Collingwood characterized themselves as a serious contender for the AFL Finals by inflicting a third straight defeat on the current Prime Minister Melbourne in a Queen’s Birthday classic.
After finishing 17th last season, the Magpies go bye 8-5 and into the top eight after a memorable 26-point win in front of 76,059 fans at the MCG.
Collingwood was down 20 points to overcome out-of-shape Demons, who were without suspended star Steven May after his infamous fight with teammate Jake Melksham.
Only inaccurate kicks kept the Magpies from taking the lead early as Melbourne prepared to recover from a fortnight of terror, both on and off the field.
The Demons led from the start of the first quarter until Collingwood star Brody Mihoceck scored his third goal seven minutes from time.
Craig McRae’s team would never give up their lead from there, winning 12.10 (82) to 8.8 (56) in one of the season’s games, adding six goals to one in the final quarter.
Fans began chanting “Collingwood” in unison as Jamie Elliott put the finishing touches to his fourth straight win by scoring a goal with a minute to go.
The Magpies were goalless in the fourth quarter after easy opportunities missed by Jordan De Goey, Beau McCreery and Jack Ginnivan.
American Mason Cox came to life with a third quarter for the ages to help turn the tables in Collingwood’s favor.
In scenes reminiscent of his famous 2018 final preliminary performance, Cox kicked a runaway goal to earn a monstrous roar from the pro-Magpies crowd.
Cox then took two contested marks on defense to thwart the Demons’ damaging 50-point innings.
Mihoceck was Collingwood’s constant in attack, finishing with four goals in the best display on the field.
Melbourne Brownlow Medal contender Clayton Oliver ran early, collecting 27 first-half possessions, 16 of them in the opening period, and finished with 43 to win the Neale Daniher Trophy.
The Demons have major injury problems as captain Max Gawn spent long periods on the bench, quarterback Harrison Petty was evaluated after a blow to the head, while rookie Daniel Turner was replaced with a concussion.
Gawn played the game but was clearly sore as young Luke Jackson did most of the ruck work in the last quarter when the All-Australian was used forward.
Melbourne is back in action against the Brisbane Lions on Thursday night to open the 15th round, while Collingwood will host the GWS at the MCG on June 26.
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