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Match Report: Pies battle past Dogs

Highlights: Dogs v Pies Catch all the highlights from our round 14 victory over the Bulldogs.

Collingwood has made a habit of winning games this year when not at its best. Of all the habits for a football team to have, this is one you'd choose.

And again, that proved the way for the Magpies on Sunday as they eventually shrugged off a persistent and plucky Western Bulldogs outfit to win by nine points.

But it wasn't easy. Just when the Pies looked in control of the contest in the second half, the Bulldogs would find a way to strike back. The 13.4 (82) to 10.13 (73) scoreline underpins a tight contest, in one of the Bulldogs' most impressive games of the season, despite the result.

It was the outstanding showing of Magpies ruckman Brodie Grundy that perhaps separated the sides, with the star big man collecting 24 disposals and 43 hitouts in a complete performance.

He also booted two important goals, including one midway through the last quarter from long range that sealed the Pies' 10th win of the season and should see him awarded another best-afield three votes on Brownlow Medal night. 

In an insight into how the Pies will structure their forward set-up without NAB AFL Rising Star Jaidyn Stephenson as he serves his 10-match ban for betting, Collingwood was the more potent line-up throughout the contest. 

With key pillars Ben Reid (three goals) and Mason Cox (two) rotating deep in attack, Jordan De Goey (two) hovering, and the likes of Brodie Mihocek (one) and Will Hoskin-Elliott roaming, they showed they are not short on attacking options.  

Their midfield stepped up under the hand of Grundy, with Adam Treloar (36 disposals), Jack Crisp (33), Steele Sidebottom (33) and Tom Phillips (22, two goals) all excelling.

Defensive pair Darcy Moore and Jordan Roughead were also important in cutting off the Dogs' inside 50 entries.

The Dogs midfielders stuck with the Pies, with Jack Macrae (42 disposals), Josh Dunkley (35), Caleb Daniel (35, one goal) and Lachie Hunter (33) vital. Patrick Lipinski also continued his run of form with 31 touches and a goal. 

Daniel was the star of the end-to-end first term, gathering 13 disposals in a dominant display. The diminutive Dog was busy, neat and penetrating with his ball use, as his side looked dangerous sweeping into attack.

The Bulldogs' two-point lead at the first change came after a slow start, with Collingwood midfielder Phillips booting both his goals in the first term. 

Luke Beveridge's men continued to press, and impress. At one point into the second term they had registered nine of the first 10 inside 50 entries of the quarter.

Matt Suckling was effective up forward, Ed Richards' pace was important on the wing, and Aaron Naughton began to pose a threat in attack.

But they needed to make the most of that dominance, because Collingwood was going to eventually recover its rhythm.

It took a dribbling snap from De Goey to break the 20-minute deadlock in the second term, before Tory Dickson struck back in the dying seconds to recapture the Dogs' five-point lead heading into half-time. 

Grundy's presence began to be felt in the third quarter, as Collingwood started to take advantage of his dominance in the ruck.

It won 11 clearances to six for the term, with Treloar, Crisp and Sidebottom beginning to rev up the Pies.

Collingwood's five-goal-to-two quarter was game-breaking, but it was humming rather than going at full throttle.

Like the Pies have done for large chunks of the season, they stepped up and answered the Dogs' challenge, although a late major to Josh Schache kept the Bulldogs' deficit to 11 points and within reach. 

They continued to hang in, right until the final minutes with two late goals, but were outclassed when it mattered.

Western Bulldogs
: Bailey Smith and Josh Dunkley needed treatment after a head clash in the first term but quickly returned and were fine for the rest of the afternoon.

Collingwood: The Pies lost defender Jeremy Howe to a calf injury in the second quarter and he sat out the remainder of the game.

Collingwood will face North Melbourne next Saturday night at Marvel Stadium, while the Bulldogs will travel to Adelaide Oval to meet Port Adelaide on Saturday night. 

WESTERN BULLDOGS    4.3     5.7     7.11     10.13 (73)

COLLINGWOOD              4.1     5.2     10.4      13.4 (82)

Western Bulldogs: Schache 3, Lloyd 2, Dickson 2, Suckling, Lipinski, Daniel
Collingwood: Reid 3, De Goey 2, Phillips 2, Grundy 2, Cox 2, Brown, Mihocek

Western Bulldogs: Daniel, Macrae, Bontempelli, Dunkley, Schache, Suckling
Collingwood: Grundy, Treloar, Crisp, De Goey, Sidebottom, Reid

Western Bulldogs: Nil
Collingwood: Howe (calf)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Margetts, Stephens, Gavine, Meredith

Official crowd: 39,836 at Marvel Stadium