Another Collingwood win all but sees last year's finalists certify their spot atop the AFL ladder after defeating Fremantle on Saturday afternoon at the MCG, 15.17.107-12.6.78.
The Magpies dominated the first quarter despite kicking just three goals, establishing a handy lead in the process that enabled them to hold off each Fremantle comeback attempt.
It was another incredibly average display from Fremantle who have now wasted a fanastic start to 2012 by losing six of the past seven games and falling two games out of the eight. With a number of top 18 type players beginning to get over various injuries, one can only wonder about the job security of a number of Docker players. Zac Clarke and Adam McPhee were just a couple of players that will hopefully miss out in the coming weeks after pretty substandard efforts.
Dane Swan was unstoppable for the Magpies with 43 possessions and a couple of goals, while Dayne Beams, Sherrod Wellingham and Jarryd Blair were also prolific. Chris Dawes led six Collingwood multiple goal kickers with three majors.
For Fremantle, Captain Matthew Pavlich was a standout with five goals and 21 possessions despite the ball not heading into the direction of the forward line as much as it should of. Michael Barlow was his usual self with 37 touches, but Fremantle were missing too many key on ballers to have any type of chance against the Pies mighty midfield.
Despite kicking just three goals, Collingwood was dominant in the first quarter and held the Dockers to just two behinds and not allowing the West Australian side to attack with any sort of conviction. When Fremantle did get back in the game they found themselves under constant backline pressure that lasted the entire four quarters. The Fremantle defensive strategy had trouble with the constant run and attack with numbers that Collingwood presented and as a result they were never able to truly make a mark on the game due to a large number of mistakes and poor decision making.
Although Fremantle never hovered much further than four or five goals behind for most of the game, they blew a massive chance to turn the match upside down in the second quarter; and opportunity that may have resulted in a different outcome. They were outscored by Collingwood in the second term and found themselves down 24 points, but a number of crucial misses in front of goal could have halved that margin at the major break.
Full forward Travis Cloke was given the red vest in the fourth term despite having just bagged his second goal. The soon to be out of contract big man has come under scrutiny this season, and as recently as Thursday night, for the way in which he and his father have dealt with his on-going contract negotiations, but it was a knee complaint that sent him to the bench, the result of a minor knock earlier in the game.
Fremantle have a very easy schedule ahead of them which presents the club a chance to rebuild on the promising start they made to 2012. Having won just one game from their last six, the Dockers need some form (and two wins) to get back into the top 8.