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Pies survive Bulldog test

Buckley post-match Watch Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley's post-game press conference
COLLINGWOOD has got its 2012 campaign well and truly rolling with a 21-point win over the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.

The Magpies kicked 15. 8 (98) to the Dogs' 11.11 (77) to notch their third consecutive win.

But the scoreline didn't reflect how long the Bulldogs were in the game nor how close they came to winning it.

Their ferocity at the contest took Collingwood by surprise and the Bulldogs shot out to an early lead.

Scott Pendlebury aside, many of Collingwood's stars took a while to get going. Dane Swan had a quiet first quarter with Liam Picken his tight tag but worked his way into the game and was eventually one of the winners' better contributors.

Pendlebury won the Bob Rose-Charlie Sutton Medal for best on ground.

Dayne Beams played out of his skin to gather 33 touches, while Ben Sinclair enhanced his standing in the Collingwood 22 with a frenzied attack on the ball and two goals.

The decision to go tall in the forward line early didn't pay off for Magpie coach Nathan Buckley as Ben Reid, Travis Cloke and Chris Dawes all had minimal influence in the first half. At times, the unlikely candidate for the Pies' most dangerous looking forward was Heath Shaw, who was playing at half-back and floating forward.

To their credit, Dawes and Cloke were much better after the half-time break.

Few could doubt the Bulldogs' endeavor but, as has been the case on several occasions this year, their poor foot skills let them down at crucial stages.

Brian Lake was excellent on Cloke and played with a level of confidence that seemed to go missing last season.

Ryan Griffen was damaging with the ball, though too often unaccountable without it, while Matthew Boyd gave his usual honest performance.

The Magpies had the momentum early in the final term but the Dogs eventually got it to their end where Lake capped off his bold foray forward with a brilliant goal under pressure on a tough angle from 50m. But it was the only goal for his team all quarter and the Magpies held them off to capture a gutsy win.

COLLINGWOOD                2.0   6.4      11.5    15.8    (98)         
WESTERN BULLDOGS     3.5   5.7    10.10   11.11   (77)                 
Collingwood: Shaw 2, Goldsack 2, Sinclair 2, Cloke 2, Dawes, Sidebottom, Swan, Reid, Fasolo, O'Brien, Wellingham.
Western Bulldogs: Giansiracusa 3, Griffen 2, Higgins 2, Boyd, Wood, Hargrave, Lake
Collingwood: Beams, Pendlebury, Buckley, Clarke, Sidebottom, Swan
Western Bulldogs: Lake, Griffen, Cross, Sherman, Cooney, Boyd, Hargrave
Collingwood: Darren Jolly (knee) replaced in selected side by Cameron Wood, Ben Johnson (shoulder)
Western Bulldogs: Easton Wood (hamstring)
Collingwood: Kirk Ugle replaced Ben Johnson (shoulder) at half-time.
Western Bulldogs: Mitch Wallis replaced Easton Wood (hamstring) in the third quarter.
Reports: Nil
Umpires: Donlon, Stewart, Schmitt
Official crowd:
38,155 at Etihad Stadium.

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