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Collingwood blast Eagles to record thumping win

“The season is still alive, we’re still thereabouts, but we are not going to get far if we play like that.”

Nic Naitanui and Jack Petruccelle attempt to mark over Jordan Roughead of the Magpies.

Nic Naitanui and Jack Petruccelle attempt to mark over Jordan Roughead of the Magpies.Credit:Getty Images

On the other hand, Collingwood were outstanding from the start, with Jordan De Goey and Taylor Adams leading the charge out of the middle as they recorded their biggest winning margin since round one last season.

De Goey had 12 quality touches in the first quarter, building a patch of late-season form that could have him in best-and-fairest contention, while Adams – despite the odd kicking error – was at his usual belligerent best. De Goey finished with a career-high 34 disposals to be best on ground.

Harvey said DeGoey’s improvement was evident as he learned to play consistent football in the midfield, the position he wants to play, with the 25-year-old knuckling down to improve off his teammates. The dual Brownlow medallist said he was impressed with the trajectory DeGoey was on as he worked on aspects of his game.

“It’s just learning running patterns and consistency of work rate to be an elite AFL mid…the talent is for all to see but the ins and outs of playing midfield at the top level, he is learning that as he goes,” Harvey said.

“The graph is certainly going up but it is nowhere near the top yet.”

Steele Sidebottom was at his roaming best as captain, with Brayden Maynard outstanding in defence, once again undersized against Jack Darling, with his spoils timely and disciplined.

Harvey said he was pleased to see Sidebottom enjoying his football as captain and it was good for him to get reward for his work rate, which the coach said had never dropped off.

“He never stops trying and he showed great leadership…I have been around him a long time and he is a proud man,” Harvey said.

It is a filip to Harvey who has the players performing with spirit and in much more decisive fashion since taking over from Nathan Buckley at the bye.

The Magpies’ flair was built on the back of pressure as they did not give the Eagles’ midfielders space to hit forward targets. Too many times the Eagles went backwards to find space rather than trusting the contest ahead of the ball and the defensive effort of high-profile players such as Tim Kelly, Andrew Gaff and Nic Naitanui were well below AFL standard.

Brody Mihocek marks during the Magpies’ convincing win.

Brody Mihocek marks during the Magpies’ convincing win.Credit:Getty Images

A smother from Adams at a defensive stoppage in the second quarter when Kelly tried to snap showed what two-way football was about and the young players such as Ollie Henry – who clunked several strong marks – Finley Macrae, Trent Bianco and Jack Ginnivan contributed, with Ginnivan kicking his first AFL goal.

Trey Ruscoe has also found a home across half back, with his ball use sharp and creative and Isaac Quaynor kicked his first goal in his 34th game.

The return of Jeremy Howe was also significant, with the popular defender solid as he helped the team organise behind the ball, while Brodie Grundy showed more intent than he had in recent weeks to be the best big man on the ground.

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Harvey said Grundy’s efforts off the ball were significant while the return of Howe’s leadership and experience was welcome.

“He’s still short of a gallop and he will get better as he goes but I think having his presence as a leader is what we need,” Harvey said.

It was the first time the Magpies had Adams, Howe and Elliot in each of the lines since round two when they defeated Carlton, with the win giving the Magpies some breathing space between themselves and the wooden spoon, an important outcome as they have already traded their first-round pick to the Giants.

The Eagles salvaged something in the final quarter to reduce the final margin but the Magpies had been so dominant for three quarters it was barely a consolation, with West Coast winning just one match in Victoria this season.

BEST:
Collingwood
De Goey, Adams, Sidebottom, Elliott, Maynard, Crisp, Noble, Grundy.
West Coast Gaff, Sheed, Cripps, West.

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