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Pies push on as Blues leave it too late

Highlights: Carlton v Collingwood The Blues and Pies clash in round 7
Lachie Henderson of the Blues is tackled by Jack Frost of the Magpies during the 2014 AFL round 07 match between the Carlton Blues and the Collingwood Magpies at the MCG, Melbourne on May 02, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Collingwood's Jack Frost wraps up Carlton's Lachie Henderson on Friday night
COLLINGWOOD has waltzed to its fourth straight win and demoralised arch-enemy Carlton, cruising to a 34-point victory at the MCG on Friday night.   
Aside from a late rally from the Blues, the Magpies were left to do as they pleased in their third straight victory over Mick Malthouse's men, controlling every aspect of the game to win 14.20 (104) to 10.10 (70).  

With the result beyond doubt, the Blues kicked eight of the last 12 goals to trim the final margin, which had blown out to 56 points at three-quarter time.  
It was a clash full of pre-game storylines, but the upshot on Friday night was that Collingwood (5-2) looms as a top-four team, while the Blues (2-5) are fast losing relevance in 2014. 
High-priced recruit Dale Thomas also remained a talking point, but not for the right reasons after a flat game that saw him finish with 14 possessions against his former team.  
After Mitch Robinson got the Blues off to a flying start, Carlton was uncompetitive for three quarters before producing its best term of the season, kicking 8.3 after the last break.  
That meant nothing to Malthouse, however, and the first three quarters quickly wiped out any optimism back-to-back wins had generated for Carlton. 
"The reality was we were a mile off them," Malthouse said.
"Their depth goes a long way, it's not just the midfield – that's why they're a top-four side at the moment.
"They've got every right to think they're a top-four side."
It was hardly Collingwood's finest performance of the season, but coach Nathan Buckley would have been pleased with the form of young players Tom Langdon, Jamie Elliott, Jarrod Witts and Jack Frost.  

Elliott had 20 possessions, took 11 marks and kicked three goals in a standout display
In his first game for the season, Marley Williams also made an impressive return slotting into the back six, holding Jeff Garlett to one goal and seven possessions.   
"At three-quarter time, that's a pretty impressive performance,” Buckley said after the win
"When we got to three-quarter time, we'd controlled the game thoroughly. There wasn't one facet of it that we hadn't had on our terms.  
"We had eight players out there who have played less than 25 games … that probably explains a little bit of what you got in the last quarter."

Collingwood's unselfishness inside the forward 50 continually saw the ball re-directed to players with an easier shot on goal, while midfielder Dayne Beams finished with four goals, two in the final term when the defensive intensity of both sides fell away. 
Playing against his premiership teammates for the first time, Thomas had just five possessions in the first half, including a mis-kicked set shot from 40 metres that didn't make it to the goal line. 
Indeed, poor kicking from both sides was an unwanted feature in a flat match played out in front of 68,251 fans – the lowest crowd between these teams since 2007.  
Through a scrappy first half, young Magpie Langdon stood up and used the football better than anyone as Collingwood kicked seven unanswered goals before half time to build a 37-point lead. 
The Magpies continually did the disciplined things while the Blues took low percentage shots from the boundary, entering the main break with a score of just 1.5 (11), their lowest first-half score since 2009. 
Perhaps more damning was a measly tackle count of 21, with six Blues failing to wrap up an opponent in the first half. 
Carlton faces St Kilda at Etihad Stadium next week, while the Magpies have a bye. 

Marley Williams (centre) was in full voice after Collingwood's fifth win of the season. Picture: AFL Media  

CARLTON              1.2    1.5    2.7     10.10 (70)
COLLINGWOOD   3.4    7.6    10.15  14.20 (104)

Carlton: Henderson 2, Robinson, Bell, Casboult, Gibbs, Warnock, McLean, Everitt, Garlett
Collingwood: Beams 4, Elliott 3, Cloke 2, Witts 2, Ball, Dwyer, Grundy

Carlton: Buckley, Murphy, Tuohy, Gibbs, White, Rowe
Collingwood: Langdon, Beams, Blair, Elliott, Pendlebury, Frost, Witts 

Carlton: Jarrad Waite (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Tom Bell, Andrew Carrazzo (back spasms) replaced in selected side by Sam Docherty
Collingwood: Nick Maxwell (back) replaced in selected side by Ben Kennedy, Clinton Young (calf) replaced in selected side by Taylor Adams, Sam Dwyer (knee)

Carlton: Kane Lucas replaced by Troy Menzel in the third quarter
Collingwood: Sam Dwyer replaced by Ben Kennedy at three quarter-time

Reports: Nil
Umpires: Rosebury, Kamolins, Harris

Official crowd: 68,251 at the MCG

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs