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Match report: First-quarter blitz sees Melbourne cruise past Collingwood

Highlights: Collingwood v Melbourne The Magpies and Demons clash in round four
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 17: Ben Kennedy of the Demons celebrates a goal during the 2016 AFL Round 04 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Melbourne Demons at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne on April 17, 2016. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Melbourne's Ben Kennedy celebrates a goal

THE HEAT on Collingwood is set to reach boiling point this week after Nathan Buckley's side was comprehensively beaten by a more willing Melbourne by 35 points at the MCG on Sunday.

Already in the mire after an unconvincing 1-2 start to the season, the Magpies slipped into a deeper hole as the Demons thoroughly outplayed the once-fancied finals contender in the 16.6 (102) to 9.13 (67) victory.

Melbourne's win was built on guts and determination as it repeatedly kept Collingwood at bay as it tried desperately to muster a second-half comeback.

In just his second game, elevated rookie Josh Wagner stood firm time and again in the back half (24 disposals and six marks), while Giants recruit Tom Bugg played his best game for his new club (29 touches and nine tackles).

Dean Kent's pressure around the footy was outstanding, while Jack Viney (31 disposals) and Nathan Jones (30) typically gave their all.

Five talking points: Collingwood v Melbourne

Melbourne took it to Collingwood from the get-go, delivering its first six-goal quarter since round 13, 2014, seizing control of the game and forcing the under the pump Magpies into numerous turnovers.

Infamously thrown to the wolves as a teenager in his debut game against Collingwood on Queen's Birthday back in 2009, Jack Watts produced one of the most important performances of his career.

The mobile forward booted an equal-career high four goals in the first half alone, including three in the second term.

WATCH: Watts flawless up front

Ruckman Max Gawn also continued his splendid form, with 37 hit-outs and a goal, while the big man also laid five tackles.

Despite Melbourne's first half dominance, the Magpies hit back as they capitalised on Melbourne's overuse of the football, to kick four of the last six goals of the first half to cut the margin to 27 points at the major break.

Demons coach Paul Roos said his side saw the contest through to the end.

"Collingwood was under enormous pressure all week and responded incredibly in the second and third quarters by putting us under a lot of pressure, before we steadied," Roos said post-game.

"The last quarter was a turnover game. Everyone was really tired so it was really a turnover game. We were just hoping they made a few more than we did."

Although they were outplayed, the Magpies laid 57 forward half tackles (and a total of 96 for the match), a far cry from the 11 they mustered against St Kilda.

Full match coverage and stats

Adam Treloar's class and gut running (31 touches and a goal) was pivotal in bringing his side back into the contest, while Ben Reid and Travis Varcoe, returning from a hamstring injury, repelled superbly from defence.

Steele Sidebottom (26 disposals and two goals), who was sorely missed for the past two games through suspension, and skipper Scott Pendlebury (who was shifted into the midfield after starting at half back) were also pivotal in the Magpies' second-half run on.

Despite Collingwood's best efforts, the momentum in the match shifted back into the Demons' favour halfway through the third term, when Pies defender Tom Langdon turned the ball over while attempting to kick across goal.

He gifted Demon Dean Kent a gimme goal in the goal square as the margin increased to 27 points. 

Similarly, Jordan De Goey's shanked kick into the middle of the ground, just a few minutes later, ended in an easy goal for Jack Viney and the Demons' lead ballooned out to 39 points.

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said his side could not afford costly drop-offs.

"We stopped playing for 40 minutes (at the end of the first quarter and start of the second) and if you do that against any opposition you are going to end up costing yourself on the scoreboard and the intangible equation of hope and energy and belief [comes into play].

"We have given that to the opposition two weeks running now and probably longer than that."

The Magpies narrowed the margin to 30 points at three-quarter time, but the hard-working Demons held firm in a desperate final-term effort to win their second game of the season. 

The Magpies will assess the conditions of Ben Sinclair (concussion), Ben Reid (knee) and Travis Cloke (elbow) across this week, as they steel themselves for an Anzac Day match-up against Essendon. All three appear to be in some sort of doubt for next Monday's match. Melbourne youngster Angus Brayshaw copped a heavy head knock in the third term and was put through the concussion test. After assessment, he returned to the field but he will be assessed again this week.

Collingwood will be looking to return to the winner's sheet in its typical Anzac Day contest against Essendon. The Bombers made Geelong work for its win, so next Monday's match may not be as lopsided as everyone thought it might be. The Demons will give themselves every chance to take down a struggling Richmond at the MCG next Sunday evening.

Josh Wagner (left) and Jayden Hunt celebrate their first win as Demons. Photo: AFL Media

COLLINGWOOD        1.2       6.5       8.10    16.6 (102)
MELBOURNE             6.2       11.2    14.4    9.13 (67)

Collingwood: Cloke 2, Sidebottom 2, Varcoe, Treloar, Sinclair, Fasolo, Moore
Melbourne: Watts 4, Tyson 2, Pedersen 2, Hogan 2, Viney, Frost, Kennedy, Brayshaw, Kent, Gawn

Collingwood: Pendlebury, Treloar, Sidebottom, Adams, Langdon
Melbourne: Gawn, Viney, Watts, Wagner, Tyson, Jones, Bugg

Collingwood: Goldsack (illness) replaced in selected side by White, Reid (knee), Sinclair (concussion), Cloke (elbow)
Melbourne: Brayshaw (concussion)

Reports: Nil 

Umpires: O'Gorman, Meredith, Ryan

Official crowd: 47,558 at the MCG