Magpies make it six straight wins - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies make it six straight wins

By Sam Lienert 03/07/2009 11:27:04 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood key forward Travis Cloke found his best form of the season as the Magpies stretched their winning streak to six with a 35-point AFL victory over Essendon at the MCG on Friday night.

Cloke kicked four goals and set up numerous others, one of a host of positive signs for the Magpies who surged away after a slow start to win 15.12 (102) to 9.13 (67) and maintain their top four berth.

It was Cloke's biggest haul of the season so far, bettering the three he kicked against Fremantle last round, in an upward form curve that will delight Collingwood given he is one of their most important players.

Ruckman Josh Fraser was another star for the `Pies, dominating the hit-outs and kicking a fine snapped goal in the third term after gathering the ball in the ruck.

He would have enjoyed the comprehensive victory he had in his duel with Essendon counterpart Paddy Ryder, who won the Anzac Day Medal as best afield when the sides last met.

The memory of that match, when the Bombers produced a surge of late goals to pip the Magpies by five points, would have made Friday night's comfortable win all the sweeter.

Also pleasing for Collingwood was the continued superb form of midfielders Alan Didak and Dane Swan.

Didak in particular has struck a purple patch over the last month, continually racking up 30-plus possessions and using the ball to great effect, an effort he repeated with 35 touches against the Bombers.

The win sets up another big clash against the Western Bulldogs next Friday night, with the Magpies and Bulldogs the competition's two form sides apart from runaway leaders St Kilda and Geelong.

The Bombers were in charge in the early minutes, but were wasteful in front of goal, kicking 1.3 and another shot out on the full before Collingwood scored.

But the Magpies worked their way into the game late in the quarter, with Cloke setting up a goal for Dale Thomas then kicking one himself to cut the margin to three points at the first change.

With Didak and Swan in charge in the midfield, Collingwood took complete control with a 7.3 to 1.2 second term, Cloke adding two more goals, for a commanding 34-point lead at halftime.

While Essendon fought back to within four goals midway through the third quarter, Collingwood again surged away late in the term.

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse said he was happy with the even contribution of his side.

He praised midfielder Scott Pendlebury, who returned on Friday night after missing just one game with a knee injury, which initially looked likely to keep him out for longer.

"The way he was able to conduct himself in that period to be able to get back was fantastic," Malthouse said.

He said several other players had also battled well to play in the face of illness.

Essendon coach Matthew Knights rued the absence of midfielders Jobe Watson, out injured, and Mark McVeigh, suspended by the club after a late night drinking last weekend.

"We were clearly outplayed, you run into a Collingwood team who were fully loaded, have all their ammunition in," he said.

"They outworked us, particularly through the middle of the ground, I thought they spread into space really well."

Knights said his side was also sloppy in attack.

"We bumbled and fumbled tonight, we didn't go in there with any efficiency or precision," he said.

"We kicked 1.10 from 40m-plus and two out on the full, so when you run at that type of scenario you're going to get hurt by a good football team."

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