COLLINGWOOD threw its best at Port Adelaide time and again on Friday night but could not land the final blow to spoil Travis Boak's 300th game celebrations, with the Power kicking away to claim an important win by 28 points.
Port broke out to a 32-point lead early in the third quarter but had that whittled away to just nine early in the fourth term after the Magpies twice rallied at an empty Marvel Stadium.
They steadied when needed, however, with key forward Charlie Dixon booting two late goals as the Power won 14.13 (97) to 10.9 (69) and strengthened their hold on fourth spot.
Boak was excellent in his milestone game, which needed to be relocated from Adelaide Oval, finishing with 30 disposals and seven clearances as the Power celebrated one of their greatest players.
He was supported in the midfield by Willem Drew, who had a game-high 32 disposals (17 contested), eight clearances and five inside 50s as a constant driver in the engine room.
POWER v MAGPIES Full match coverage and stats
Ollie Wines rebounded from a quiet start to finish with 30 touches and a goal as the midfield won the clearance battle (38-33) and the contested ball (142-126) in a match that was never settled until the final term.
Dixon (four goals) made sure of the result, while fellow tall forwards Todd Marshall (three) and Peter Ladhams (two) had a strong influence.
Collingwood did exceptionally well to fight on and challenge their fancied opponents after the loss of captain Scott Pendlebury to a lower leg injury in the first quarter.
Ruckman Brodie Grundy (26 disposals and seven clearances) and midfielder Taylor Adams (24 and three) were influential early, while Steele Sidebottom (26 and seven) and Jack Crisp (30) battled hard.
The form of their young players, including Ollie Henry, Trey Ruscoe, Finlay Macrae, would have been the biggest positive for the Magpies.
COACH REACTION Harvey defends Cox call, Pendlebury fears bad break
Collingwood played its best quarter first-up, with Jordan De Goey leading the way in the midfield as the Magpies won the contested ball and moved forward with dare and precision.
They took a five-point lead into the first break but emerged after quarter-time with confirmation of Pendlebury's injury and quickly lost their ascendency, despite some flashy passages.
Port was able to lock the ball in its forward half for long periods in the second term and went on a four-goal run, with Dixon's 50m set shot on the boundary getting them rolling.
Poor ball-use going inside 50 prevented a bigger lead at the main break having gone into attack 19 times to 10 and scoring 4.4 to 0.4 for the quarter.
Big task for Cox the sub
You don't know who you're going to lose when you select your medical substitute, but it's fair to say the Magpies caused some work for themselves with the magnets when they used forward/ruck Mason Cox in the role and then lost midfielder Scott Pendlebury halfway through the first quarter. The loss of Pendlebury was a blow regardless of what followed, but the inability to replace him with another runner was not ideal. The Magpies had a clear advantage in both contested and uncontested possession, clearances and tackles when Pendlebury went off, having been typically influential early with six disposals. Cox played his part early when he came on, kicking a goal, but he wasn't a constant threat.
Young Magpies find their place
Ollie Henry looked like a 100-game player patrolling the Magpies' forward line on Friday night, kicking 2.3 in a polished performance that built on his three-goal effort last week. The first-year Magpie found space in attack, marked strongly and finished with 15 disposals – the most of his six games. At the other end of the ground, second-year Magpie Trey Ruscoe settled in a role behind the ball and impressed with 20 disposals and eight rebound 50s. He provided much of the dash the Magpies had off half-back and was involved in a lot of their more eye-catching passages. First-year midfielder Finlay Macrae was also much-improved from his initial stint in the team with 21 disposals. The biggest win the Magpies can have from here in 2021 is the development in young players that was evident on Friday night.
Power trip gives Port energy
Port Adelaide knows it is a much better side with young trio Zak Butters, Xavier Duursma and Connor Rozee in the team and was willing to run the risks associated with bringing all three back into the team after injury at once. The move paid off, with Rozee's energy particularly influential and Duursma's dash a factor, winning 16 and 18 disposals respectively. Butters had moments of class too, with the trio slotting into their roles rather than starring in the win. That they were able to get through was a tick for the Power, who will now expect steady growth from the young guns in the run to finals.
PORT ADELAIDE 2.4 6.8 11.11 14.13 (97)
COLLINGWOOD 3.3 3.7 8.8 10.9 (69)
Port Adelaide: Dixon 4, Marshall 3, Ladhams 2, Woodcock, Amon, Houston, Wines, Rozee
Collingwood: Mihocek 3, Henry 2, De Goey, Elliot, Bianco, Cameron, Cox
Port Adelaide: Drew, Boak, Dixon, Houston, Amon, Wines, Marshall
Collingwood: Grundy, Mihocek, Crisp, Adams, Sidebottom, De Goey, Ruscoe
Port Adelaide: Nil
Collingwood: Pendlebury (ankle)
Port Adelaide: Mayes (unused)
Collingwood: Cox (replaced Pendlebury)