1. Mason Cox joins an illustrious club
Two minutes into the game, the American-born forward kicked a goal with his first kick in AFL football, to not only join the first-goal, first-kick club, but create a new sub-category: first American-born player to kick a goal with his first kick. Cox played up front instead of omitted key forward Travis Cloke and Cox's moment set the Magpies up for a record first-quarter score against Essendon at the MCG. They had 8.4 (52) by the first break and the contest was over. It wasn't Cox's only moment. He also palmed the ball expertly to captain Scott Pendlebury at a centre bounce in the opening quarter and created a goal with a quick handball in the third quarter. It's hard to imagine the first time Magpie recruiters laid eyes on Cox was exactly two years ago at a training centre in Los Angeles.

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2. Steele Sidebottom wins Anzac Day Medal
Sorely missed after being suspended in the first round, the gun midfielder hit back against the Bombers with a brilliant opening half. He had 20 disposals and four goals at the long break which ensured the Magpies would win well. Known for his ability to perform on the big stage, Sidebottom hit the contest well, was at the fall of the ball all day and finished with 33 disposals, took seven marks and laid four tackles. He signed a five-year deal earlier in the year and looks set to be a key figure during this era.

3. Scott Pendlebury is back, in the midfield
Collingwood finally decided to return its best playmaker to the heart of the action and he didn't disappoint. In the first half he had 23 disposals as the Magpies won the ball at the source and recorded eight of the first 10 inside 50s of the game. Pendlebury has always been a genius at stoppages so was wasted behind the ball, particularly when the midfield and forward pressure was down. He released teammates into space, showing his class by hand with 14 first-half handballs (although he made the odd mistake). He even set up a Jeremy Howe goal late in the second-quarter with an intercept deep in defence that led to a chain of handballs as the Magpies moved the ball into attack. Pendlebury is a midfielder and the flirtation with him as a defender should be put on ice, particularly with the sort of link-up play he can create with Sidebottom, Adam Treloar and Taylor Adams.

4. A memorable occasion nonetheless
When the Court of Arbitration for Sport handed out season-long suspensions to 34 past and present Essendon players, the ramifications for the Anzac Day clash was one of the first thoughts that went through most people's minds. However, the Bombers' win in the second round and form against Geelong in round four was enough to give everyone hope they could rally on the big day. Unfortunately they found Collingwood in an unsympathetic mood and appeared both overawed and out of answers very early in the game. No one blames Essendon (and full credit to the 85,082 people who turned up for the occasion) but the 76-point margin at half-time was an unfortunate reminder of what the Bombers are up against in 2016. To their credit, the Bombers fought out the second half and matched the Magpies. On the positive side, Michael Hartley was impressive in defence, Orazio Fantasia was lively inside forward 50 and the pre-match ceremony was as moving as ever.

5. Party pies
The Magpies decided during the week to generate some excitement amongst the group with a simple method. Every time a goal was scored, the young Magpies mobbed the goal kicker as though it was the winning goal. The biggest two celebrations were reserved for first-gamers, Mason Cox, and the impressive Josh Smith, who also kicked a goal in his first game with a third-quarter snap. Essendon's Sam Grimley tried to do the same with an impressive solo celebration after he kicked the third goal of his career, bringing the Bombers back to within 69 points. In the end Collingwood had 11 goal kickers and every time another was kicked, the Magpies turned into party pies.