Brody Mihocek celebrates a goal during Collingwood's clash against Sydney in round eight, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

A CAREER-best five goals from Brody Mihocek has seen Collingwood take top spot with a mature 29-point win over Sydney in front of a bumper crowd at the MCG.

While the Swans are starting to get a few key players back from injury, inaccuracy was a serious factor in the 11.11 (77) to 6.12 (48) result.

MAGPIES v SWANS Full match coverage and stats

It was a fiery game, particularly early, and spot fires everywhere meant it was impossible to tear your eyes away. The niggly Ryan Clarke slotted a beautiful goal from 50 early in the first term, and immediately turned to direct opponent Nick Daicos to let him know about it.

The young gun Daicos has been a constant target for opposition teams struggling to work out how to limit his influence off half-back, and Clarke's bravado led to a melee, and a free kick to the Pies out of the middle at the resumption of play.


After the Swans struggled to handle the frenetic early pace of the game, over-possessing the ball and trying to force passes that weren't viable, the back six began to get the measure of the Collingwood forwards.

Jordan De Goey's snap at the start of the second term had taken the margin out to 20 points, and while the Swans were inaccurate in swirly conditions (4.6 for the quarter), they gradually worked their way back into the game.

The visitors hit the front with three minutes left in the second term via a Hayden McLean soccer-esque strike, eventually taking an eight-point lead into the break.


After such an eventful first half, the third term was a turgid affair, with both sides struggling to find a target in attack, defenders Darcy Moore and Robbie Fox standing tall for their respective teams, and the Swans adding just two behinds.

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Billy Frampton's bouncing effort in the fourth term from outside 50m eluded several Pies and Swans, the goal review declaring there wasn't enough evidence to overturn the umpire's call, despite the best efforts of Tom McCartin.


Tom Papley attempted to kickstart his teammates with a typically exuberant celebration after an impressive set-shot conversion from the boundary with 10 minutes left to cut the margin to 17, but no further inroads could be made.

Sydney had 78 more disposals than the Pies, with Errol Gulden (37, 13 marks) finding plenty of the footy on the wing, and Luke Parker and James Rowbottom strong in the contest.


Former Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury made a seamless return from an eye injury, Isaac Quaynor provided plenty of bounce out of defence and Mihocek was a strong target up forward, with two of his goals coming in the crucial last term.

Young Swan Marc Sheather's second game saw the former Category B rookie kick his first goal (in unlikely, tumbling fashion), but finished in the second term, hyperextending his left knee.

The (N) Daicos effect
Clarke wore Nick Daicos closely in the first half, holding him to a (mere) 13 disposals, and limiting the impact he had on the game after a stunning first third of the season. The Pie moved from half-back to the midfield (swapping with Scott Pendlebury) after half-time, where Callum Mills kept a close eye (and arm) on the younger Daicos. He built nicely into the final quarter, finishing with 25 disposals. 


Ladhams' rough match
Peter Ladhams had a first quarter he'd rather forget. The Sydney ruck needed treatment on his neck and shoulder after the first bounce, before returning for the final five minutes of the term. He subsequently gave away a 50m penalty after not giving the ball back to the Pies' free kick recipient, and missed a shot after the siren 20m out, directly in front. He played the second and third quarters as normal, but spent some more time on the bench in the last term, still suffering the effects of the first hit.

Inaccuracy costs Swans
Despite the final margin of 29, the scoresheet saw 22 Pies scoring shots to 18, and Sydney had plenty of opportunities to take the four points. Tom Papley, Logan McDonald and Aaron Francis kicked two behinds apiece, and Sydney added just 1.4 after half-time.


COLLINGWOOD          3.5     4.6      6.9      11.11 (77)
SYDNEY                      1.2     5.8     5.10       6.12 (48)

Collingwood: Mihocek 5, Johnson, Hoskin-Elliott, Ginnivan, Frampton, Elliott, De Goey
Sheather, Papley, McLean, McDonald, Hayward, Clarke

Collingwood: Pendlebury, Quaynor, Mihocek, N.Daicos, Mitchell
Sydney: Gulden, Parker, Rowbottom, Florent, Fox 

Collingwood: Adams (left ankle)
Sydney: Ladhams (shoulder/neck), Sheather (left knee)

Collingwood: Jack Ginnivan (replaced Bobby Hill in third quarter)
Sydney: Aaron Francis (replaced Marc Sheather at half-time)

Crowd: 71,463 at the MCG