Collingwood have got their AFL season back on track by handing out a 69-point Anzac Day drubbing to Essendon.
Without the dozen stars suspended for the season for their roles on the controversial supplements program, the Bombers had exceeded all expectations in the opening month of the season, beating Melbourne and being competitive in losses to Gold Coast, Port Adelaide and Geelong.
But they were blown away in the first half of Monday’s contest before regaining some pride in the second half of a 22.10 (142) to 11.7 (73) loss.
Collingwood prime movers Steele Sidebottom, Taylor Adams and captain Scott Pendlebury dominated in the midfield.
Sidebottom also kicked an equal game-high four goals and was awarded the Anzac Medal as the best player on the ground.
American Mason Cox made a dream start to his AFL career with the opening goal of the day for the Magpies.
The 211cm product of Oklahoma State University claimed a mark within the opening 90 seconds and coolly converted from 40 metres out.
The Magpies’ opening-quarter score of 8.4 (52) was the highest in the 23 Anzac Day encounters between the two teams.
They led by 45 points at quarter-time and 76 at the long break.
Essendon regrouped to out-score the Magpies by seven points after halftime, but it was all one-way traffic when the match was up for grabs.
The Collingwood forward set-up was the most cohesive it has been all season, which hardly bodes well for out-of-form star Travis Cloke’s hopes of an early recall.
Having been dropped in the wake of last week’s comprehensive loss to Melbourne, Cloke was a largely peripheral figure in the VFL on Sunday.
Magpies speedster Travis Varcoe suffered another hamstring injury which prevented him from taking any part in the second half.
Collingwood midfielder Levi Greenwood was reported for striking Bombers skipper Brendon Goddard.
Collingwood’s next match shapes as a much more challenging affair away to West Coast while the Bombers will return to the MCG on Sunday to take on Carlton.