Highlights: Collingwood v North Melbourne
The Pies and Roos clash in round 23
Pie Travis Cloke tackles Michael Firrito during Sunday's clash
NORTH Melbourne has drawn some consolation after missing out on the finals overrunning Collingwood to win by 11 points in a flat contest at the MCG on Sunday.
The Magpies led by 15 points at the 20-minute mark of the third term but the Roos' 19.11 (125) to 17.12 (113) win confirmed what appeared likely before the opening bounce - Collingwood will play Port Adelaide in the second elimination final at the MCG next Saturday night.
The Pies needed to beat North by a big enough margin to make up six percentage points to overtake fifth-placed Richmond and book an elimination final against Carlton next Sunday, while the Roos' finals hopes had been put to rest on Saturday night when Carlton defeated Port by one point.
Collingwood will be far more concerned by the injuries suffered by key defender Nathan Brown (left knee) and forward/ruckman Quinten Lynch (left ankle) against the Roos.
Brown was substituted from the match midway through the second quarter, while Lynch was injured late in the third term in a marking contest with North spearhead Drew Petrie but returned to play out the final term.
The Magpies' structure will be thrown out if either is ruled out of their elimination final against Port.
Swingman Ben Reid, who was outstanding against North with five goals, is likely to have to start in defence if Brown is unfit, while Darren Jolly will likely come in to support young ruckman Brodie Grundy if Lynch does not come up.
"Yeah, look, precautionary, (he got a) knock to the knee. Don't want to take any chances," Buckley said of Brown's substitution from the game.
Buckley said in the second half he had been more concerned with getting through the match unscathed than winning.
"The second half for us was all about management, it was a really weird feeling," Buckley said.
"We weren't thinking about how we were going to win the game, we were thinking about how we got our boys through."
Roos vice-captain Jack Ziebell was outstanding on Sunday, finishing with 27 possessions and four goals, including two late in the third term that helped the Roos seize the lead and momentum going into the final term.
Ziebell had plenty of support from Ryan Bastinac (a game-high 34 possessions) and Brent Harvey (31) through the midfield, while Aaron Black was lively up forward with eight marks and 2.2.
"When we were out to what looked like a winning lead – 18 points up with 10 minutes to go – the opposition still has a chance to come back at you and we just controlled the game," Scott said.
"We still made a couple of mistakes but that area of the game was significantly better than earlier in the year."
On a warm Spring afternoon much of the interest at the MCG centred on Travis Cloke's quest to bridge the seven-goal lead Hawthorn's Jarryd Roughead held over him at the start of Sunday's game.
The star Magpie was on track to overhaul Roughead when he kicked 4.3 in the first half in a dominant display on North defender Michael Firrito.
But Cloke did not kick another goal until the 23-minute mark of the final term to ensure Roughead won his first Coleman with 68 goals, two clear of the Magpie.
Scott Pendlebury was outstanding for the Pies with 33 possessions and two goals, while Dane Swan (26) was typically prolific and veteran Alan Didak put his hand up for a finals berth with 24 possessions and a goal.
North made a characteristically fast to the game, winning its 18th first quarter for the season with an eight-goal term that put it 15 points up at the first break.
In recent times, only the Geelong has bettered that record, the Cats wining 19 first terms in 2007.
Travis Cloke made an admirable late charge but fell short of claiming the Coleman Medal. Photo: AFL Media
COLLINGWOOD 5.4 10.8 14.11 17.12 (114)
NORTH MELBOURNE 8.1 10.5 15.9 19.11 (125)
Collingwood: Reid 5, Cloke 5, J Thomas 2, Pendlebury 2, Seedsman, Dwyer, Didak
North Melbourne: Ziebell 4, Thomas 3, Black 2, Petrie 2, Wells 2, Goldstein 2, Macmillan, Bastinac, Harvey, Cunnington
Collingwood: Pendlebury, J Thomas, Reid, Seedsman, Cloke, Dwyer
North Melbourne: Ziebell, Bastinac, Harvey, Petrie, Wells, Atley
Collingwood: Harry O'Brien (flu) replaced in selected side by Jordan Russell, Nathan Brown (knee), Quinten Lynch (ankle), Ben Reid (quad)
North Melbourne: Levi Greenwood (foot) replaced in selected side by Taylor Garner
Collingwood: Jarryd Blair replaced Nathan Brown (knee) in the second quarter
North Melbourne: Ben Jacobs replaced Sam Wright in the third quarter
Umpires: Stevic, Stewart, Mollison,
Official crowd: 50,958 at the MCG