On Friday night, Collingwood confronted its nemesis West Coast - and so did Magpie forward Brody Mihocek in the form of star defender Jeremy McGovern.

The Pies had been overrun in their previous four games against the reigning premier, including last year's Grand Final, and on each occasion mature-age rookie Mihocek had been soundly beaten by master interceptor McGovern.

But back in Perth last week, the Magpies and Mihocek turned the tables on their tormentors.

In a gutsy one-point win that must rate among Collingwood's great home and away efforts, the bullocking Mihocek produced the best game of his brief career, receiving the maximum 10 votes from the coaches after gathering 19 possessions, taking 10 marks (including five contested), bagging an equal career-high four goals and setting up two others.

The second-year Pie achieved what few have: he nullified McGovern's influence while being an offensive threat.

Mihocek downplayed his effort in the potentially season-defining win, diverting praise instead to teammates who'd also performed superb jobs on star Eagles, particularly Chris Mayne for his negating forward role on Eagles captain Shannon Hurn.

However, the 26-year-old provided an insight into the 'How to glove Guv' blueprint.

"In the past, even when I'd get shots on goal he'd still end up dominating," Mihocek told AFL.com.au.

"You've obviously got to limit his influence in the air, but once I get moving and get on that ground ball I've got the upper hand on him.

"For me it's also about getting some early touches and getting into the game and making him accountable. He'll try to drop off but if we can use good ball movement to hit up myself or 'Coxy' (Mason Cox) on the lead it can take him out of it and get him worrying about us.

"As a forward it obviously helps if the team's going well."

It also helps when the forward kicks straight, as Mihocek did most notably after taking a pack mark midway through the last quarter to reduce the deficit to seven points. It was the first goal for 30 minutes, breaking a sequence of five successive behinds for the Pies.

"For quite a few weeks my set shots hadn't been great. In most games I'll get the (scoring) chances – I just need to finish them off, which I hadn't really been doing," he said.

"I didn't practise my goalkicking too much during the week because I knew it was all inside my head. So whenever I had a set shot I took a breath to clear my head, and all night my kicking was just on."

Though he described his game as an "all-round good performance", Mihocek said it was a far from a flawless display.

"I went through some vision from the game and there's bits I cringed at, where I thought, 'What the hell was I doing?'

"My teammates give it to me a bit when I just wheel and go and have pings at the goals from anywhere. Just the forward's mentality, I suppose."

For a sizable chunk of this season Mihocek has felt under pressure to keep his spot, particularly given the doubts about whether the Pies could use him and fellow talls Cox and Ben Reid in the same forward line. The trio played together just twice before Reid suffered a calf injury in the round 15 loss to North Melbourne.

Compounding matters, during this period the Pies lapsed into a form slump and suddenly Mihocek and co were starved of opportunities.

"Yeah, I was worried. I think it's normal to worry about that stuff. You think you need to do more than you actually need to," Mihocek said.

"If things aren't going well it's easy to get inside your own head and keep playing bad, and I was close to worrying too much about it. I needed to relax a bit more, rather than worry about external stuff."

Mihocek's form and body have held up. The Tasmanian, who played for VFL clubs Werribee and Port Melbourne before landing at Collingwood as a key defender at the end of 2017, has played 32 consecutive games from his four-goal debut against Fremantle in round 11 last year.

Last year he tallied 29 goals (and 17 goal assists) in 16 games, and so far this year he has 24 goals (and 12 assists) in 16 outings. He's been held goalless just four times – a strike rate bettered at Collingwood in this period by only the brilliant Jordan De Goey.

Mihocek doesn't take his durability for granted – he's hoping to break a family curse with knee injuries that has claimed both of his parents and his two older brothers. (His father Jack played 13 games for Essendon from 1976-78.)

"My family is riddled with ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries and I'm surprised I've never done one," he said.

"So I'm not going to trim down the legs any time soon – they've probably saved me a few times."

Those tree-trunk thighs and his strong 97kg physique make Mihocek's running ability all the more impressive. Pies coach Nathan Buckley believes he runs as hard as any Magpie.

Mihocek, who is contracted to the end of 2020, plans to keep improving his fitness, forward craft and overall output.

"I honestly take it week to week because I'm just glad to still be in the team," he said ahead of another big clash with Greater Western Sydney.

"You obviously want to recreate things you've done well and maybe what happened last year, but I know there's still a lot more improvement left in my game. I don't know if I'll ever be satisfied.

"It's not too far off pre-season and I'm already excited about improving my fitness and body strength.

"I want to get the best out of my time while I'm here, and I haven't reached anywhere close to where I want to be or need to be.

"Other teams are going to look at me more than they may have last year. It's all about learning and adapting, and another year in the bag and I'll be better for it."

The Pies have suffered many injury woes in defence in his two seasons at the club but Mihocek said that if his coaches had ever considered sending him to the backline they certainly haven't mentioned it to him.

"Anyway, I've probably forgotten all I learned about playing back there!" he quipped.