Magpies off to a flyer as they cut down Giants

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There was no need for any late-game heroics this time for Collingwood.

The AFL’s expert escape artists collared Greater Western Sydney with five first-quarter goals, and never took their foot off the pedal to cruise to a 65-point victory at the MCG that ensures they end round nine on top of the ladder.

Collingwood’s Mason Cox taps the ball in the ruck against Matt Flynn.Credit: Getty Images

In a match lacking doubt about the result from a long way out; American Pie Mason Cox did like only he can to keep the Collingwood faithful entertained.

The bespectacled 211-centimetre giant was comfortably one of the best afield as the Magpies’ No.1 ruckman in Darcy Cameron’s continued absence, and in just his second match back from a haematoma and ruptured spleen.

Cox had his way with Giants rival Matt Flynn and makeshift big man Harry Himmelberg, winning the hit-out battle and adding nine towering marks, on top of two goals, including a thumping 50-metre-plus strike.

But there were also the usual Cox antics: a finger-point celebration after his goal – coach Craig McRae loved it – his trademark ‘jack-in-the-box’ approach while manning the mark, and even a stare down on Nick Haynes after a third-quarter mark.

Dad Phil tweeted up a storm from Texas, too, while the American flag fittingly made an appearance in the crowd.

Jordan De Goey was the other dominant force behind Collingwood’s opening-half masterclass, darting through the centre and dodging hapless Giants as he set up a series of scores.

Jordan De Goey proved a key figure for the Magpies.Credit: Getty Images

Cox and De Goey ripped the game apart, but had no shortage of allies, with Nick Daicos (41 disposals) experiencing another dose of leather poisoning, brother Josh prominent again, and Tom Mitchell and Steele Sidebottom excellent as well.

The margin, if anything, flattered GWS, who never threatened throughout the evening and had few winners outside Tom Green and ex-skipper Stephen Coniglio.

Jesse Hogan made the most of limited opportunities to kick three goals, but first-year coach Adam Kingsley has a mountain of work ahead to get his side out of the bottom four.

Fellow flag contenders Brisbane are the only team this year to get the better of the Pies, who followed that defeat with narrow wins over St Kilda (six), Essendon (13) and Adelaide (one).

Jack Ginnivan enjoys the moment on Sunday.Credit: AFL Photos

Set-shot snap show

Carlton are doing their best to give the around-the-body set shot a bad name, but Collingwood did their bit to promote the technique on Sunday.

Ex-Giant Bobby Hill and Jamie Elliott made no mistake from opposite pockets in the opening term, while Jack Ginnivan dropped his chance to have his own set shot but also kicked truly from a snap shot after quickly recovering.

The Magpies are unlikely to give away any secrets to their arch-rival, especially ahead of their round-10 clash, but the Blues’ forwards could do worse than watch how their black-and-white peers get it done.

Resurgent Cox on song

Former Magpies big man Max Lynch’s wish to be traded to Hawthorn two years ago potentially saved Mason Cox’s AFL career – at Collingwood at the minimum.

Cox was playing mostly as a forward in 2021 under then-coach Nathan Buckley with lacklustre results, including eight goals in only seven games that year while averaging less than 10 disposals and four marks.

The Pies had Brodie Grundy, Darcy Cameron, Lynch and Cox – all 200 centimetres or taller – as well as Aiden Begg, and there was genuine uncertainty about the American’s future.

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir rang Cox during that year’s trade period, given Rory Lobb was keen to return to the Giants at that stage, but Lynch left for the Hawks, Lobb stayed at the Dockers, and Cox re-signed for one year in late October.

Nineteen months on, with Grundy a Demon and Cameron still nursing a knee injury, Cox was Collingwood’s No.1 ruckman on Sunday, and continued his resurgence under Buckley’s successor, Craig McRae.

Cox was one of the best players afield, amassing 13 disposals, four clearances and a booming goal from beyond 50 metres in the first half (which he followed with hands on hips and a stone-cold finger point).

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