1. Finals are still alive for the Pies
At 5-6, Collingwood is well and truly entrenched in the race for a top-eight berth. Playing with just 18 fully-fit men, the Magpies fought tooth and nail to hold off a resurgent Fremantle side in what might be one of Nathan Buckley's most satisfying wins as senior coach. The Pies have won their last three matches and sit just a game outside the top eight, with winnable games against the Demons (twice), Hawks, Bombers, Suns, Eagles and Kangaroos to come. Their injury list will make it difficult, but Collingwood is in with a sniff. A loss to Freo might've spelled the end of the Magpies' season.
2. Collingwood crippled by injury
The Pies faithful will wait with hearts in mouths while the club deals with yet another calf injury to prized recruit Daniel Wells. The smooth-moving midfielder pulled up short in the third quarter when running out of his defensive 50. Wells left the field immediately and took no further part in the game. Jamie Elliott was also carried from the field in the 10th minute of the final quarter with what looked to be a nasty lower-leg injury after he was rolled in a Lachie Weller tackle. His ankle was assessed by club medical staff and he too spent the rest of the match on the bench. Levi Greenwood struggled for most of the match with a corked quad, while Tyson Goldsack fought on with a sore shoulder. It makes their win all the more impressive given Fremantle’s record of overrunning opponents in 2017.
3. No Sandi, no Freo?
With the late omission of Aaron Sandilands (hamstring), Jonathon Griffin was, for the second week running, tasked with the unenviable challenge of nullifying an in-form opponent. Opposed to Brodie Grundy, the Fremantle big man won the hit-out count in the first half (16-15) but struggled with ball in hand, tallying six clangers from eight possessions. Griffin (26 hit-outs, 13 possessions, five tackles) was more dangerous around the ground in the third quarter and provided an outlet as a link man moving forward. But Grundy (39 hit-outs, 21 possessions) had a telling impact in the final quarter and eventually emerged on top as his team swamped the stoppages in the final stages to pull of an unlikely win. Sandilands' return can't come soon enough but with the bye to come in round 13, the Dockers might decide against taking him to Brisbane next week to play the Lions.
4. The Magpies need to straighten up
Ten rounds into the season, the Magpies had a goalkicking accuracy of just 44 percent – the second-worst in the League. In seven of 11 games Buckley's men have kicked more behinds than goals, including all of their first six matches. Collingwood started poorly in front of the big sticks with Scott Pendlebury, Taylor Adams, Darcy Moore and Jordan De Goey all missing chances they would be expected to convert. More gettable misses followed and the Magpies' wasteful 15.15 could've proven costly if it weren't for their opponents' equally wayward radar. If Collingwood is to challenge for finals, its accuracy in front of goal needs to improve significantly.
5. Dockers' response after massive loss
As expected, Ross Lyon flagged a powerful response from his "embarrassed" team following last Saturday's 100-point drubbing at the hands of the Crows. It was slow to eventuate as the Dockers – typically tardy starters in 2017 – were dominated in the opening 15 minutes of the match and eventually conceded a 10-point quarter-time lead. Lyon's men were outclassed again in the second quarter as Collingwood – led by Taylor Adams, Adam Treloar, Levi Greenwood and Scott Pendlebury, executed risky kicks through the corridor and delivered the ball well to leading targets in its attacking half. Fremantle rallied in the third quarter and levelled the scores after trailing by as much as 22 points in the second term. But with their opponents hampered by injury, the Dockers failed to capitalise on a strong start to the final quarter and fell 20 points short of a crucial win. Though his chargers showed spirit and effort, Lyon will have concerns over the team’s skill level which proved the difference in a tight contest.