Mason Cox celebrates a goal during round six, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

WRITE them off at your own peril.

Collingwood will need to defy recent history if they are going to recover from 0-3 to go back-to-back – the last time that happened was North Melbourne in 1975 – but the reigning premiers are revving again after sending a statement on Saturday.

It looked concerning early.


The Magpies conceded five of the first six goals and trailed by 31 points late in the first quarter, before rediscovering the magic that delivered them to the promised land in 2023, blowing Port Adelaide away after quarter-time by banking a 42-point win at the MCG.

Craig McRae’s side kicked the final six goals of the second quarter in a run of eight unanswered goals either side of half-time to reignite a premiership defence that was winless after losses to Greater Western Sydney, Sydney and St Kilda to start the year, but is now 3-3 ahead of Anzac Day.

If Easter Thursday gave the Magpies a pulse and the Gather Round escape kept the momentum going, Collingwood has resuscitated a season on the brink by defeating a premiership contender 17.21 (123) to 12.9 (81).

It wasn’t about individuals, it was a full team performance.

MAGPIES v POWER Full match coverage and stats

Darcy Cameron (25 hit-outs, 18 disposals and seven clearances) continued his impressive start to 2024 with another telling performance in the ruck, while Will Hoskin-Elliott (22 touches, 13 score involvements, two goals) produced one of the performances of his career.

Nick Daicos was prolific after a slow start, finishing with 30 disposals, eight clearances, 14 score involvements and 755 metres gained in a performance that will attract votes come Brownlow Medal night.

Jordan De Goey set the tone and Tom Mitchell was busy at the coal face, while Brody Mihocek, Patrick Lipinski and Hoskin-Elliott all kicked two goals each in a crucial second quarter burst that turned the game, breathing life into the season in the process.


But when Jackson Mead kicked Port Adelaide’s sixth goal 24 minutes into the first quarter, Collingwood looked a shell of the side that dominated last year. After a week of conversation regarding his Brownlow Medal eligibility, Zak Butters dominated the first quarter, amassing 15 disposals, 318 metres gained and a goal in a brilliant patch.

If Connor Rozee or Butters don’t get you, Jason Horne-Francis will. The former pick No. 1 tore the game apart early in the second quarter, slotting a shot on the run to put the Power 31 points up for the second time in the game. The game looked almost over, but it wasn’t. 

Insert Hoskin-Elliott. He plucked two hangers in five minutes, the first resulting in a goal at the top of the square. Mihocek converted two set shots. Mason Cox slotted his own set shot, before Lipinski kicked two in two minutes. Suddenly it was game on. Six in a row. Mojo back.

After arriving in Melbourne 4-1 and with the most imposing midfield trio in the competition, Port Adelaide was expected to respond after half-time. But they didn’t.

Collingwood made it eight goals in a row early by kicking the first two of the second half to kill any hope of a Power fightback. The Magpies piled on five goals to two. Lachie Schultz kicked two of them, just when he needed them most. The former Docker has made a slow start to life in black and white, but he enjoyed a lick of the ice cream.

Port Adelaide’s four wins to start 2024 were against sides that didn’t play finals in 2023 – West Coast, Richmond, Essendon and Fremantle. They needed this win.

Now there are more questions than answers when it comes to Ken Hinkley’s side after being smashed in all the key indicators, including contested ball (-41), inside 50s (-19), scoring shots (-17) and disposals (-50).


Goal assist king
Last September, Bobby Hill etched his name into history by kicking four goals to win the Norm Smith Medal. On Saturday, the small forward turned provider at the MCG, finishing with four goal assists and ten score involvements from his 15 touches. Three of those assists were handballs over the top to an open teammate.


Another hamstring injury?
Jason Horne-Francis had been one of Port Adelaide’s best players when he exited the game late to get his hamstring assessed on the bench. The former No.1 pick missed a fortnight earlier this season due to a hamstring strain and might be about to miss a bit more footy.


Golf glove love
Mason Cox has never been afraid to stand out. Standing 211cm and wearing goggles, you can’t miss the Texan. The 33-year-old sported a white golf glove on Saturday and is expected to wear it for the rest of the season due to a finger injury. The AFL approved the move this week, before Cox kicked a couple of goals and hauled in five marks.


COLLINGWOOD           3.4     9.9     14.15    17.21 (123)
PORT ADELAIDE          6.3     8.3     10.4      12.9 (81)

Lipinski 4, Mihocek 3, Hoskin-Elliott 2, Schulz 2, Cox 2, McInnes, McCreery, Elliott, Hill
Port Adelaide: Georgiades 3, Powell-Pepper 2, Marshall 2, Mead, Horne-Francis, Butters, Burton, Bergman 

Collingwood: Hoskin-Elliott, De Goey, Cameron, N. Daicos, Lipinski, Mitchell, Hill
Port Adelaide: Butters, Horne-Francis, Houston, Georgiades

: None
Port Adelaide: Horne-Francis (hamstring)

: Reef McInnes (replaced Scott Pendlebury in the fourth quarter)
Port Adelaide: Jed McEntee (replaced Jordon Sweet in the third quarter)

Crowd: 65,834 at the MCG