Collingwood claimed outright ownership of the AFL competition lead with another imperious performance to dismantle Fremantle by 36 points at Subiaco Oval on Friday night.
The in-form Magpies piled on seven goals in the first and third terms to blow away the challenging Dockers before easing to a fifth straight convincing victory 20.13 (133) to 15.7 (97).
Travis Cloke booted five goals up front but it was yet another all-round performance by Collingwood that prove to be the underlining key to success.
For the third consecutive week the Magpies had 13 different goalkickers with Alan Didak (three) and Cameron Wood (two) the only two players to join Cloke in kicking multiples.
Luke Ball, playing in his 150th game, said total team contribution is invaluable on what he declared the hardest road trip in the AFL at the moment.
“When you can spread the load like that and not only with the goals just all over the ground, through the midfield and defence,” he told Grandstand.
“It certainly helps when you’re not relying on one guys to do all the work.
“It’s not something we focus on but it’s something that’s holding us in good stead.”
The convincing triumph adds to Collingwood’s growing list of massive winnings margins of 64, 65, 53, 66 in its past four games and improves its season record to 7-1.
That record is sure to be tested with a blockbuster clash with Geelong scheduled for next Friday night at the MCG.
Dane Swan was again irrepressible for the Pies in the midfield, racking up 31 touches and had good company with Ben Johnson, Scott Pendlebury and Ball amongst eight Collingwood players with 20-plus disposals.
After a much-hyped build-up, Fremantle’s rising stars were found out under the big lights of Friday night football and in front of the club’s largest ever crowd (41,624) against a side other than West Coast.
Mature-age rookie Michael Barlow continued his amazing season with a 31-possession display and 14 tackles, but found it difficult to find help as the Dockers struggled to get the ball inside their attacking 50.
The likes of Stephen Hill and Anthony Morabito, two of the Dockers’ 12 players with under 50 games of experience, acquitted themselves solidly but Fremantle had no answer to Collingwood’s seemingly endless list of stars across the park.
Towering ruckman Aaron Sandilands was the clear stand-out for the Dockers, amassing 43 hit-outs, 25 disposals and two goals as he and midfield partner Ryan Crowley almost single handedly kept their side in the contest in the second term.
Dockers Defender Paul Duffield said the club tried not too build the occasion up too much in the lead-up to the match.
“We weren’t thinking too much about the result as such, we are very process driven,” he said.
“It’s about getting the things we have to get right… That’s the way we have been at the moment, keep it nice and simple.
“It’s worked pretty well so far, but at the same time we will learn a lot out of tonight’s experience.”
The Pies shot out to a four-goal lead at quarter time with a flurry of quick goals in the shadows of the first break from Cloke, Didak and Dane Beams.
To make matter worse, the home side lost key tall Luke McPharlin to a knee injury but still managed to get within a straight kick after booting four of the first five majors in the second term.
Holding only a 10-point lead at the main break, Collingwood again started the better and continued to kick easy six-pointers from the goalsquare as its efficient rebound out of defence split apart the Fremantle zone.
In the blink of an eye the visitors were up by 41 points at the last change and the tired Dockers had no chance of a miracle comeback with a man down.
Collingwood: 20.13 (133) – T Cloke 5, A Didak 3, C Wood 2, B Johnson, B Macaffer, D Beams, D Swan, J Anthony, L Ball, L Davis, S O’Bree, S Pendlebury, S Sidebottom.
Fremantle: 15.7 (97) – A Sandilands 2, H Ballantyne 2, M Pavlich 2, P Hasleby 2, R Crowley 2, S Hill 2, A Silvagni G Ibbotson, M De Boer.