THE SUDDEN turn of momentum after quarter-time on Saturday must have felt both frustrating and familiar for Collingwood.

Having raced out of the blocks to claim an early 18-point lead at the first change, the Magpies then went 70 minutes of game time – more than a half of football – without a goal as control of the contest quickly slipped from their grasp.

The successive goalless terms – and a final quarter that yielded just one major – has become a pattern for Nathan Buckley's side, which has struggled to break long barren spells over the past 18 months.

Champion Data notes that the club has endured four goalless quarters so far this year. It's the most of any team in the competition behind only a struggling Gold Coast outfit, which has been held goalless in five terms.

Furthermore, it adds to the attacking problems that had been mounting for the Magpies throughout the 2020 season, where qualification for the semi-finals perhaps masked some underlying scoring issues.

Collingwood players look dejected after their loss to Sydney in round nine, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Last year, Collingwood struggled through 34 quarters where it only managed just one goal or fewer. It was the second-most in the entire competition, behind only three-win wooden spooner Adelaide with 35.

Those problems haven't gone away this season. Combine the numbers from the club's 2020 campaign with its first nine matches of this year, and the sample size for Collingwood's scoring issues is significant.

They show that the Magpies have had 13 goalless quarters since the start of last year. Only the Crows (16) and the Swans (14) have had more.

Then there are the one-goal quarters, in which Collingwood has had 29. Only rebuilding pair North Melbourne (35) and Essendon (30) have had more.

It's meant that only North Melbourne – who has won just four games since the start of 2020 – and Adelaide – who has won just six – have had more quarters of one or fewer goals in the last two seasons than Buckley's group.

North Melbourne's Nick Larkey after the Roos' loss to Collingwood in round eight, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

It's come during a 2021 season in which the Magpies (before the start of R10) rank 15th for inside-50s differential and 15th for total scores.

"Defensively, we held up for the most part," Buckley said after Saturday's loss at the SCG.

"We're disappointed for not being able to stick at it and not putting enough chains together to score or get field position after quarter-time. The reality is, we just had some players that dropped away. That's going to happen at times, especially with the young boys.

"We showed that we had the right plan and the right attitude and I thought our work rate was consistent throughout the game. We just dropped away with our execution."

At the other end of the scale, Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs have the fewest goalless quarters with five each since the start of 2020. Melbourne has the fewest number of one-goal quarters with 17.


48 - North Melbourne
45 - Adelaide
42 - Collingwood
41 - Fremantle
39 - Hawthorn
36 - Essendon
35 - Gold Coast, Sydney
34 - GWS Giants, St Kilda
32 - Carlton, Geelong, Richmond
31 - Port Adelaide
29 - West Coast
26 - Brisbane
25 - Melbourne
24 - Western Bulldogs