Nick Duigan
Nick Duigan

Carlton have risen off the deck to stun Collingwood and produce what may be a season-defining 23-point victory over the Magpies on Friday night at the MCG.

In a sometimes brutal war of attrition that may have big repercussions on the injury and suspension front for both sides, the Blues defied the odds and the questions hanging over coach Brett Ratten's future to re-discover the type of performance they haven't shown since beating the Magpies by 10 goals in Round 3.

The 12.13 (85) to 8.14 (62) victory was based primarily on some rabid Blues pressure right across the park as they stifled the Magpies' run through the middle.

In an odd twist of fate, an early knee injury to Shaun Hampson may have also helped Carlton's cause, as it forced the Blues to play a smaller forward line - one that went man on man and didn't allow the Magpies backmen to get any meaningful run out of defence.

And when Collingwood did get the ball forward, key forwards Travis Cloke and Chris Dawes looked sadly off the pace, the pair well beaten by Michael Jamison and Matthew Watson respectively as they contributed just two goals between them - both from Cloke.

In the end it all proved too much for the Magpies, who despite being off the pace, were still well in the game midway through the third quarter.

After trailing by 13 at half-time, Collingwood had reduced the margin to just three points through two unanswered goals to open the third term, as the Blues wasted their chances down the other end, missing several shots from close range.

But when Cloke missed a set shot that would have put the Magpies in front for the first time since the early stages of the opening term, the Blues were able to take it up the other end.

And, despite missing another two shots to make it five behinds in a row, Chris Yarran produced a moment of magic to get the goals flowing again, waltzing through challenge after challenge before goaling on the run to give his side an 11-point buffer.

Yarran's goal kick-started a run of majors for the Blues, who booted four of the next five goals and were never seriously troubled by the Magpies in a regulation final term after Nick Duigan booted the quarter's first goal two minutes in for his third for the night.

Along with Duigan, Eddie Betts also added four goals while Chris Judd re-discovered his verve with 32 telling possessions.

Brock McLean may have been the substitute, but he still managed 30 disposals while Andrew Carrazzo impressed with his blanketing job on Dayne Beams, holding him to 24 touches.

But there was some bad news as well for the Blues as ruckman Hampson may have injured his posterior cruciate ligament after launching himself into a marking contest and smashing his knee into Dane Swan's back, with the Magpies ball-winner a somewhat subdued force thereafter, despite getting 30 touches.

Kade Simpson was also forced off during the third quarter after being knocked out by Sharrod Wellingham, who threw himself into the air in a marking contest and simply dropped his shoulder into Simpson's head.

Wellingham could be facing several weeks on the sidelines from the match review panel, who could also look at a second-quarter tackle by Steele Sidebottom, who swung McLean and hit his head into the turf.

Making matters worse for the Pies was a foot injury to Dale Thomas early in the third quarter after he kicked the boot of his Carlton opponent, while young defender Marley Williams suffered ongoing trouble with his shoulder.

From the outset, though, the script suggested Collingwood would cruise it in, and in the first three minutes, that script looked on the mark as the Pies swept forward, Cloke marked in the goal square and the Pies enjoyed an immediate seven-point lead.

But that was the point when the Blues threw away the script and after a month of soul searching produced the type of pressure footy and all-round intensity the footy world hasn't seen since that Round 3 domination of the Magpies.

Collingwood were simply never given any time to get their ball movement working and as Carrazzo tagged Beams with intent, the Magpies looked a shadow of the premiership favourites people have called them over the past few weeks.

Some inspiration from Thomas, who posted 14 touches and a goal during the second quarter, saw Collingwood remain in the contest up until half-time, but when Thomas was hurt and failed to make any impact thereafter, the Magpies challenge spluttered and failed.

'''COLLINGWOOD:''' 1.5, 4.9, 6.12, 8.14 (62)
'''CARLTON:''' 3.1, 7.4, 8.11, 12.13 (85)

'''GOALS: Collingwood:''' Paine 2, Cloke2 , Thomas, Sidebottom, Wellingham, Goldsack
'''Carlton:''' Betts 4, Duigan 3, Walker 2, Collins, Armfield, Yarran
'''BEST: Collingwood:''' Swan, Thomas, Fasolo, Blair
''' Carlton:''' Judd, McLean, Carrazzo, Robinson, Duigan, Betts, Jamison, Watson
'''INJURIES: Collingwood ''' Williams (shoulder), Thomas (foot)
''' Carlton:''' Hampson (knee), Jamison (shoulder), Simpson (concussion)
'''CHANGES: Collingwood''' Brown replaced in selected side by Clarke
'''REPORTS:''' Nil
'''SUBS: COLLINGWOOD:''' Ben Sinclair replaced Jackson Paine (third quarter)
'''CARLTON:''' Brock McLean replaced Shaun Hampson (first quarter)
'''UMPIRES:''' Donlon, Findlay, McInerney
'''CROWD:''' 75,755 at the MCG, Melbourne


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