the home team still came up just short against a Collingwood outfit who booted 11 goals in the third term and held on in the dying minutes to win 0.21.5 (131) to 2.16.9 (123).
Unheralded Collingwood rookie tall forwards Corey Gault and Mason Cox combined for five goals.
Cox, a 211cm, 110kg product of Oklahoma State University playing only his second season of Australian Rules football, was particularly impressive in the first half.
He took several impressive marks, including a couple of contested efforts against established defenders Harry Taylor and Lachie Henderson.
The hard-running Magpies also had excellent returns from stand-in captain Steele Sidebottom, young gun Jordan De Goey and five-goal forward Alex Fasolo.
Geelong led by 27 points early in the third quarter following a goal to Shane Kersten.
But that proved to be the signal for the Magpies to go on a goalscoring rampage.
They kicked 13 of the next 15 goals, with Dangerfield one of the few Cats to look capable of stemming the tide.
The 25-year-old hails from the surfcoast hamlet of Moggs Creek and it was his desire to return home that proved the deciding factor in his decision to leave the Crows at the end of the 2015 season after a decorated eight-year stint.
Much is expected of his centre-square partnership with Geelong skipper Joel Selwood, who sat out Friday night’s match along with opposing skipper Scott Pendlebury.
Collingwood blew the lead out to 37 points midway through the last term only for the Cats to boot five of the last six majors, setting up the grandstand finish.