FREMANTLE has spoiled interim Collingwood coach Robert Harvey's party, holding off the charging Magpies by 12 points.
In a see-sawing affair at Marvel Stadium, two late goals to last-minute inclusion Brett Bewley proved to be the difference, after nine majors were kicked between the two teams in a frantic finish.
PIES v DOCKERS Full match coverage and stats
It was an impressive performance from the Dockers, who grew into the game nicely despite the late withdrawal of superstar skipper Nat Fyfe (shoulder).
Both sides were coming off a week's rest, but Collingwood initially didn't have any post-bye blues, looking sharp across half-back and through the midfield.
But the Pies didn't take full advantage of their early dominance, and Freo began to find space and use it well, with the speed of Sam Switkowski, Liam Henry, Travis Colyer and Brandon Walker causing havoc.
Despite a relatively even hitout battle between Brodie Grundy and the fresh-off-a-new-contract Sean Darcy, the Dockers controlled the clearances in the first half and took a 19-point lead into the main break.
The game looked like meandering to a foregone conclusion when Collingwood suddenly clicked into gear halfway through the third, kicking two quick goals through Callum Brown and Josh Thomas to cut the margin to just 12 points.
The Pies rallied again after the final break, with three goals in six minutes tying things up at 10.6 apiece. In fact, five of the team's 12 goals came in the final quarter, but it was just too much ground to make up.
David Mundy (28 disposals, four clearances) and Andy Brayshaw (24) were terrific in the middle of the ground, while Luke Ryan (nine marks) patrolled the backline and forwards Lachie Schultz and Henry caused havoc at the feet of Rory Lobb.
Taylor Adams (32, seven clearances) barely skipped a beat in his return from a knee injury and Steele Sidebottom and Will Hoskin-Elliott provided great drive off the wings.
Brayden Maynard played as a key defender in Darcy Moore's absence, but reverted to a more normal role after Matt Taberner (calf) was subbed off in the second quarter.
Ouch, that's got to hurt
Fremantle key back Luke Ryan showed tremendous fortitude to return from a nasty incident in the third term. With a mass of players desperate to get their hands on the footy inside Collingwood's goal-square, Brody Mihocek hurriedly slammed it onto his boot and accidentally collected Ryan's jaw in the follow-through as he attempted to smother. Ryan took a breather on the bench but played out the game.
Anything you can do, I can do better
Andy Brayshaw got the Dockers fans on their feet in the second quarter, hopelessly wrong-footing John Noble to slot a goal from 45 metres. It looked like one of the goals of the day, until Mitch Crowden made his mark on the game. The medi-sub replaced Taberner in the second term, and sold a milk bar's worth of candy to Maynard, before calmly slotting a major from 40m in the third quarter.
Battle of the big men
The Dockers locked Darcy away until the end of 2024 this week, and the rising ruck was coming up against one of the biggest names of the competition in Brodie Grundy. The two had an intriguing clash – the Pie showed no signs of his neck injury (and his recent haircut hasn't diminished any powers) recording 27 hitouts, 22 disposals and two goals. But Darcy was a brute at centre bounces, regularly booting the ball long and finishing with a game-high nine clearances.
COLLINGWOOD 2.2 4.4 7.6 12.7 (79)
FREMANTLE 3.3 7.5 10.6 14.7 (91)
Collingwood: Bianco 2, Grundy 2, Thomas 2, C.Brown, Cameron, Elliott, Hoskin-Elliott, Mihocek, Sidebottom
Fremantle: Lobb 3, Schultz 3, Henry 2, Bewley 2, Switkowski, Treacy, Brayshaw, Crowden
Collingwood: Adams, Sidebottom, Maynard, Pendlebury, Crisp, Grundy
Fremantle: Mundy, Brayshaw, Ryan, Darcy, Henry, Switkowski
Collingwood: McCreery (hamstring)
Fremantle: Fyfe (shoulder) replaced in selected side by Bewley, Taberner (calf)
Collingwood: C. Brown (replaced McCreery)
Fremantle: Crowden (replaced Taberner)
Crowd: 11,570 at Marvel Stadium