Collingwood dominated a lacklustre North Melbourne to win the Easter Saturday clash at the MCG by 35 points.
The Magpies finished with 13.15 (93) to the Roos’ 8.10 (58).
Five talking points: Collingwood v North Melbourne
Collingwood outran and tackled harder than North Melbourne and used the ball better too.
The game was effectively over as a contest at half-time when the Magpies led by 33 points, a margin that flattered the Kangaroos.
Steele Sidebottom dominated on the wing, Alex Fasolo and Heritier Lumumba rebounded hard and fast, Dane Swan returned to his ball-winning best and key forward Travis Cloke started taking marks inside 50.
By half-time, Cloke had taken seven marks inside 50 and kicked 4.3 (he added one more behind in the second half).
Collingwood had applied 37 tackles to North Melbourne's 27.
And at the long break Collingwood had six players with more disposals than North’s leading possession getter, Ryan Bastinac, who had just 11.
When Collingwood charged at North Melbourne early and denied its runners time and space, the Kangaroos fell away quickly.
The Magpies forced turnovers and capitalised on them.
They denied North Melbourne the ball and kicked long and deep inside 50.
And they broke North Melbourne's belief in themselves and in each other.
For much of the game the Kangaroos were as predictable as a knock-knock joke.
Brent Macaffer took Nick Dal Santo and quelled his influence without having to be quite as negating as he had been in previous weeks when his tagging tactics have attracted headlines.
Two late goals in the second quarter saw the half-time margin reduced to 33 points and give the Kangaroos' supporters some hope of a second-half revival.
However the third quarter saw the same pattern replayed – perhaps with a little less intensity – and players such as Sidebottom and Swan just kept racking up touches.
Collingwood should have put North Melbourne away but only held the line, kicking 1.3 to 0.4 for the quarter.
Sam Gibson battled hard and Ben Cunnington was industrious, but they did not get much support.
In fact, the Roos struggled to find a winner at all for the afternoon.
The Magpies started Luke Ball as the substitute after he suffered a bout of gastro during the week and he was introduced late.
By that time the job was done, as Collingwood toyed with the opposition and North Melbourne's structure fell apart.
The Magpies ended with 34 more disposals than North (412-378) and took 14 more marks inside 50 (21-7), as Nathan Buckley’s men stamped themselves as likely finalists.
Their win was even more resounding than the margin suggested.
Collingwood's Jamie Elliott breaks away from North Melbourne's Brent Harvey. Picture: AFL Media
COLLINGWOOD 5.4 10.6 11.9 13.15 (93)
NORTH MELBOURNE 2.3 5.3 5.7 8.10 (58)
Collingwood: Cloke 4, White 2, Beams 2, Elliott 2, Pendlebury, Lumumba, Goldsack
North Melbourne: Thomas 2, Bastinac 2, Gibson, Currie, Greenwood, Harvey
Collingwood: Sidebottom, Swan, Lumumba, Pendlebury, Cloke, Elliott
North Melbourne: Cunnington, Gibson, Harvey, Thomas
North Melbourne: Adams (eye socket)
Collingwood: Luke Ball replaced Jarrod Witts in the fourth quarter
North Melbourne: Ben Jacobs replaced Leigh Adams in the second quarter (concussion sub); Ben Jacobs replaced Daniel Currie in the third quarter
Reports: Scott Thompson (North Melbourne) reported for striking Travis Cloke (Collingwood) in the first quarter.
Umpires: Margetts, Nicholls, Hosking
Official crowd: 57,116 at the MCG