Nathan Kreuger celebrates a goal during Collingwood's clash against Melbourne in round 13, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

FROM bad to even worse.

Melbourne heads to the bye with its season on the ropes after being comprehensively beaten by an undermanned and inexperienced Collingwood in the traditional King's Birthday blockbuster.

MAGPIES v DEMONS Full match coverage and stats

Eight days after being embarrassed by Fremantle in Alice Springs, the Demons couldn't produce a sustained response, despite the Magpies missing six premiership players – Jordan De Goey, Scott Pendlebury, Tom Mitchell, Jamie Elliott, Brody Mihocek and Mason Cox – falling by 38 points at the MCG.  

Simon Goodwin's side has now dropped four of its past five games to remain outside the eight and looking far more like pretenders than contenders in 2024, recording a season-low six goals in the 14.5 (89) to 6.15 (51) loss in front of 84,659 people. 


The Demons lost star Christian Petracca at half-time after he was kneed in the ribs late in the first quarter by Collingwood captain Darcy Moore. He was significantly hampered in the second quarter before being replaced by Jack Billings at the start of the second half.

Collingwood star Nick Daicos also didn't finish the contest after being substituted out of the game in the fourth quarter with a leg injury, after being clamped by Alex Neal-Bullen, who restricted the Brownlow Medal contender to a season-low 15 touches in a tagging masterclass.


Dual Copeland Trophy winner Jack Crisp stood up in the absence of premiership teammates to win the Neale Daniher Trophy after producing a brilliant display on the day he eclipsed Adem Yze to move into outright second for the most consecutive games in AFL/VFL history on 227, finishing with 27 disposals, 11 contested possessions, nine inside 50s and six clearances.

Josh Daicos was another standout, amassing a game-high 34 touches, 10 marks and six clearances. Nathan Kreuger and Harvey Harrison kicked three goals each, while Jeremy Howe, Brayden Maynard and John Noble were dominant behind the ball. 

The Magpies led from the moment Will Hoskin-Elliott kicked the first goal just 50 seconds into the game and never relinquished the advantage, swatting away every challenge in the middle two quarters.   


The signs were ominous early for Melbourne. It wasted its first four chances, hitting the post twice before Daniel Turner pulled a gettable shot across the face and out on the full. Then Kysaiah Pickett appeared to have finally got some reward but it was overturned a minute later in the ARC, leaving the Demons goalless at quarter-time and with Petracca down in the rooms.  

Jacob van Rooyen had finally put the Demons on the board after taking a big mark at the city end before slotting the goal from 45m. He added a second minutes later after taking a contested grab over Moore to give the Demons a kickstart. 


Neal-Bullen followed Nick Daicos around like a caravan, with a moment halfway through the second quarter summing up the match-up when the Demon went stride for stride all the way from the centre circle to the goalsquare to prevent a goal. 

After the Pies defended a barrage of Melbourne entries, Harrison kicked an important goal against momentum. Kreuger threaded the needle from the pocket for his second, before Hoskin-Elliott kicked a goal after the siren to extend the Magpies' lead to 27 points at half-time.  

Forward van Rooyen made the most of his next chance a minute into the second half, again getting off Moore to kick his third. But it didn't last. Billy Frampton responded almost immediately, before Darcy Cameron nailed a set shot from outside the boundary to almost put the game beyond reach at that point. 


Melbourne threw some punches, but with Maynard setting the tone all day in a ruthless display, controlling his aggression to be an enforcer, the Demons never threatened the Magpies.

Collingwood won the tackle count by 20, clearances by 10, amassing eight more centre clearances to keep Melbourne out of the eight and in a world of hurt.

Boos aplenty early at the 'G
Both sets of supporters made their feelings felt inside the MCG. Collingwood fans showed they cared what Steven May said at last year's best and fairest, howling every time he touched the ball. And in the first meeting since last September's qualifying final when Angus Brayshaw was cleaned up by Brayden Maynard, Melbourne fans booed the defender incessantly. It didn't bother Maynard, who crashed into Blake Howes and Tom Sparrow in the first quarter among other big moments. 

Luckless tall back in business
Nathan Kreuger has endured a nightmare injury run since moving from Geelong to Collingwood, managing only seven appearances across two seasons at the club and most recently suffering a serious hamstring strain in the pre-season. The 25-year-old hadn't played for Craig McRae’s side since round seven last year, but after three games in the VFL, Kreuger made a strong return on Monday, kicking two goals from five marks to make the most of a rare opportunity at AFL level. 

Tagger clamps Nick Daicos
After surging into Brownlow Medal contention across the past five weeks, where he has polled 47 of a possible 50 coaches votes after averaging 35.2 disposals and 20 contested possessions, Nick Daicos copped plenty of attention on King's Birthday. Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin sent Alex Neal-Bullen to him and the premiership player nailed the brief, shadowing the Collingwood superstar all day, even at one point being sucked in by Daicos to rotate off the bench and turn around after just 5m. Daicos was subbed out halfway through the fourth quarter with a corked shin, with Neal-Bullen taking the points, holding the third-year sensation to a season-low 15 disposals.


COLLINGWOOD          3.1     7.3     11.3     14.5 (89)
MELBOURNE               0.4     2.6     4.11     6.15 (51)  

Collingwood: Kreuger 3, Harrison 3, Hoskin-Elliott 2, Schultz, Macrae, Lipinski, Frampton, N.Daicos, Cameron
van Rooyen 3, Pickett 2, Fritsch

Collingwood: Crisp, J.Daicos, Maynard, Howe, Noble, Kreuger
Gawn, Neal-Bullen, Pickett, Windsor

Collingwood: N.Daicos (corked shin)
Petracca (ribs)

Collingwood: Jack Bytel (replaced Nick Daicos in the fourth quarter)
Jack Billings (replaced Christian Petracca in the third quarter)

Crowd: 84,659 at the MCG