Collingwood gave its fans a delicious taste of the future and West Coast an anxious next three weeks on the back of a 45-point smashing.
The Pies’ faster and braver ball use under Robert Harvey was on full show, owning the corridor and opening up their forward 50, taking 18 marks inside 50.
Collingwood was able to control the ball and showed West Coast up with its superior work rate around the ground on their way to 155 uncontested marks.
While West Coast’s fate remains in their own hands, they face a nervy few weeks ahead with GWS, Richmond, Essendon and Carlton pushing for their spot inside the top-eight.
On its way to a 90-45 win, Collingwood got its customary jump on the Eagles in the first quarter on the back of brave and precise ball movement.
AFL: Four-time premiership Hawk Jordan Lewis has lashed West Coast’s lack of pace – with and without the ball – after its loss to Collingwood.
The Pies looked inside whenever they could, but importantly didn’t use the corridor for the sake of it. Stand-in skipper Steele Sidebottom, Jamie Elliott, Will Hoskin-Elliott kicked goals before Jack Ginnivan nailed a 50-metre bomb for the first goals of his career to give Collingwood a 21-point quarter-time lead.
If Pies supporters thought they were in dreamland in the first quarter they hadn’t seen anything yet.
Collingwood played its best footy of the season during a six goal to one second term.
Stalwarts Taylor Adams, Jack Crisp and Steele Sidebottom, who had 11 touches in the second quarter, were all too much for the Eagles’ midfielders to handle, but it was the Collingwood kids who at times stole the show.
A perfectly weighted Finlay Macrae left foot pass to Brody Mihocek landed between four players where only the Magpie forward could mark it, while a Ginnivan pass to Ollie Henry inside 50 resulted in a goal for Collingwood. Add Trent Bianco’s goal and Isaac Quaynor’s rebound from 50 and it was the perfect black and white quarter.
The young Pies tired in the second half as West Coast added some respectability to the scoreboard, kicking five of the last eight goals.
The loss of Jaidyn Stephenson and Adam Treloar has been well documented, but the Collingwood kids are demanding more airtime.
The Pies had five players in this game who had played 10 or fewer games, and 10 players who had played 50 or fewer.
You wouldn’t have known it, not just looking at the scoreboard but watching them play.
Macrae (16 disposals) looks like a steal at pick 19. Henry (three goals assists), who the Pies got with a pick from the Treloar deal, is seemingly going to light up the Pies’ forward line for the next decade. And Jack Ginnivan (one goal and one goal assist), taken in the rookie draft, is as crafty as any first-year forward in the AFL.
Play fast. Use the corridor. Run and link up.
Robert Harvey and his young troops are delivering what Collingwood fans spent half the season asking for.
The Pies looked slick and unstoppable when they rifled the ball through the middle of the MCG, running rings around West Coast.
Such was the success of the system, Collingwood actually had three fewer inside-50s than West Coast but six more scoring shots.
And make no mistake, the Pies’ accuracy in front of goal can partly be attributed to the ball use through the corridor, opening up the forward 50 for easier set shots.
Since Jordan De Goey’s more permanent move into Collingwood’s midfield in Round 13 the inked star has been involved in everything for the Pies.
The 25-year-old has averaged almost nine score involvements a game since that move and had his fingerprints over everything good for the Pies again.
De Goey had three score involvements and a goal assist to second-gamer Jack Ginnivan in the first quarter as the Pies jumped the Eagles.
De Goey ended the game with 34 disposals, 518-metres gained and six score involvements.
It’s no secret Jeremy Howe makes Collingwood’s defence better, but perhaps some had forgotten how much better.
The luckless 31-year-old was impenetrable in his return for his first game since Round 5 this year.
Howe finished with 24 disposals, 331-metres gained and five intercepts.
MAGPIES 4.1 10.1 11.4 14.6 90
EAGLES 0.4 1.5 2.7 6.9 45
GOALS Magpies: Elliott 2, Mihocek 2, Bianco 2, Hoskin-Elliott, Sidebottom, Ginnivan, Cameron, Thomas, Grundy, Quaynor, Noble. Eagles: Cripps 2, Yeo, Darling, Kennedy, Sheed.
INJURIES Magpies:. Eagles:.
UMPIRES Deboy, Williamson, Gianfagna.
News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom