IT WAS a strange game that had a little bit of everything - early signs of a blowout. Potential for a startling comeback. Pressure acts. Big hits. An Irish debutant. Sunshine. Rain.
But at the end of the afternoon, Collingwood stuck to the script and took four points from Fremantle at the MCG.
The Pies won by 29 points - 15.17 (107) to 12.6 (78) - in their 10th straight victory, but not before they led by as much as 40 points in the second quarter and then less than three goals in the third.
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said the game was lost because of an overuse of handballs and the Magpies' dominance at the centre clearances, but was pleased with his players' endeavour.
"The overall picture [was] we were always on the back foot," Lyon said.
"But I thought our effort in the third quarter early when they were walking into some easy goals [and we made some] chase downs from behind I think if you had have been a Docker member or fan watching that you think, 'This team hasn't given up'."
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said there was plenty the Pies were happy with but conceded their consistency across games needed work.
"We're getting exposure to young players, [and] our best players are playing well when the game's up for grabs," Buckley said.
"But we'd be far from happy if we didn't improve from that.
"We've played some really good footy and we've played some footy that gives the opposition a look.
"We've got to remedy that as the season progresses."
Brownlow medalist Dane Swan was dynamic, producing his third consecutive 30 possession-plus game since he missed two with a hamstring. In fact, he cleared 40 for the third time this year with a total of 43.
He was crucial in the third when Fremantle kicked three straight goals to be within 17 points. He finished off with 13 final quarter possessions.
It came after a bizarre first half when the visitors were bereft of scoring opportunities.
They managed two behinds for the first quarter, which left them goalless in the opening stanza for the second time this season.
In the second, it took time for things to improve.
There was a remarkable statistic 10 minutes into the quarter. The Magpies had accumulated 41 possessions in their forward half. Fremantle had racked up one.
The Pies' dominance was summed up when Michael Johnson attempted to run the ball out from full back and was caught front-on by Alex Fasolo.
Fasolo's tackle resulted in a goal to Jackson Paine, which pushed the Pies out to the 40-point lead.
It was a wake-up call for Freo. After the Paine goal, the visitors had three shots at goal in four minutes.
Chris Mayne took their first mark inside 50 at the 16-minute mark, which resulted in their first goal.
Tyson Goldsack went behind the ball for the Pies in an attempt to arrest Freo's sudden surge.
But badly shanked set shots from Zac Clarke and Matthew Pavlich saw opportunities missed, although the former made up for it with a goal before half time and the latter with five for the game.
The margin at half-time was 25 points, which was flattering considering the Magpies had dominated in forward entries 32 to 15.
Lachie Neale was subbed out with a foot problem in the third and Clancee Pearce had his right ankle repeatedly treated, but Fremantle reported no serious injuries.
Goldsack was heavily bumped by Nick Lower in the third quarter but it was Travis Cloke who was subbed out in the final term.
Buckley said Cloke had copped a knock but the move was more structural given it had started raining, and he had also considered subbing out ruckman Darren Jolly given the need to go small.
ESSENDON has come from behind to win its first game at Patersons Stadium since 2008, returning to the top four with a thrilling 24-point win over Fremantle on Saturday night.
The Bombers were staring at their third straight defeat when they fell 17 points behind late in the third quarter, but they kicked six unanswered goals either side of three-quarter time to set up the crucial win.
Key forward Michael Hurley returned to form to kick six goals, including a 50m set shot deep in the fourth quarter to ice the game.
The final score was 17.11 (113) to 14.5 (89), with Fremantle unable to kick a goal in the final term.
Captain Jobe Watson was inspirational with the game on the line, shaking a heavy tag from Ryan Crowley to ...
Fremantle has made four forced changes for Saturday’s clash against Essendon at Patersons Stadium.
Strong-bodied midfielder Nick Lower comes in for his first game of the season, as does Jayden Pitt.
Zac Clarke and Alex Silvagni replace injured ruckman Aaron Sandilands (toe) and defender Zac Dawson (knee).
Stephen Hill is out with an ankle injury, while Hayden Ballantyne misses because of suspension.
Dylan Roberton, Lee Spurr and Michael Walters are the emergencies.
Walters’ selection as an emergency could be the clearest indication that Fremantle’s coaches are ready to give him another shot at AFL after the club had sent him back to Swan Districts for not meeting physical requirements earlier this year.
An initial medical report has indicated that Aaron Sandilands will miss up to 10 weeks after suffering a “turf toe” injury to his right foot during Fremantle’s 12-point win over Richmond at the MCG on Saturday.
Sandilands missed three months of the season last year when he incurred a similar injury to the big toe on his left foot.
The All Australian ruckman arrived back from Melbourne late yesterday and had scans on his right foot last night.
He will consult a specialist to see if surgery is required on the big toe on his right foot. Sandilands did not have to undergo surgery when he injured his left big toe in 2011.
General manager of football operations Chris Bond said that a medical report received today ...
Hayden Ballantyne has been charged with a level two striking offence against Richmond's Chris Newman during the second quarter of Saturday's match at the MCG.
In summary, due to his poor record, his sanction must remain as a one-match penalty, even with an early plea.
Based on the video evidence available and a medical report from the Richmond Football Club, the incident was assessed as intentional conduct (three points), low impact (one point) and body contact (one point). This is a total of five activation points, resulting in a classification of a Level Two offence, drawing 125 demerit points and a one-match sanction.
He has an existing bad record of four matches suspended within the last three years, increasing the ...
ADELAIDE has continued its push for a top-four finish, holding its nerve against a courageous Fremantle to win by 29 points at Patersons Stadium on Saturday.
The Crows kicked the last five goals of the game and will take an 8-2 record into their mid-season bye, winning their fourth match on the road: 17.9 (111) to 12.10 (82).
Midfielders Rory Sloane (33 disposals) and Patrick Dangerfield (32) inspired the win, which appeared unlikely when Fremantle took a three-point lead early in the fourth quarter, giving their team an important 53-30 edge in clearances.
With Fremantle riding a wave of momentum into the final quarter, Sloane took the game by the scruff of the neck, winning 10 possessions and five clearances in ...