Magpies dominate dire Demons in MCG blockbuster

The big, bad Melbourne wolf was way off target with the huffing and puffing as Collingwood proved their house was made of bricks in a convincing win at the MCG.

Melbourne never recovered from a poor start in Monday's King's Birthday AFL blockbuster, with their defeat exacerbated by seeing star utility Christian Petracca taken to hospital on the way to a 38-point loss.

While Nick Daicos also joined the lengthy Collingwood casualty list with a corked shin, the Magpies' 14.5 (89) to 6.15 (51) win was full of character and put the defending premiers back in the top eight, in sixth position.

Coach Craig McRae said Collingwood had a "three little pigs" theme for the game, given Melbourne were coming off a 92-point humiliation against Fremantle and were desperate to put their season back on course.

Jack Crisp, Harvey Harrison and Patrick Lipinski.
Harvey Harrison had three majors - the equal-high among the Magpies' nine goal kickers.

"I just wanted to make sure our house was made of bricks today," he said.

"We went to work on - not what Melbourne were going to do - it was about how we protect our house, keep it in order.

"Today was a significant outcome. We've been fighting (injuries)."

Before 84,659 fans, the Magpies led from the start and made the Demons pay for their continued woes in attack.

McRae noted Melbourne's inaccurate start - four behinds and two out of bounds on the full for the first term - saying it was particularly important given the Demons' determination to make a statement.

As much as the reigning premiers were again much greater than the sum of their parts, Melbourne's field kicking was horrible.

It was instructive that Melbourne had two more scoring shots, but never looked like being able to kick a winning score.

"We coughed up the ball way too much," Demons coach Simon Goodwin said.

Christian Petracca of the Demons.
Petracca went to hospital with broken ribs, but his absence was far from the decisive factor.

But Goodwin remains confident the Demons, who stayed mired in 10th place, can turn their fortunes around.

"It's frustrating and I know our supporters want to win and so do I," he said.

"We're optimistic that we're just going through a little patch at the moment that we need to work through and we'll come out the other side."

Demons fans booed Brayden Maynard every time he was involved in play, but the hard-nosed defender was among the Magpies' best.

The last time these teams played, Maynard crashed into Angus Brayshaw at the start of the qualifying final, in a clash that eventually ended the Melbourne player's career.

McRae said post-match that Maynard had been dealing with personal issues in the last few days, but did not go into any detail.

"He's a proud man and he played exceptionally well. We love him," McRae said.

"It's unfortunate what's happened in his private life, but I will leave it at that."

Jack Crisp.
Jack Crisp won the Neale Daniher medal for best-afield on Big Freeze night, with 27 possessions.

Midfielder Jack Crisp was best afield, while Nathan Kreuger celebrated his AFL return with three goals, the equal team-high with Harvey Harrison.

Petracca had started the game well, but was crunched in a marking contest just before quarter-time.

He was in agony, clutching his left side, as trainers helped him to the rooms.

Petracca returned to the game in the second term, but was clearly restricted and was subbed out early in the third.

Kozi Pickett was a rare shining light for the Demons in the midfield and up forward, while Jacob van Rooyen kicked three goals.

Daicos, whose impact was diminished by a hard Alex Neal-Bullen tag, was subbed out in the last term. But McRae does not expect him to miss any games.

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