Quinten Lynch takes a strong grab during Collingwood's big win
MELBOURNE'S resistance was brave but all too brief in its showpiece game of its season, with Collingwood flexing its muscle to win Monday's Queen's Birthday match by 83 points at the MCG.
After promising to play Monday's game like a final, the Demons fought impressively in the first quarter, tackling at a level not seen this season and earning loud applause as they entered the first break trailing by just one point.
It proved a standard they could not uphold, however, with the Magpies booting 10 unanswered goals through the second and third quarters to win 17.20 (122) to 5.9 (39).
The former Magpie watched on as his old team enjoyed a significant percentage boost, moving to sixth on the ladder with a 7-4 record.
Coach Nathan Buckley highlighted the debut of Adam Oxley, who was a late replacement for Jamie Elliot, and the performance of his young brigade.
"We're exposing some of our young talent to the AFL standard, and even some of our second and third-year players are starting to stand up and play important roles in or side," he said post-match.
"Paul Seedsman and Marley Williams, I though their run and endeavour at the back was important.
"Ben Kennedy's constant competitiveness in that forward half is working for us, Kyle Martin pops up and finds holes on the field.
"We're getting good contribution from young and old, but we need to turn that good to great."
The victors had 10 separate goalkickers, while in the midfield Dane Swan (39 possessions and eight clearances), Luke Ball (31 and eight) and 21-year-old Josh Thomas (27 and two goals) were all influential.
Half-backs Heath Shaw and Harry O'Brien, who continue to prosper further afield, set up the Magpies' attacks with their run and precise ball use.
In just his second game, elevated rookie Kyle Martin kicked an equal game-high three goals, matching teammates Ben Kennedy and Travis Cloke, who was relatively well held by opponent Colin Garland.
Melbourne attacked the first quarter like it was a Grand Final, let alone a final, with midfielder Colin Sylvia, who returned from a three-game suspension, tackling like a man starved of the football.
Jack Watts was winning contested ball and fending off opponents, while captain Jack Trengove led by example.
The effort didn't last, however, with the Magpies controlling the midfield and kicking 16 goals to four thereafter.
Frustratingly for Melbourne coach Mark Neeld, the Magpies had 24 shots on goal as a direct result of Demon turnovers.
"In the end, and fairly enough, some of the Collingwood boys decided we don't have to chase you, you're going to turn it over," Neeld said.
"The [in]ability just to complete a possession chain, it's just frustrating.
"The guys leading the way in terms of being able to do that, Dean Terlich, Matt Jones, (Jimmy) Toumpas, they've been here for five minutes.
"The positive is there's the glimpse into the future, we talked about that [post-match]."
As well as Garland, Matt Jones (24 possessions) and Tom McDonald were impressive for the Demons, while Trengove kicked on to finish with two goals.
Michael Evans boots the ball forward under pressure during the game against the Pies. Picture: AFL Media
MELBOURNE 1.5 1.7 3.9 5.9 (39)
COLLINGWOOD 1.6 7.11 12.15 17.20 (122)
Melbourne: Trengove 2, Davey 2, Blease
Collingwood: Cloke 3, Martin 3, Kennedy 3, Thomas 2, Didak, Lynch, Pendlebury, O'Brien, Swan, Macaffer
Melbourne: Garland, McDonald, M. Jones, Terlich, N. Jones, Toumpas
Collingwood: Swan, Ball, Shaw, Pendlebury, J. Thomas, O'Brien
Melbourne: Dawes (ankle), McKenzie (lacerated face)
Melbourne: Luke Tapscott replaced Chris Dawes at half-time.
Collingwood: Adam Oxley replaced Nathan Brown in the third quarter.
Umpires: McBurney, Margetts, Kamolins
Official crowd: 50,835 at the MCG.