‘Not as bad it seems’ after Pies crush Suns
The cryptic message on the Collingwood banner pre-game read: "It's never as good or bad as it seems".
In the past month, it has seemed the bad couldn't get much worse for the Magpies as the team navigated an injury list as long as a fast bowler's run up that has threatened to thwart the team's top-four ambitions.
Only one win in the previous five games had seen the Magpies slide from second to sixth on the ladder.
But Collingwood will be hoping the good is as it seems - and will be a sign of more to come - after the Magpies gave their spluttering form a shot in the arm with a confidence and percentage-boosting 69-point victory in a must-win clash against last-placed Gold Coast Suns at the MCG on Sunday.
Magpies coach Nathan Buckley this week refused to use injuries as an excuse for the team's performances, arguing they should be performing better with the players they had available.
They backed him up with their biggest win of the season, highlighted by some midfield brilliance from Adam Treloar, a four-goal haul from Will Hoskin-Elliott and more ruck gold from Brodie Grundy.
The signs looked ominous for Collingwood when the Suns kicked the opening two goals of the game in the first four minutes, while the Magpies didn't post their first major until almost mid-way through the term.
It was Treloar who delivered that first goal off a long run as the midfield star sparked his team into action - and it was all one-way from there.
The Magpies dined out on the Suns as Treloar (35 disposals) starred alongside Steele Sidebottom (27 disposals), Jack Crisp (30 disposals), Scott Pendlebury (24 disposals and 10 tackles), while Grundy had 43 hit-outs in his battle with Jarrod Witts (27).
Even with the match well in the bag, Chris Mayne summed up the team's eagerness at the contest when he copped a heavy hit from Peter Wright on the final siren gunning for the ball.
The spotlight has been shining brightly on the form of Cox, who many pundits believe has been lucky to retain his spot in the senior team - and perhaps only saved by the club's lengthy injury list.
Cox kicked 18 goals in the first 11 games of the season, but was without a major in the previous two games.
The signs from the big American had been encouraging in the opening half, with an impressive mark on the lead and goal in the first quarter.
But his bid to find more form was curtailed when he was forced out of the game in the second half with an eye injury.
There were some flashes of Billy brilliance from Magpies' small forward Jamie Elliott in his 100th game.
After a bumpy ride through injury to the ton, Elliott celebrated the milestone with two goals and seven marks, highlighted by a trademark snap near the goals in the opening quarter and some impressive leads
It took Hoskin-Elliott almost 45 minutes for his first touch in the match - but he made sure it counted.
Taking the ball outside 50m on a sharp angle on the boundary, Hoskin-Elliott backed his chances for a shot at goal and delivered - after a short wait for confirmation from a score review.
He followed with another three majors to finish as the team's leading goal scorer after a slow start.
The Suns' miserable season continued as their losing streak stretched to 15 games with the heavy loss to the Magpies.
But one encouraging signs remained the form of you g key forward Ben King. After a four-goal haul against Essendon last week, the 19-year-old followed with another bag of three goals against the Magpies in just his 11th game for the Suns.
COLLINGWOOD 4.4 10.6 16.8 18.12 (120)
GOLD COAST 3.2 5.2 6.3 8.3 (51)
Collingwood: Hoskin-Elliott 4, Varcoe 2, Elliott 2, Sidebottom 2, Mihocek 2, Treloar, Brown, Cox, Thomas, Grundy, Pendlebury
Gold Coast: King 3, Sexton 3, Day, Martin
Collingwood: Treloar, Grundy, Sidebottom, Pendlebury, Crisp, Hoskin-Elliott, Mihocek
Gold Coast: Lukosius, Miles, Ballard, Miller, Sexton, Swallow, King
Collingwood: Cox (eye)
Gold Coast: Witts (knee)
Umpires: Dalgleish, Gavine, Glouftsis
Official crowd: 33,577 at the MCG
3 - Adam Treloar
2 - Brodie Grundy
1 - Steele Sidebottom
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