MITCH Wallis’s task of minding Scott Pendlebury seemed to get a whole lot tougher at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Collingwood quickly banged through the first three goals and Brownlow winner Adam Cooney, one of Wallis’s midfield mentors, had been substituted out with a torn hamstring.
But it was Pendlebury and his blinding boots which were left chasing the young Dog when Wallis steadied and goaled moments after resurgent captain Ryan Griffen opened his side’s account.
And it sparked a run of 11 out of 16 goals as Brendan McCartney’s new breed of pups finally made good on president Peter Gordon’s pre-season promise of the Dogs being the ‘danger’ of 2014, snapping a five-year drought against the Magpies and beating a top-four side for the first time under the third-year coach.
Liam Jones enjoyed the best of his 64 AFL games with legend Wayne Carey lauding his new-found urgency and ability to keep his feet.
Jones booted 4.2 — his second after a wonderful contested mark against Jack Frost — but it was his defensive efforts which thrilled fans. The maligned forward laid a career-best six tackles, twice rewarded after inspirational chases on Clinton Young and Heritier Lumumba.
Tom Liberatore stood up to ignite the first-quarter revival, boasting five clearances, four tackles and seven contested disposals by the first change.
The young gun finished with a game-high 34 disposals as he enters the All-Australian conversation with his grunt work helping Griffen get off the leash with the slick midfielder towelling up star stopper Brent Macaffer before fading under the duress of a sore leg.
Speedster Jason Tutt got on the end of a damaging Wallis handball to kick his first goal and coolly slotted the matchwinner as the Dogs young guns stood firm.
Easton Wood affected a turnover at half-back and combined with Marcus Bontempelli who found Tutt, three components of the next generation killing off Collingwood for good.
Then there was Jack Macrae, who with one of his 11 third-quarter disposals cleverly backed off a contest, had the ball fed to him and from the boundary screwed the ball to the hotspot with magnificent vision. It was met by Bontempelli, who marked unopposed and booted his first AFL goal as No. 6 and 4 draft picks from the past two years combined in a special moment to put the Dogs 13 points clear.
The pair combined in the previous quarter when Macrae’s tackle on Sam Dwyer won a free kick and he found the cousin of Nick Dal Santo.
Bontempelli hooked that set-shot but the Dogs’ swarm of forward pressure won the ball back from the kick out and Koby Stevens, another emerging midfielder with forward weapons, snapped the second of his three-first half goals.
And for the litter of emerging litter of emerging guns, Jordan Roughead was as important as any holding the fort.
The full-back kept Travis Cloke to just four second-half disposals, a dominance sparked by a chase-down tackle as the Magpies goalkicker ambled towards goal late in the second term.