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Cloke the star as Collingwood steamroll St Kilda

Travis Cloke was the star of the show as Collingwood returned to the top four of the AFL ladder following an 86-point victory over St Kilda at the Etihad Stadium.

Travis Cloke was the star of the show as Collingwood returned to the top four of the AFL ladder following an 86-point victory over St Kilda at the Etihad Stadium. It wasn’t all good news for the Magpies, however, with Nick Maxwell suffering a calf injury and Steele Sidebottom the subject of a report after an alleged elbow. Collingwood trailed by 11 points halfway through the first quarter before midfielders Dayne Beams and Sidebottom helped turn the game around in front of a vocal crowd of 34,855.

St Kilda had no answer for a rampant ‘Pies as they scored eight consecutive goals in the opening half and seven goals without reply in the final quarter to rack up a 21.14 (140) to 8.6 (54) victory. There was no doubt Cloke was Collingwood’s man of the match, with the 27-year old continuing his sensational form this season, clutching 12 marks and kicking five goals in one of his best performances of the campaign so far.

The victory left Collingwood third in the AFL ladder and the ‘Pies will now be hoping to further establish themselves in the top-four over the next couple of weeks with games against Melbourne and Western Bulldogs, although the next few games will be a real test of the squad with Maxwell and Sidebottom now set for extended spell on the sidelines.

Maxwell was forced off the field in the first quarter after appearing to tweak his calf. Further tests have shown the injury is worse than first thought, however, with the 30-year old now likely to miss up to a month of action with the problem. Sidebottom has been handed a three-game ban after the midfielder flew in from the wing to contest the game’s opening bounce and made contact with Maverick Weller’s head, ending the St Kilda player’s game prematurely.

The Magpies were already fielding a heavily changed team following the last-minute withdrawals of 2011 Brownlow medallist Dane Swan with a heel problem and ruckman Brodie Grundy with his back injury. Nathan Brown and Luke Ball were missing from the line-up with their respective injuries, while Jesse White suffered a finger injury in the second quarter of the game.

White, Alex Fasolo and Josh Thomas each kicked two goals as Collingwood racked up eight unanswered efforts to take a 38-point lead early in the second quarter. Nick Riewoldt responded with two as St Kilda looked to keep the margin below 40 points at three-quarter time. The Saints couldn’t stop the inevitable happening, though, and the Magpies ran away with the game in the final quarter by kicking 7.6 to their opponents’ one behind.

While Collingwood are now looking at cementing their top-four position, St Kilda’s dismal losing run showed no sign of ending. With the season now 10 games old, the Saints find themselves struggling near the foot of the table with just three wins and with an intimidating fixture against table-toppers Port Adelaide now ahead of them as they look to turn around their disappointing campaign and prove the betting odds have been too quick to write them off.






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