Magpies return to form with seven-goal belting of Port

Roger Vaughan |

Magpie Mason Cox (right) congratulates Patrick Lipinski on one of his four goals against Port.
Magpie Mason Cox (right) congratulates Patrick Lipinski on one of his four goals against Port.

Reigning AFL premiers Collingwood have flexed their considerable muscle and sent a message to Essendon ahead of Anzac Day, smacking Port Adelaide by 42 points.

The Power made an impressive start and led by five goals early on Saturday at the MCG, before the Magpies rallied and stormed past them for their 17.21 (123) to 12.9 (81) win.

It is the ideal preparation for Collingwood ahead of the Anzac Day blockbuster against the Bombers.

Adding to a filthy day for Port, star onballer Jason Horne-Francis went off in the last term after a strong game.

Bobby Hill (left) and Jason Horne-Francis.
Collingwood’s Bobby Hill (left) backs his pace against Port Adelaide’s Jason Horne-Francis. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

But coach Ken Hinkley hopes it is only cramp and not another hamstring injury for Horne-Francis.

After a shaky 0-3 start to the season, the Magpies have won their past three and on Saturday mauled the Power, who had won four out of five before failing badly at the MCG.

Collingwood coach Craig McRae said they took a “deep breath” in last week’s bye and it paid rich dividends.

“We looked way more connected now than we have in previous weeks,” he said.

“Right now, to have a couple of extra days to get mind and body ready, we felt that on Monday when they bounced into work.

“OK, there’s a bounce in the step. It’s still a work in progress.” 

When Horne-Francis burst from a stoppage and kicked an outstanding goal on the run, Port had kicked the first two goals of the second term and led by 26 points.

That was after they had stormed to a 31-point break in the opening quarter.

Will Hoskin-Elliott
Will Hoskin-Elliott helped spark Collingwood’s revival against Port Adelaide. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

But five minutes after the Horne-Francis gem, Collingwood winger Will Hoskin-Elliott trumped him with a soaring mark and goal.

It was the spark for a six-goal spree that propelled the Magpies to a 12-point lead at the main break.

Effectively, it was game over and a fierce reality check for Port, who could not match Collingwood’s work-rate and intensity when the Magpies challenged.

By contrast, it is Collingwood’s highest score since they kicked 21.9 in round two last year – also against Port.

Hoskin-Elliott played one of the best games of his career, kicking two goals amid his 21 possessions, while Patrick Lipinski led the way with four goals.

Ruckman Darcy Cameron also continued his strong start to the year on a day when these lesser lights took centre stage for Collingwood.

“It was nice to see our role players shine,” McRae said.

Horne-Francis impressed for Port with 24 possessions, but overall Port were shown up.

Connor Rozee (centre)
Connor Rozee (centre) leads Port Adelaide teammates off the field after the loss to Collingwood. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

“We couldn’t have wished for a better start. As much as we were ‘on’ in the first quarter, we were switched off by Collingwood at their best,” Hinkley said.

Magpie veteran Scott Pendlebury was subbed off in the last term on 18 disposals, leaving him five short of 10,000 for his career.

Another facet of Collingwood’s impressive win was small forward Bobby Hill dishing off several goals to teammates.

“Players talked about that post-game, how important that is for energy,” McRae said.

“Individuals kick goals, but they’re ours. So when we share it around, it’s just another level of us … huge.”

Magpies great Steele Sidebottom played his 314th game, taking him to second behind Pendlebury on the all-time club list and ahead of Tony Shaw.