Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has praised the "guts of the group" after the undermanned Magpies withstood Fremantle's never-say-die spirit and secured a vital road win on Sunday.
The Pies led at every change at Domain Stadium but saw their 13-point advantage at the final change evaporate almost immediately in the fourth term as the Dockers surged to level the scores.
But Buckley's men dug deep – despite injuries to Daniel Wells (calf), Jamie Elliott (ankle), Tyson Goldsack (shoulder) and Levi Greenwood (corked quad) – and clinched their third-straight victory by 20 points.
"The story tonight is just the guts of the group. With due respect to the guys that might be touch and go next week, it's not going to concern us when we bring that sort of collective effort," Buckley said.
"We share the load. It's a squad mentality in the way we go about it and it's going to be different blokes' turn at different times.
"With Alex Fasolo out for the week, Tim Broomhead goes back for a couple of weeks and then comes in and is starting to show us what he's capable of around the ball.
"We will continue to, man-by-man, play the way we want to play."
The Pies held sway for most of Sunday's contest and could have put the Dockers away early but for an inaccurate 3.5 opening term – with one shot out on the full.
Collingwood edged ahead by 22 points during the second quarter and found another gear when Freo mounted a challenge late, booting four goals to two in the final term to improve to a 5-6 win-loss record and 10th spot on the ladder.
"Accuracy, early in particular, (was a concern)," Buckley said.
"There was some pretty easy shots that we missed, but we kicked some pretty good goals in the second half.
"The weight of field position ended up working in our favour.
"We're thrilled with the endeavour of our players just to keep fighting.
"I thought we played pretty good footy for four quarters, we controlled field play for the most part.
"We knew Freo would be really strong in clearance at patches, and that was a really strong point for them and that kept drawing them back closer to us.
"But to have the resilience to be challenged, withstand that and finish the game off was a really strong performance."
The Pies have now won three-straight matches against Hawthorn, the Lions and Freo to remain in the finals hunt, and was again powered by a star-studded engine room on Sunday.
Brodie Grundy (21 disposals, 39 hitouts) was outstanding in the ruck without having to contend against Aaron Sandilands, while Adam Treloar (35), Steele Sidebottom (33), Taylor Adams (28) and Scott Pendlebury (30) drove the triumph.
Buckley was confident his young group had plenty of improvement left in them ahead of a huge clash against fellow finals hopeful Melbourne on Queen's Birthday.
"We're still a really young group, still growing and developing but we're starting to make some headway."