Magpies down Demons in ugly AFL win


As a spectacle befitting one of the highlights of the AFL season, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley agreed Queen’s Birthday was a letdown.


But given Melbourne often controlled possession, dictated terms and harassed the Magpies out of their comfort zone at the MCG, Buckley was content to bank a 33-point win and no shortage of lessons.

Buckley called it an “honest” game of footy, a grind and an arm wrestle.

But he agreed “ugly” was also a fitting descriptor of Collingwood’s 8.13 (61) to 3.10 (28) triumph, the lowest-scoring match between the two sides since the 1960 grand final.

“There wasn’t a lot of offence,” Buckley said of the tussle that 68,124 bowled up to watch on Monday.

“Today didn’t reach any great heights, but it’s still a learning opportunity for us as a footy team.

“We brought the right roll-your-sleeves-up mentality.”

Buckley joked his side’s eighth win of 2014, which puts them fourth on the ladder at the halfway point of the season, wouldn’t feature on TV program Footy Flashbacks.

“There’s very little perfection in the world. Today was a contest,” he added, lamenting Melbourne’s 120 uncontested marks.

“It was a low-stoppage game. (Given they wanted) to control the footy, we didn’t do a good enough job of preventing them from doing that.

“I do care about the aesthetic of our game.”

It was the Demons’ lowest score since Paul Roos took the reins at the end of a miserable 2013 campaign, and the first time they had been held to three goals or less since 1997.

Buckley said he was a bit surprised the Demons remained so “methodical and measured” late in the game, when they needed to double their score to pinch the win.

Roos suggested his side’s modest haul was a result of the way they “slaughtered the footy”.

“We had enough of the football. We played well enough to score, but when you’re 70 or 80 metres out and you kick it straight to the opposition it’s pretty hard to score,” he said.

“We had opportunities. When we should have gone fast, we went slow.

“When we should have gone slow, we went fast, and that’s part of the education process.”

Fierce pressure from both teams and a preference for one-on-one contests ensured space was at a premium, and turnovers were far too prevalent.

Both sides were guilty of butchering the ball, but the Magpies got better the longer the game went.

Dayne Beams, who along with skipper Scott Pendlebury had been subdued for most of the opening half, booted an all-important goal either side of three-quarter time.

Melbourne continued to press, but managed only three behinds before Jamie Elliott gave the Magpies a 25-point lead and all the breathing room they needed early in the final term.

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