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Stars shine as Pies thump Bendigo

Darren Jolly kicked three goals in Collingwood's 116-point win over Bendigo on Friday night.
A star-studded Collingwood returned to the winners list with an emphatic 116-point win over Bendigo in round four of the VFL on Friday night.

The Magpies’ win was made memorable by the performance of Luke Ball who didn’t miss a beat in his first game since undergoing a knee reconstruction 54 weeks ago.

"On the back of yesterday, it was really good," said Midfield Development Coach Tarkyn Lockyer after the game.

"It was pleasing obviously to see 'Bally' get through. There wouldn’t be too many footy people who wouldn’t be pleased to see someone like Bally back playing again.

Ball wasn’t the only senior Magpie to impress the large crowd that ringed the fence at the Queen Elizabeth Oval.

Ruckman Darren Jolly kicked three goals while alternating between the ruck and full forward with junior big man Jarrod Witts and appeared to suffer no ill effects from the rib injury he sustained against Carlton three weeks ago.

Recap collingwoodfc.com.au's live coverage of Friday night's win over Bendigo.

Small forwards Alan Didak and Andrew Krakouer were similarly as effective.

Didak helped fuel Collingwood’s eight goal second quarter with several clever pieces of play on centre wing. Although he has suffered from soft tissue injuries in his legs in the past three years, Didak showed that he has lost none of his zip as he raced up and down the wing, scoring three behinds in the process.

Krakouer’s output was just as impressive. He covered the ground well and regularly made life easier for the forwards with his disposal and slick ball usage.

Luke Ball told collingwoodfc.com.au that his knee has reacted well to its first hitout in 54 weeks.

A moment late in the last quarter stood out when Krakouer poached the ball out of the hands of a Bendigo opponent who appeared destined to score before rebounding from half back.

That piece of magic put the exclamation mark on an even team performance in which players both young and old made an impression.

"'Jolls' obviously got through a full game, Dids was pretty prominent once again," said Lockyer.

"I thought for senior players they performed the way we expect them to. Certainly the influence they had over the game was really good and the influence on the group as well/

"Kyle Martin was good, Josh Thomas was good...everyone contributed which was really pleasing."

Rookie pair Martin (four goals) and Adam Oxley (two) cut their opponents to ribbons through the centre.

Martin has been one of the most prolific players in the competition for two years now but since joining Collingwood has underlined his potency when running forward. He has now kicked four goals in each of his last two games which comes on top of his three goal performance against North Ballarat in round one.

His 20-year-old teammate Oxley looms as another potential rookie list success story. The Queenslander continued to show his predilection for interception the opposition on the wings and across half back while his foot skills make him a dangerous player when the Magpies look to rebound from defence.

Small defender Marley Williams also performed well, hitting the ball and opponents with intent and breaking tackles at will.

Veteran rebounder Ben Johnson did not take his place in the side. Johnson has not played since the round three loss to Hawthorn owing to calf soreness.

Collingwood 7.8, 15.14, 20.20, 25.26 (176)
Bendigo 4.1, 5.3, 7.5, 9.6 (60)

Goals – Collingwood: Martin 4, Paine 3, Jolly 3, Ferguson 3, Kennedy 3, Witts 3, Oxley ,2 Collopy 2, Hellier, Allan
Bendigo: Walls 2, Pollock, Thomson, Bolton, Hams, Magin, McInnes, Toman

Best – Collingwood: Ferguson, M.Williams, Krakouer, Kennedy, Martin, Allan
Bendigo: Stroobants, Farrelly, Toman, Hams, Pollock, McLinden

At Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo