THEY are not quite the 'Colliwobbles'.

But for Collingwood fans who have long feared the infamous Magpie fadeouts, this iteration of in-game collapses that is plaguing a talented side's push for a premiership would be just as concerning.

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For reasons unknown, Collingwood is stalling at the blocks in third quarters this year. Maybe it's a statistical anomaly, maybe it's an issue that is starting to cause Nathan Buckley headaches.

When the second-halves have started in 2020, the Pies have stopped. In fact, their third-quarter blackouts are among the worst in the entire competition and are providing a team that is otherwise firmly in premiership contention with an almighty problem.

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In eight third quarters so far this season, Collingwood has kicked just nine goals. It has been held goalless in three of those eight quarters, and furthermore has been limited to just one goal in another three.

In last Sunday's significant loss to West Coast at Optus Stadium, Buckley's men conceded six unanswered goals in the third term as a half-time deficit of just 11 points was quickly stretched to an unassailable 44-point margin by the final change.

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It meant their record in third quarters this year worsened to wretched 2-6.

But while the defeat to the Eagles was worrying for a number of reasons – and while they were outplayed for large portions of the match, not just the third quarter – the trend of getting belted after half-time continued.

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Buckley's team now has a collective score differential of -54 in third quarters so far this year. Quite remarkably, they are +100 in every other quarter combined.

In virtually every significant statistical category, red lights are flashing in the coaches' box for Buckley and his team during third quarters. Whether it's due to a lack of energy after the long breaks, or whether it's simply an irregularity, it's worrying nonetheless.

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Champion Data statistics note Collingwood's struggles in nearly every facet of the game.

They detail that the Pies are being beaten to the ball. They rank first for disposal differential in every other quarter, then rank 10th in third quarters.

They're being beaten on the spread. They rank third for uncontested possession differential in every other quarter, then rank 14th in third quarters.

They're being beaten at the coal face. They rank fourth for clearance differential in every other quarter, then rank second-last in third quarters. They also rank second for scores from stoppage differential in every other quarter, then rank second-last in third quarters.

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They're failing to capitalise. They rank fifth for goals-per-inside 50 percentage in every other quarter, then rank dead last in third quarters.

They're also failing to hurt their opponents when it matters. They rank third for scores from turnover differential in every other quarter, then rank 15th in third quarters. 

Collingwood 2020

Q1+Q2+Q4 

Rank

Q3 

Rank

Disposal Diff

+30.6

#1

-0.9

#10

Uncont. Poss. Diff

+18.6

#3

-2.4

#14

Clearance Diff

+2.4

#4

-1.8

#17

Goals per In50%

23.4%

#5

11.1%

#18

Scores from Stoppage diff.

+7

#2

-4

#17

Scores from Turnover diff.

+7

#3

-3

#15

They're a series of remarkable statistics that are leaving Buckley scratching his head.

So, what does the Collingwood coach himself put it down to?

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"We've been able to start games really well," Buckley said on Thursday.

"We had 16 goals kicked on us after quarter-time (last Sunday). That's going to skew the stats a little bit – and I've seen some of those numbers. I can understand how that looks like it's a pattern.

"(But) we've outscored our opposition in four of the seven games after quarter-time before the weekend, and we had more scoring shots against the Giants but couldn't get over the line in that game. We didn't kick straight.

"We are scoring more heavily in the first quarter. Your score-for is one indicator of performance – and it's an area that we think we can continue to improve across the four quarters – but the defensive intent was our major issue last week."

Buckley was right. Sunday's defeat to the Eagles might have skewed the stats somewhat, but that's not to say they weren't already concerning prior to the mauling suffered at Optus Stadium.

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In the first game of the season's restart – a low-scoring draw with Richmond – Collingwood was -12 in the third quarter. It was a significant swing, given just 72 points were scored between the two sides all night.

Third quarter collapses have been pivotal in defeats, particularly against Essendon where it lost the third quarter by 16 points and the game by 15 points.

But even in big wins, they have proved an issue. In round three's 44-point victory over St Kilda, the Pies actually lost the third quarter. And in round seven's impressive 22-point win over Geelong, they again lost the third quarter.

The third quarter fadeouts are an issue Buckley simply has to rectify in order for Collingwood to push for a flag in 2020.

After all, they must call it the 'premiership quarter' for a reason.