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VFL: Gallant Pies beaten by Blues

Nick Maxwell made a successful return from a calf injury in Collingwood's 18-point loss to the Northern Blues. Photo: Shane Barrie.
A gallant Collingwood suffered an 18-point loss in a physical encounter with Northern Blues at Preston City Oval.

The Magpies lost Ben Reid (corked leg), Marty Clarke (concussion) and Mat Suckling (hamstring) during the first half and operated with just two fit men on the bench for the remainder of the match.

Defender Nick Maxwell performed well in his first match since injuring his calf against St Kilda five weeks ago.

Recap Sunday's VFL clash with the Northern Blues now.

Patrick Karnezis was dangerous all afternoon, kicking four goals and taking a handful of one-handed marks.

He received good support from Caolan Mooney (three goals) while Tim Broomhead, Ben Moloney and Jack Hellier were outstanding in the centre square.

Freeman sidelined from Sunday's loss.

Down by one point at three quarter time, the Blues gained the ascendency early in the final quarter with three early majors, kick-started by a snap from Jeff Garlett that helped open up a 19-point advantage.

With just two players available to be rotated back onto the ground, Collingwood still managed to raise one final effort. Big man Corey Gault played a vital role in creating goals to Karnezis and Mooney while ruckman Lachlan Howe gave his side hope when he slotted a set shot from a near impossible angle.

Unfortunately, that was where the momentum stopped.

Fresh legs told the story in the closing stages, with Blues ruckman Cameron Wood (himself a former Magpie) helping generate three goals in the final 10 minutes to ice the match.

Wood and fellow ex-Magpie John Anthony were named best afield for the Blues.

Collingwood            2.7     8.11    9.12     12.15 (87)
Northern Blues       3.2     6.4     10.7      16.9 (105)

Goals – Collingwood: Karnezis 4, Mooney 3, Suckling, Gault, Broomhead, J.Williams, Howe
Northern Blues: Waite 3, Watson 3, Garlett 2, Gleeson, Cripps, Ellard, Cachia, Wilson, Walton, Wood, Reynolds

Best – Collingwood: Moloney, Broomhead, J.Williams, Maxwell, Gault, White
Northern Blues: Wood, Anthony, Waite, Wilson, Armfield, Graham

At Preston City Oval.