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Pies too good for Port

Sharrod Wellingham interview Sharrod Wellingham discusses Collingwood's win over Port Adelaide
Dane Swan had a team-high 36 touches against Port Adelaide

WHAT a difference a week can make.

Just eight days after 60 points separated Collingwood and Carlton, the two teams posted contrasting performances at the opposite ends of Melbourne.

Shortly after the Blues went down to Essendon by 30 points, the Pies responded to a week of off-field bickering and innuendo to beat Port Adelaide by 24 points at Etihad Stadium.

Watch the CTV highlights of the Magpies' win here.

It was far from a complete performance. Without nine regular players, the Pies were inconsistent after a promising start.

They led by over five goals at quarter-time but the Power got within 19 points by half-time, and then hung around for much of the third term.   

But with Dane Swan lifting on recent showings with eight tackles and 36 possessions and Harry O'Brien finding form as a loose man in defence, the Magpies eased to the 14.13 (97) to 10.13 (73) victory.

A knee injury to Robbie Gray, sustained in the dying minutes of the last quarter soured the day further for the Power.

The Power later said it was likely the 24-year-old had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament, and would miss the season after a traditional reconstruction.

"Yeah, look, not good news," coach Matthew Primus said.
"Robbie's obviously a very important player of our future, but he'll find his way back, and we'll miss his presence this year."

For Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley, the game was more about how his senior players stood up after a difficult week.

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He praised the performances of Travis Cloke, Scott Pendlebury, Nick Maxwell, Darren Jolly, Swan and O'Brien, and their leadership on and off the field.

"I thought our experienced players stood up today and through the week, and it was really encouraging to see that," Buckley said.

"In the end, for all the direction the coaches set, the leaders and senior players need to drive that through the group and that was encouraging."

Read more from Buckley's post match press conference here.

It was an exciting opening term, led by Swan, Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom. But, the Power worked their way into the contest with three unanswered goals in the second.

Goals to Chris Dawes and Cloke within a minute midway through the quarter had got the Pies going, and they booted another three to comfortably lead at the first change.

The Power persisted. With Travis Boak influential and Dominic Cassisi important at the stoppages, they whittled the margin to 19 points by the main break.

In the third, O'Brien continued to shine and the Power restructured their attack after opting for four talls in the first half.  

Paul Seedsman came on and kicked the last goal of the term - his first in AFL football - which put the Pies back to a 33-point advantage with a quarter to play.

The Power ended with eight more inside 50s but too often failed to take advantage of their attacking opportunities.

The Pies must now turn their attention to the four-day break before the Anzac Day clash with Essendon while the Power face Adelaide in a Showdown on Sunday.

Buckley was non-committal on potential changes to the team, although Alan Didak and Nathan Brown played VFL on Saturday.

COLLINGWOOD        7.5 8.8 13.11 14.13 (97)
PORT ADELAIDE        2.2 5.7 8.8 10.13 (73)     
Collingwood: Cloke 4, Sidebottom 2, Wellingham 2, Sinclair, Dawes, Beams, Paine, Fasolo, Seedsman
Port Adelaide: Gray 2, Schulz 2, D. Stewart, Butcher, Ebert, P. Stewart, Westhoff, Pfeiffer
Collingwood: Swan, Pendlebury, O'Brien, Sidebottom, Cloke, Beams, Wellingham
Port Adelaide: Boak, Cassisi, Pearce, McCarthy, Cornes, Gray
Collingwood: Nil
Port Adelaide: Gray (knee)

Collingwood: Ben Johnson replaced by Paul Seedsman in the third quarter
Port Adelaide: Brent Renouf replaced by Chad Wingard in the fourth quarter
Reports: Nil
McBurney, Jennings, Ritchie
Official crowd: 30,741 at Etihad Stadium

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs