Steele Sidebottom inspired Collingwood at the MCG on Sunday night as the Magpies withstood a stiff challenge from Carlton in a 15-point win.
Sixth-placed Collingwood notched their first victory in three weeks and improved their win-loss record to 9-5 with their 13.13 (91) to 11.10 (76) triumph over their traditional rivals.
Both teams will be interested in the results of the match-review panel’s deliberations on Monday after Carlton’s Mitch Robinson and Collingwood’s Dayne Beams were reported for striking incidents in the first and third quarters respectively.
The league’s decision to experiment by staging a blockbuster clash on a Sunday night faces an uncertain future after the two huge rivals drew a crowd of just 40,936 at the MCG.
Sidebottom in his return from suspension was best-afield with two goals and a game-high 33 disposals for the Magpies, while Dane Swan and Scott Pendlebury were also busy in midfield.
Small defender Kade Simpson and onballer Chris Judd were among the better contributors for the brave Blues, who suffered their fifth consecutive loss.
The Magpies’ midfielders were dominant early, led by Pendlebury who booted two of his side’s six goals in the opening term. Collingwood led 6.3 (39) to 2.2 (14) at quarter-time.
Onballers Robinson and Judd sparked the Blues who worked their way back into the game with a four-goal second term. Collingwood were ahead 8.8 (56) to 6.3 (39) at halftime
Sidebottom burst through two tackles to kick a fine goal on the run with less than a minute remaining in the third term as the Magpies steadied to take a 23-point lead into three-quarter time, 10.12 (72) to 7.7 (49). In a tight third term, the Magpies had outscored Carlton 2.4 to 1.4.
The Blues kicked four of the first six goals of the final term to trail by nine points.
A crucial kicking error from Carlton defender Ed Curnow led to Sidebottom’s third goal with less than three minutes remaining, as Blues’ coach Mick Malthouse immediately took Curnow from the field and handed out some advice via the headphones.
Collingwood travel to Gold Coast to play the Suns on Saturday while the Blues will host St Kilda at Etihad Stadium the following day.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said the Magpies’ ball use was poor in the second term.
“We played some really good footy and probably got a bit fancy through that second quarter,” Buckley said.
“We probably thought about filling our boots rather than just playing the way we want to play.
“We created a bit of momentum for the opposition and then had to arrest that through the second half.”
Buckley said forward Jamie Elliott would have scans on Monday on his injured hamstring.
Malthouse said the Blues paid dearly for a slow start, trailing by 25 points at quarter-time before outscoring the home side nine goals to seven in the last three quarters.
“I thought we really troubled them,” Malthouse said.
“In the end probably class beat us. They had too much of it.”