Geelong was not at its best, was missing some of its key players and probably has half an eye on the finals, but none of that stopped the Cats from beating Collingwood on Saturday, and in the process sealing their place in the top-four.

A defeat to the Magpies would have put the Cats' hold on a top-four position in real jeopardy with next week's clash with Greater Western Sydney on the horizon. And there were some shaky moments, particularly as the Magpies held a three-point lead over the Cats at the midway point of the final term.

But with Patrick Dangerfield piecing together another brilliant best-on-ground display, Geelong flexed its muscles to win by 11 points, running out 10.10 (70) to 9.5 (59) victors. 

The win confirms the Cats' spot in the top-four regardless of next week's results. 

It's hard to think Geelong would have survived the scare without Dangerfield producing an MCG masterclass. The Brownlow medalist started the contest a little quietly, but finished with 32 disposals (including 24 contested and 22 after half-time). He also had 12 clearances and two goals, including the match-turning goal in the final term.

It was a game of few highlights, with goals at a premium and the class level well down, but when it had to be won, Dangerfield was here, there and everywhere helping the Cats dodge a big bullet.

Fellow midfielders Mitch Duncan (32 disposals) and Sam Menegola (28, two goals) were also handy, and Zach Tuohy gave valuable drive with 27 touches.

The Pies' better form in the past six weeks continued, but they were unable to win their fourth-straight game over Geelong. 

Taylor Adams was their best with 26 disposals and 12 tackles, while Tom Phillips (26 disposals) worked into the game, and Matthew Scharenberg was good again across half-back.

Father-son debutant Josh Daicos had nine disposals, laid nine tackles and set up an early goal in an encouraging first game.

It was all Collingwood in the first term as they took a 23-point lead into quarter-time, Geelong appearing flat on the back of its important win over Richmond last week and the Pies taking their chances to grab the advantage.

Mason Cox proved a challenge when pushing forward by converting two set shots while the Cats also found it difficult to contain the spark of Hoskin-Elliott, who also booted two for the term.

But Geelong knew the stakes of the contest and lifted in the second quarter to get within three points by half-time. 

The returning Duncan got more involved, Wylie Buzza created contests in attack, and they wore down the Magpies, who appeared to be running out of options in attack.

With Jamie Elliott quelled and Darcy Moore solid without being overly threatening around goal, Collingwood managed just one major for the second term as Geelong kicked four to gain control.

The Cats took that momentum into the third quarter as well, with Dangerfield growing into the game and collecting 14 disposals and six clearances for the term. 

But despite that dominance, and the feel that the dam was about to burst in Geelong's favour (they had 10 of the first 12 inside-50s for the term), Collingwood wouldn't go away.

When Jordan Murdoch, thanks to some run and dash from Cam Guthrie, broke the deadlock and extended Geelong's lead to nine points at the 20-minute mark of the quarter, it appeared the Cats were set to bolt away with the game.

But the arm wrestle wasn't done yet. Collingwood kicked the next two goals and took a four-point lead into the final change, with a surprise victory in its sights.

The tussle continued into the final term, with the first goal of the quarter coming at the 16-minute mark when Dangerfield coolly slotted a long running shot from outside 50. It couldn't have been anyone else.

Collingwood: The Magpies had a concern in the fourth term with Taylor Adams leaving the field with a head issue early in the quarter. But Adams returned later in the term and the club didn't appear to have any other major worries for the day.

Geelong: Geelong didn't seem to suffer any major fitness concerns in Saturday's clash.

Collingwood's disappointing season will finish up next Saturday at the MCG when the Pies take on Melbourne. Geelong takes on GWS at Simonds Stadium on Saturday night, in a game that will likely decide which of the clubs will host a home qualifying final.

COLLINGWOOD  6.1   7.2   9.4  10.10 (70)
GEELONG            2.2   6.5   8.6   9.5 (59)

Collingwood: Cox 2, Hoskin-Elliott 2, Broomhead 2, Moore, Sidebottom, Blair
Geelong: Dangerfield 2, Murdoch 2, Menegola 2, Parsons, Buzza, Bews, Taylor

Collingwood: Adams, Howe, Cox, Moore, Scharenberg, Hoskin-Elliott
Geelong: Dangerfield, Menegola, Duncan, Tuohy, Stewart, C.Guthrie

Collingwood: Adams (head)
Geelong: Nil

Reports: Nil
Umpires: Nicholls, Harris, Jeffery
Official crowd: 47,889 at the MCG