Collingwood have endured a dirty night at the MCG, losing to Brisbane and losing five players to injury including captain Scott Pendlebury.
Brisbane feasted on an injury-ravaged Collingwood on Saturday night, thrashing the Magpies by 67 points at the MCG.
Collingwood were close to filling a hospital ward by the end of the night, losing five players to injury and the match 18.15 (123) to 8.8 (56).
The stunning result was the biggest form reversal in Brisbane’s history, after losing to Adelaide by 105 points last week.
Heavily favoured before the match, the Magpies lost Scott Pendlebury (quad) and Jamie Elliot (hamstring) before the first bounce and key defender Ben Reid (hamstring) in the first five minutes.
Magpie injuries continued to mount, with Travis Cloke (ankle) and Dayne Beams (leg) forced out either side of halftime.
The pre-match withdrawals forced the Magpies to make Tony Armstrong their substitute after he played a full VFL match against Geelong earlier in the day.
He was one of Collingwood’s best, playing all but five minutes of the match after Reid’s injury.
But the night belonged to Brisbane, who capitalised through hard running and sharp-shooting.
Ball magnets Tom Rockliff (43), Dayne Zorko (36) and Pearce Hanley (34) combined for a staggering 113 possessions.
Young forward Jonathan Freeman kicked four, with the Lions boasting 11 goalkickers.
Coach Nathan Buckley was powerless to resist Brisbane’s domination, with just one player on the bench for much of the evening.
In each of the first three quarters, the Lions enjoyed streaks of four straight goals, ensuring Collingwood were never able to get close.
The Magpies kicked just 4.3 before quarter-time and 4.4 after it, looking out on their feet as the game wore on.
Collingwood’s defence had a particularly difficult night, with Jack Frost and Marley Williams committing clanger after clanger.
By contrast, the Lions were making it look easy, with a Freeman one-handed contested mark and goal in the third term a highlight.
The Lions have high hopes for Brisbane’s academy product and he showed great promise in his second game.
Coach Justin Leppitsch might feel Collingwood’s injury run denied them making a real statement, having kicked four of the first five goals of the game.
Leppitsch has his own injury concern, with Merrett taken off on a stretcher in the last term.
With Magpie fans streaming out of the MCG early, it remains to be seen how many players Buckley will have left to see out their faltering season.
Buckley said the night was about as bad as it got.
“I’ve been in the caper for about 20 years as a player or coach and I can’t remember a night like it,” he said.
“When things don’t go well, no one feels good about it… but you don’t anticipate to get dealt a hand like we got dealt this evening.”
Leppitsch said the difference between they last-out belting by the Crows and their win was enormous.
“You don’t know what you’re going to get when you rock up to play a game of footy,” he said.
“They had a very depleted side and we were able to take advantage of that.”