Travis Cloke was too good for the Bulldogs' undermanned back line
COLLINGWOOD has moved back to sixth on the ladder with a 34-point dismantling of the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Key forward Travis Cloke booted five goals as the Magpies ran out 15.9 (99) to 9.11 (65) winners, their sixth victory in a row over the Bulldogs.
Following two straight wins, the performance was a step back for Brendan McCartney's developing team, who went goalless in the opening term and had only two to half-time as Collingwood opened a 53-point buffer.
By contrast, the Magpies looked dangerous every time they went into attack, with Cloke dominant in the air and their battery of small forwards swooping when the ball hit the ground.
With 34 goals for the season, Cloke now sits equal second in the Coleman Medal, one behind leader Lindsay Thomas.
Midfielders Dane Swan and Scott Pendlebury ran rampant for Collingwood, controlling the stoppages – usually the Bulldogs' strength – and collecting a combined 73 disposals.
The pair's enormous display offset the loss of in-and-under onballer Luke Ball with a calf injury before the match.
Rebounding defender Heath Shaw had a field day across half-back, feasting on the Bulldogs' errant kicking with nine intercept marks.
Substitute Daniel Giansiracusa and first-year player Jake Stringer both finished with two goals for the Dogs.
Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney said Giansiracusa has started as a sub the past three weeks as he was struggling to run out a full four quarters.
Veterans Robert Murphy and Adam Cooney worked hard, while Ryan Griffen persisted in the face of a heavy tag from Brent Macaffer.
"We've only really put four quarters together maybe three or four times," Buckley said.
However he took a philosophical approach post-game, happy to be 8-4 going into the bye and understanding that any team with eight players who have played fewer than 25 games will be inconsistent.
Collingwood also had the game won at half-time, restricting the Bulldogs to two goals and having a 53-point lead.
"We defended really well, didn't give them any outlets, forced them sideways and slow and that was off the back of our structure and [guarding] dangerous space," Buckley said.
He was disappointed with their approach early. "We were a bit safe ... I'm not sure if they defended brilliantly, they defended quite well but we didn't test them enough either," McCartney said.
He said the inexperience of some players caused them at times to second-guess themselves.
However he was happy with the efforts of the second half and the team's ability to adjust given the scoreline at half-time.
Collingwood heads into the bye with a win-loss record of 8-4 while the Bulldogs are 3-8 and sit 14th, narrowly ahead of the Brisbane Lions on percentage.
They'll return to Etihad Stadium next week to face Richmond, while the Magpies will enjoy a weekend off before travelling west to take on Port Adelaide in a fortnight.
Magpies star Dane Swan tackles Bulldogs veteran Robert Murphy. Picture AFL Media
COLLINGWOOD 4.2 11.4 13.6 15.9 (99)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.2 2.5 4.9 9.11 (65)
Collingwood: Cloke 5, Elliott 2, Pendlebury, Blair. J.Thomas, Seedsman, Dwyer, Kennedy, Jolly, Martin
Western Bulldogs: Giansiracusa 2, Stringer 2, Griffen, Liberatore, Boyd, Stevens, Murphy.
Collingwood: Cloke, O'Brien, Pendlebury, Swan, Elliott, Shaw
Western Bulldogs: Griffen, Murphy, Macrae, Stringer
Collingwood: Luke Ball (calf) replaced in selected side by Adam Oxley
Western Bulldogs: Nil
Collingwood: Ben Reid replaced by Adam Oxley in the third quarter
Western Bulldogs: Liam Picken replaced by Daniel Giansiracusa in the third quarter
Umpires: Bannister, Armstrong, Jeffery
Official crowd: 32,253 at Etihad Stadium