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Ruthless Pies punish Suns

Dids at his best Alan Didak shows classic form finishing with a goal in the square
Chris Dawes battles for a mark with Sun Matthew Warnock

DESPITE a 53-disposal effort from Gold Coast skipper Gary Ablett, Collingwood has cruised to its seventh successive victory after belting the Suns by 97 points at the MCG on Sunday night.

In front of a crowd of 36,193, the Suns were within 14 points early in the second term but the Magpies piled on 14 of the next 15 goals on their way to a 23.11 (149) to 7.10 (52) win.

Watch all the highlights on CTV now.

In an enthralling midfield duel, superstars Ablett (31 kicks and 22 handballs) and Dale Thomas (32 touches and three goals) opposed each other for much of the contest, and remarkably a case could be made for either to receive best-afield honours.

Magpie mountain Travis Cloke quickly put his recent form slump and the apparent burden of contract talk behind him and, as is often the case, only inaccuracy cost him a big bag, as he gathered 19 disposals, nine marks and 3.4 goals, along with three out on the full.

But Cloke's forward partner Chris Dawes (three marks and no scores) continued to struggle.

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Alan Didak (29 touches and two goals) got into the flow, kicking multiple goals for the first time in 23 outings.

Other Pies to hit the scoreboard were second-gamer Jamie Elliott (three goals and 18 touches), Ben Sinclair (three), and Alex Fasolo (two).

Collingwood defender Nathan Brown, in his first game back from a minor knee injury, made a solid return, with his opponents having little or no impact.

The only downside for the Magpies was an injury scare to star midfielder Scott Pendlebury, who appeared to injure a knee in the first term.

Watch Pendles' knock to the knee here.

Pendlebury limped off in the hands of trainers after Josh Caddy fell across his right leg. The champion midfielder returned soon after and stamped his authority on the game, but was subbed off shortly after half-time.

Magpie runners Dayne Beams (32 disposals), Sharrod Wellingham (27) and Jarryd Blair (24) more than compensated for Pendlebury's absence in the second half.

Ablett was the Suns' best player by the length of the MCG, and among the next-best were Harley Bennell (28 disposals), who like Cloke, spoiled his game with poor conversion (0.4), while Michael Rischitelli kept Steele Sidebottom below 26 touches for the first time in seven games.

Despite the apparent ease of the win, Magpie coach Nathan Buckley was pleased with his side's consistent performance.

"We had some specific defensive goals through the week and coming into match and we achieved those," he said post-match.

"Any time you come up against any opposition there's a bit of a battle against them and there's a battle against yourselves to play your best football, and I was encouraged by (our) four-quarter performance."

Gold Coast counterpart Guy McKenna was satisfied with the overall efforts of his players despite the lopsided result.

"You’re probably going to laugh at this, but we actually thought our effort was OK," he said. "I just think we got blown out of the park by a very good side. They took their opportunities."

The Pies are expected to further strengthen their position next week in the Queen's Birthday match against Melbourne at the MCG - a victory that would take them to a 9-2 record before a well-earned bye.

Gold Coast remains the only winless team in the League, after Melbourne's upset victory against Essendon on Saturday night.

Its quest for its first win doesn’t get any easier next week against a rebounding St Kilda at Metricon Stadium.

  5.4   12.6   18.9    23.11 (149)                 
GOLD COAST          3.1     5.3     5.7    7.10 (52)         
Sinclair 3, Cloke 3, Elliott 3, Fasolo 2, Didak 2, Thomas 2, Pendlebury, Buckley, Wood, Beams, Williams, Thomas 2, Goldsack, Wellingham
Gold Coast: Brown 3, Lynch, Russell, Shaw, Hall

Thomas, Cloke, Didak, Beams, Wellingham, Buckley, Sidebottom, Clarke
Gold Coast: Ablett, Bennell, Illes, Russell

Pendlebury (knee)
Gold Coast: Nil

Scott Pendlebury (knee) replaced by Kirk Ugle in the third quarter
Gold Coast: Kyal Horsley replaced by Alik Magin in the third quarter

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Fila, Wenn, Findlay

Official crowd:
36,913 at the MCG

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