Cox masterclass inspires big Magpies win

John Salvado

Towering American Mason Cox has stood tall with a career-high five goals as Collingwood outgunned Melbourne by 42 points in a Queen's Birthday AFL shootout.

In an eagerly awaited match between two improving sides expected to feature prominently in the finals action, it was the Magpies who took the honours with a 20.13 (133) to 14.7 (91) triumph before a huge crowd of 83,518 at the MCG.

Melbourne came into the match riding a six-game winning streak.

But there must now by genuine question marks over their premiership credentials after the heavy loss to a Collingwood team that drew level with them on 32 points on the ladder.

The Magpies have now won eight of their past 10 games and are well placed to return to the finals action for the first time since 2013.

"That was extremely satisfying - every win is," Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said.

Cox was outstanding for the Magpies in the win over the Demons. Pic: Getty

"We played probably our most consistent four-quarter performance to date and there's still a lot of improvement and there's still some things we can get better at."

The Magpies had most of the best midfielders on the ground, including Steele Sidebottom, Jordan de Goey, Adam Treloar and skipper Scott Pendlebury.

Their multi-pronged attack also proved too much for the Demons.

Playing his 31st AFL match, the 211cm Cox took the individual honours with five goals and was well supported by Jaidyn Stephenson and Will Hoskin-Elliott (four apiece), and Josh Thomas (three).

"(Cox) looked dangerous from the start," said Buckley.

"We were able to access him at the right times when it looked like we had isolation against his direct opponent.

"He's improving his body language to the ball carrier, to let him know where he wants the ball kicked, to let him know that 'I'm going to win this contest'."

In contrast, Tom McDonald played pretty much a lone hand up forward for Melbourne with six goals, including five of his team's seven majors after halftime.

"It was a disappointing day in terms of how we played," Demons coach Simon Goodwin said.

"Probably all three phases weren't to the way we wanted to play.

"I thought Collingwood's pressure around the ball was outstanding, I thought they clearly won the clearances and generated a lot of forward momentum, and from there they won the territory battle and that put us under a lot of pressure.

"So you've got to give credit to Collingwood but probably all phases of our game weren't to the level that we're used to playing."

Collingwood jumped out of the blocks with five of the first six goals, which set the tone for the day.

They led by 19 points at halftime and extended that advantage in each of the two remaining quarters.

Both teams have the bye in round 13.