COLLINGWOOD has stamped itself as one of the teams to beat in 2019, shaking off inaccuracy to post its fourth-consecutive victory in a 39-point takedown of Port Adelaide at Marvel Stadium on Friday night.
A first-quarter onslaught from the Magpies, which saw them slam home seven goals to Port Adelaide's none, set the stage for a highly-convincing win and one that showcased the full repertoire of a Collingwood side that looks likely to venture deep into September again.
After a lacklustre start on a big Friday night stage, the Power closed the gap to 18 points early in the third term only to see the Magpies kick away to an imposing 15.18 (108) to 10.9 (69) victory and keep up with the AFL's pacesetters.
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Without the key presence of Mason Cox (ankle), Collingwood's forwards stepped up in a big way with Jaidyn Stephenson (four goals, three in the first term), Jamie Elliott (three), Brody Mihocek (two), Will Hoskin-Elliott (one), Jordan De Goey (1.3) and Ben Reid (1.4) all hitting the scoreboard.
Port Adelaide's defensive group, which has recently started to receive league-wide recognition for its efforts in the first six rounds of the season, was powerless – save for inaccuracy – to stop the Magpies' attacking juggernaut.
The Magpies took away the two areas the Power have owned so far this season – clearance dominance and territory advantage which saw Port struggling to get anything meaningful going.
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Defender Darcy Moore continued his stellar season with a sensational performance which again reaffirmed his All Australian claims, amassing a game-high 12 intercepts to go with his 21 disposals.
Captain Scott Pendlebury was terrific through the midfield, winning the bulk of his 36 possessions in dangerous areas forward of centre; Tom Phillips (31) frequently found and made the most of the space he found himself in and Adam Treloar (35 disposals and five clearances) was also prolific.
With the game basically out of his side's grasp at the first change, Power coach Ken Hinkley delivered a stinging spray to his team at the quarter-time huddle.
The message elicited the desired response with a goal to Travis Boak in the first minute of the second term getting the Power on the board. By half-time the former skipper's team had kicked five goals to the Magpies' one for the quarter to trim the margin to 24 points at the long break and the Power were back in the contest.
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With its midfield well beaten, defenders Dougal Howard (eight intercepts), Dan Houston (19 disposals) and Ryan Burton (19) slowly started to turn the tide with their contest wins in the back half.
But with the margin threatening to spill over and get out of hand, Port Adelaide walked a tightrope.
In his 250th game, Boak was among the Power's best with 31 disposals (16 contested), but he had few friends as boom draftees Connor Rozee, Xavier Duursma and Zak Butters all had quiet nights.
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The Magpies re-established their control of the game after Rozee cut the margin to 18 points with a wonderful snap at the second-minute mark of the third term, with goals to De Goey and Treloar providing the steadying influence Collingwood needed to coast away to an impressive win.
The only real negative on a positive night for the Pies was a groin injury suffered by prime onballer Taylor Adams, which could affect Collingwood's deep midfield rotation.
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Collingwood: Taylor Adams left the field in the third quarter with what appeared to be a groin injury. Adams tried to do a fitness test on the boundary line, but was clearly not right and spent the rest of the night with ice applied to his left groin on the interchange bench.
Port Adelaide: Brad Ebert was assessed for concussion after copping a knee to the back of his head in a marking contest in the third term and did not return to the ground.
The Magpies return to the MCG for a clash against arch-rival Carlton next Saturday afternoon. Port Adelaide will return home for the Showdown against Adelaide next Saturday night.
COLLINGWOOD 7.6 8.12 11.17 15.18 (108)
PORT ADELAIDE 0.3 5.6 6.7 10.9 (69)
Collingwood: Stephenson 4, Elliott 3, Mihocek 2, Beams, De Goey, Treloar, Hoskin-Elliott, Reid, Sidebottom
Port Adelaide: Lycett 2, Rozee, Ryder, Westhoff, Burton, Powell-Pepper, Marshall, Boak, Gray
Collingwood: Pendlebury, Moore, Phillips, Treloar, Stephenson, Grundy, Langdon
Port Adelaide: Howard, Westhoff, Houston, Boak, Wines, Burton
Collingwood: Adams (groin)
Port Adelaide: Ebert (concussion)
Umpires: Margetts, O'Gorman, Williamson
Official crowd: 37,559 at Marvel Stadium