Disappointing all season, the Western Bulldogs gave Collingwood everything they had and stuck around for three and a half quarter before eventually falling to last season’s finalists by 21 points.
Collingwood was first to register a major with Tyson Goldsack kicking the goal after the Bulldogs turned the ball over coming up the right wing, allowing Steele Sidebottom to create the mark with a beautiful delivery.
The Bulldogs went forward after the bounce and Pies captain Nick Maxwell gave away a free to his direct opponent, Shaun Higgins, who made no mistake from the set shot.
With a long bomb from beyond 50 Matthew Boyd added a second consecutive before Sidebottom set up his second goal with a releasing handball to Heath Shaw creeping inside 50.
Ryan Hardgrave kicked number three for the Dogs when he marked a wobbler smashed onto the boot by Adam Cooney.
Down 24-12 at quarter time, Collingwood found themselves behind by as much as 17 midway through the second before storming into halftime with a three-point lead.
A free kick for a high tackle gave Alex Fasolo an opportunity to create something. His long kick inside 50 was taken by Chris Dawes, who displayed some fantastic body work, to mark and goal for the quarter’s first.
Easton Wood kicked a remarkable goal when he caught a bouncing ball in the middle of the ground, side-stepped a defender before running to goals and delivering a huge long ball through the sticks from 50.
The Dogs received a second straight when Daniel Giansiracusa won a foot race to the goal square and just managed to soccer through the ball as a defender pounced.
A turnover by Boyd in the left back pocket allowed Sidebottom to snap a beautiful goal before Dane Swan roved a tapped ball from an unmarked contest to run into an open goal.
Collingwood’s third straight came when a free was awarded outside 50 and advantage was paid to a running Ben Sinclair who dribble a clever pass to Ben Reid for an easy major, giving the Pies 40-37 lead at the major break.
The third term matched and surpassed the first two and featured a heap of goals and a handful of lead changes.
Ben Johnson was subbed out at halftime with a troublesome shoulder but Collingwood still kicked the first courtesy of Sinclair, the Pies fourth straight, only to see the veteran Giansiracusa kicked consecutive goals. He kicked the first after using the side of his body to out mark Marty Clarke. Harry O’Brien was then switched onto him Giansiracusa was caught holding the forward in a marking contest and allowing him to go back and kick number three.
Heath Shaw took an acrobatic mark and the ensuing goal gave the Pies the lead once again. It didn’t last long; Ryan Griffen converted a long bomb from 55 meters.
Giansiracusa was awarded another free in a marking contest but big Will Minson opted to play on and lobbed a handball into the goal square where Higgins was waiting for the quick snap.
Collingwood kicked the next two: Goldsack backed himself from a set shot on the left side and Sinclair added the second with another footrace and soccer finish for the fourth lead change of the quarter.
The Dogs came within a point but Travis Cloke outmuscled Brian Lake in the square to goal and produced his first real impact in the game. Still hoping to sneak one more in before the final break, the Dogs flooded their forward 50 and poor kick fell right into the waiting arms of Hargrave who goaled with 20 seconds remaining in the quarter.
A Bulldogs behind tied the scores early in the fourth but a couple of costly errors in their back half not long after would eventually see them succumb to a deficit they could not catch.
Robert Murphy, who had been solid all day, made the two errors. He kicked straight to Cloke trying to swing the ball across the defensive 50, Cloke went back a delivered a great goal, and another poor decision allowed for Fasolo to snap number two.
Collingwood were threatened when Lake pushed up field and kicked a wonderful goal from the boundary line with a half of a quarter still remaining, but late goals to O’Brien and Wellingham ensured there would be no thrilling end.
The Pies ran away with a 15.8.98-11.11.77 win and received a number of dominant midfield performances. Pendlebury, Beams, Buckley, Sidebottom and Swan all registered between 34 and 29 possessions.
Griffen and Cross each racked up over 30 disposals and Lake was very impressive on Cloke for much of the contest.