Mason Cox celebrates a goal during round 11, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

COLLINGWOOD veteran Steele Sidebottom is set for a stint on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury that soured his 300th AFL game and his side's 35-point win over North Melbourne.

The Magpies confirmed Sidebottom suffered a medial collateral ligament injury in his right knee in an awkward tackle on Cameron Zurhaar in the opening 10 minutes at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.

Collingwood were clearly initially rattled by the Sidebottom injury but were able to keep a gutsy but scrappy North Melbourne at arm's length to claim a 16.9 (105) to 10.10 (70) win and maintain outright top spot.

The Magpies were celebrating Sidebottom's milestone and Mason Cox's 100th game but the occasion was soured when the winger tackled Zurhaar then started feeling for his right knee, clearly in discomfort.

He headed straight down the race for assessment before being officially substituted out of the game and replaced by Will Hoskin-Elliott.

"He's done an MCL and will miss the rest of the game unfortunately," Collingwood football boss Graham Wright said in a statement posted to the Magpies' Twitter account.

Sunday's game was otherwise relatively routine for Collingwood against the struggling Kangaroos.

Jordan de Goey was at his dynamic best for the Pies, racking up 35 disposals, 10 inside-50s, 589m gained and one goal while Nick Daicos collected 32 disposals and had seven clearances.

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Wingman Josh Daicos kicked three classy goals and Brody Mihocek had three, while Isaac Quaynor intercepted at will.

Former No.3 draft pick Will Phillips played arguably his best game for North Melbourne with 29 disposals and five clearances, while Nick Larkey finished with five goals.

MAGPIES v KANGAROOS Full match coverage and stats

The Magpies raced away with the first four majors of the game as the Kangaroos, lacking polish, struggled to go with the slick AFL leaders.

North kicked its first two goals of the game in the second quarter, while holding Collingwood to three for the term.

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But the Magpies exploded after halftime, leaving the Kangaroos in their wake with a six-goals-to-two third quarter to nudge their lead out to 53 at the final change.

Boom Roos youngster Harry Sheezel went down to the rooms for treatment late in the third quarter after a boot to the face but returned.

Cox delighted the crowd in his milestone game when he took a towering mark over Ben McKay early in the final quarter, slotted his second goal and celebrated with aplomb.

The 17th-placed Kangaroos fought it out with a six-goal last quarter to keep the final margin somewhat respectable.

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Heartbreak for one milestone man
Heart-and-soul Magpie Steele Sidebottom brought up his 300th game against the Kangaroos, but the milestone match didn’t go exactly to plan. Sidebottom injured his knee early in the match and was subbed out of the game before quarter time. The club later confirmed the 32-year-old had torn his MCL, but a timeframe for his return is not yet known.

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Joy for the 100-gamer
The AFL has never seen a player like Mason Cox. At 211cm and sporting unique goggles on the field, the American-born Cox is impossible to ignore. He brought up his 100th AFL match at Marvel Stadium against the Roos, an incredible feat given he only picked the sport up as a 23-year-old. With his family watching on in the stands after making the trip from the United States, Cox showed why he’s become somewhat of a cult Australian classic, booting two goals, including one from an overhead mark that showcased his reach and athleticism.

Mason Cox and Griffin Logue wrestle during round 11, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Green shoots for North
While the game looked over at three-quarter-time, the Kangaroos found a spark in the final term. Their fourth quarter showed that when their young guns get going, North Melbourne looks like a different side. Larkey produced a five-goal performance reminiscent of the 90s where it was common to kick bags in a losing side, while Will Phillips found a new gear, and Bailey Scott (621m gained, one goal) his second 30+ disposal match in as many weeks.

ALL THE HIGHLIGHTS

COLLINGWOOD              4.3    7.5    13.8   16.9 (105)
NORTH MELBOURNE       0.3   2.8    4.9    10.10 (70) 

GOALS 
Collingwood: Mihocek 3, J.Daicos 3, Ginnivan 2, Cox 2, Hoskin-Elliot 2, N.Daicos, De Goey, Adams, Johnson
North Melbourne: Larkey 5, Stephenson 2, Howe, Zurhaar, Scott

BEST 
Collingwood: De Goey, J.Daicos, Mitchell, N.Daicos
North Melbourne: Greenwood, Larkey, Scott, Phillips

INJURIES 
Collingwood: Steele Sidebottom (knee)
North Melbourne: None

SUBSTITUTES 
Collingwood: Will Hoskin-Elliot (replaced Steele Sidebottom in the first quarter)
North Melbourne: Paul Curtis (replaced Phoenix Spicer in the third quarter)

Crowd: 39,467 at Marvel Stadium