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Match report: Tackle-happy Pies pile the pain on West Coast

Highlights: Collingwood v West Coast The Magpies and Eagles clash in round 19
Jesse White celebrates a goal in the win over West Coast - ${keywords}
Jesse White celebrates a goal in the win over West Coast

WEST Coast's top-four hopes have received a major hit after a persistent Collingwood outfit overcame more injury misfortune to cause a 19-point upset at the MCG on Saturday.

The Eagles would have sat equal on wins with second and third-placed Geelong and Greater Western Sydney had they beaten the Pies away from home. But their disappointing run of interstate performance continued in what could be a costly loss in their bid for a finals double chance.

Full match coverage and stats

After holding a three-goal lead at half-time, the Pies looked set to be overrun by the Eagles, who took the lead for the first time three minutes into the final term and had an extra player on the interchange bench for the second half.

But that sparked the Pies into action, and they booted the next four goals to shoot clear of Adam Simpson's side to win 13.13 (91) to 11.6 (72) and claim their eighth win of the year.

It extended West Coast's losing streak to the Pies at the MCG, where they haven't beaten Collingwood since 1995, and ended a run of five wins for the Eagles who had been eking out wins despite not playing their best.

The performance was one of Collingwood's bravest of the season, particularly given the Pies lost damaging tall forward Darcy Moore midway through the second term after a brilliant start for the marking option.

Five talking points: Collingwood v West Coast

The Pies' midfield was far too strong, with Taylor Adams (36 disposals, 11 tackles), Scott Pendlebury (34 disposals, 13 tackles) and Adam Treloar (27, nine tackles) setting the tone. Steele Sidebottom kicked two goals from 26 disposals, as did James Aish, who enjoyed his best game in the white and black since crossing from the Brisbane Lions last year.

Mature-age recruit Rupert Wills also impressed on debut, gathering 17 touches and 11 tackles in a dogged display.

Flag chase 'not a lost cause', says Simpson

Collingwood's intent was on display with their ruthless tackling approach. They registered 46 alone in the third quarter, which is the most in the club's history for a single term.

"It was positive – four quarters of really solid footy," said Pies coach Nathan Buckley.

"We worked through the obvious frustration of not being able to finish off chances that we'd created coming through the midfield, but when you stick 119 tackles in a game and you're committed to play a really solid brand of footy, you're going to perform well."

The Eagles will leave Melbourne again without the four points after a listless showing, with Andrew Gaff (35 touches) and Luke Shuey (28 disposals) among their best. Simpson said after the game that the Eagles' five-match winning streak heading into the Collingwood clash had masked some of their issues.

"I'm more concentrating on our mindset and the ability to play our way rather than the ladder position. Obviously we haven't been playing at our best and it was probably on the cards to a certain degree that some of the numbers in the last few weeks were not heading in the right direction," he said.

"Today we got exposed in that area."

Early on it looked like being a better day for the travelling West Coast line-up, as key pair Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling shared three opening-term goals to help the Eagles to a nine-point advantage at the first break. 

The Pies generated enough chances early but were wasteful, with Moore one of the culprits. He took four marks in the first quarter, including a high grab in a pack, to be Collingwood's focal point, but his only goal came from a free kick won at the top of the goalsquare.

WATCH: Moore takes Eagles apart early

The role as Collingwood's 'go-to' man didn't seem to faze the 20-year-old, however, with Moore taking another huge mark in the second term over former Magpie Sharrod Wellingham. This time Moore was able to kick the goal from the tight angle in the pocket, rewarding Collingwood for its hard work.

Moore was involved in Collingwood's next goal as Travis Cloke duly converted a straightforward set shot, before the Magpies took the lead midway through the second term when Aish's floating snap sailed through.

Another goal to Aish in the final minute of the half saw Collingwood extend its lead to 17 points at the main break. It was a reflection of the Magpies' dominance around the ground against a largely lackadaisical West Coast unit.

The Pies' position at the main break was even more impressive against the top-four contenders given Moore, who was piecing together the best game of his emerging career, left the field midway through the second term with a hamstring injury and headed straight into the rooms.

He attempted to return at the start of the third term but couldn't be cleared by the Pies' medical staff. The Eagles lifted in Moore's absence, as West Coast's midfield begun to play with more fluency and direction. 

Where the Pies were all of a sudden missing Moore's presence in attack (he took five marks inside 50 before the injury), the Eagles' pair of forward dynamos started to prove difficult to contain. Kennedy and Darling kicked three of the Eagles' four goals for the third term as they closed to within two points of the Pies at the final change.

It was West Coast's layer of class that kept it in the game against the Magpies throughout the contest, and that polish was on display early in the final quarter when Jamie Cripps slotted a clever shot from the boundary line to put the Eagles in front.

Many at the ground – perhaps even the Eagles themselves – would have thought then that last year's grand finalists would run on with the game.

But Collingwood's four-goal-in-eight-minutes patch saw them jump ahead and hold onto a morale-boosting victory and inflict a dispiriting (and likely damaging) loss onto the Eagles. It was what both sides deserved.

 

MEDICAL ROOM
Collingwood: Darcy Moore was on track for a career-best game before hurting his hamstring in the second term. He tried to get back there with some run-throughs on the boundary line in the third quarter but was ruled out. "We didn't want to take any risks," Buckley said. "When you get one like that, inevitably there will be a little bit of (a) signal there, whether it's a strain or a tear, or grade one or grade two." Key defender Ben Reid also suffered a knock to his ribs in the second term but played out the game.

West Coast: Liam Duggan left the field for some treatment on his knee in the second term, but returned to the field without appearing to be too limited. 50-gamer Jeremy McGovern came off second best in a crunching marking contest early in the third term but after assessment on the bench came back onto the field. Important midfielder Luke Shuey was left floored by a behind-the-play collision early in the last quarter but was able to come back onto the field.

NEXT UP
Collingwood will front up again at the MCG next Friday night against old rival Richmond, while West Coast will need to bounce back when it faces Fremantle at Domain Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles’ top-four hopes will depend on a win.

COLLINGWOOD  2.5   7.7   8.11  13.13  (91) 
WEST COAST      4.2   4.2   9.3    11.6    (72) 

GOALS
Collingwood: Moore 3, Aish 2, Sidebottom 2, Cloke, White, Greenwood, Crisp, Treloar, Maynard
West Coast: Darling 4, Kennedy 2, Cripps 2, Hill 2, Masten

BEST
Collingwood: Adams, Sidebottom, Pendlebury, Moore, Smith, Aish
West Coast: Gaff, Darling, Hurn, Shuey, Priddis, Hutchings

INJURIES
Collingwood: Moore (hamstring)
West Coast: Elliot Yeo (illness) replaced in the selected side by Malcolm Karpany

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Donlon, Brown, Schmitt

Official crowd: 34,929 at the MCG