COLLINGWOOD fans booed his first kick but Adam Treloar had the last laugh as the Western Bulldogs ground out a gritty 16-point win against his former side in Friday night's grudge match.
Treloar played more of a cameo role in the first look at the fully-stocked Dogs' midfield, his new side withstanding every Pies challenge in the 10.9 (69) to 7.11 (53) win at the MCG.
MAGPIES v BULLDOGS Full match coverage and stats
The Pies were never able to bridge the gap to within single digits after quarter-time to leave Nathan Buckley with a host of questions around the firepower of his line-up.
The Dogs' one-two ruck combination of Tim English and Stefan Martin also passed its first test with flying colours as Brodie Grundy lacked the impact around the ground of his previous dominant displays in the same match-up.
Stationed on a wing, Treloar earned his first kick at the three-minute mark of the opening term amid a mix of boos and cheers to find Aaron Naughton with a chiseling goal assist.
Both sides then traded blows through the middle stages as the Dogs' midfield brigade of best-on-ground Bailey Smith (35 disposals), Jack Macrae (35), Josh Dunkley (30) and Marcus Bontempelli (29) got on top.
The Pies had Darcy Moore to thank for keeping them alive after half-time, the 2020 All-Australian collecting nine intercept possessions and six contested marks defending a barrage of Dogs entries (60-41) to collect the points in his battle with Aaron Naughton (two goals).
Luke Beveridge's side amassed a whopping 149 more disposals and owned possession for 50 per cent of the match to the Pies' 33 per cent.
Despite that, the game remained on a knife's edge late in the third term. With the Dogs holding a 17-point lead, Pie Josh Thomas was dispossessed from a line-ball mark by a desperate Taylor Duryea at centre half-forward.
In what loomed as a certain goalscoring opportunity, the umpire awarded play-on as Smith started a scoring chain that ended in the lap of English in the goalsquare to give his side an unassailable 23-point buffer.
From boos to smiles for Treloar
Adam Treloar can take a deep breath. After what coach Luke Beveridge described as the most-publicised trade in history, Treloar was booed, then cheered and finished with 18 disposals in his first game against his former side. "I'm glad it's over now. I'm kind of glad it's over now with the win obviously and we can move on and stop talking about the Adam Treloar versus Collingwood," Treloar told Channel Seven post-game. The ex-Pie cracked a smile in the dying stages when he received a cheer from the entire crowd, having been booed with his first disposal. Treloar split his time between wing and half-forward and coupled with Bailey Smith's move to the opposite wing, pushed Lachie Hunter to half-forward.
Forget the Brownlow votes, Brodie
Pies star Brodie Grundy had collected nine Brownlow Medal votes in his previous three outings against Tim English and the Western Bulldogs. But his name won't be read out in round one at this year's count. While Grundy dominated the hitout sheet, it amounted to nothing in the clearance department as English and his new sidekick Stefan Martin had the Pie's measure around the ground. English would've enjoyed outmarking Grundy on the centre wing on two occasions among his four contested marks, while Martin finished with six clearances and pushed forward for a late goal.
Where are the Pies' goals coming from?
With Brody Mihocek (two goals) forced to do the bulk of his work between the arcs, the Pies appeared bereft of attacking options in the forward 50 from their limited entries. Mason Cox booted two majors but, along with Josh Thomas, Trey Ruscoe and debutant Ollie Henry, had little say on the outcome, while Jordan De Goey attended more centre bounces than ever before. Finding avenues to goal loom as Nathan Buckley's biggest headache in 2021, and with young hope Will Kelly remaining sidelined for at least another month with a collarbone injury, will need to get more creative in coming weeks.
COLLINGWOOD 1.2 4.6 5.7 7.11 (53)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 3.2 6.5 9.7 10.9 (69)
Collingwood: Mihocek 2, Elliott 2, Cox 2, Crisp
Western Bulldogs: Vandermeer 2, Naughton 2, Smith 2, Bruce, McNeil, English, Martin
Collingwood: Pendlebury, Moore, Maynard, Crisp, Mihocek
Western Bulldogs: Smith, Bontempelli, Macrae, Daniel, Hunter, Martin
Western Bulldogs: Nil
Collingwood: C.Brown (unused)
Western Bulldogs: West (unused)
Crowd: 46,051 at the MCG