Richmond are staring into the AFL abyss after Collingwood opened them up in an 38-point win at the MCG.
Magpies captain Scott Pendlebury bounced back from a quiet game against Geelong with a best-afield performance in the 16.14 (110) to 10.12 (72) victory.
The Friday night loss in wet conditions leaves Richmond in all sorts of trouble with one win from four games.
Only two teams in the last five seasons have rebounded from a 1-3 start to make the finals.
And one of those was Carlton, who finished ninth last year and then went into the top eight when the AFL expelled Essendon over the supplements scandal.
The Magpies were also 1-2 going into this match and the heat was always going to be on the losers.
Richmond came into this season with great expectations after returning to the finals last year, but there are now severe questions about their credentials.
They were competitive enough – at halftime they only trailed the inside 50m count by two – but Collingwood used the ball much better.
The Tigers also had only three goals to three-quarter time – two of them to first-gamer Sam Lloyd.
They at least avoided a calamity by kicking seven goals to six in the last term.
Pendlebury’s 24-disposal performance was also in marked contrast to his counterpart Trent Cotchin.
Last week, the Magpies captain struggled to shake a tag from Geelong’s Cam Guthrie.
As Pendlebury rallied, this time it was Cotchin’s turn to struggle against some tight attention from Brent Macaffer.
Cotchin only had 13 possessions – his lowest return in a match since 2010.
Macaffer is on a roll, having done well last weekend when he ran with Geelong star Steve Johnson.
Adding to Richmond’s problems, key forward Ty Vickery barely touched the ball and was apparently injured when he was subbed off at halftime.
But in more good news for Collingwood, out-of-sorts midfielder Dane Swan showed improvement with 27 possessions and a goal.
There was plenty of pre-game attention on Collingwood key forward Travis Cloke, who played his 200th game, and Richmond’s main target Jack Riewoldt.
But the greasy conditions helped ensure the two star had a minimal impact on the game.
Riewoldt kicked two goals in the last term and Cloke was kept goalless for the second week in a row.
Tigers defender David Astbury played on Cloke and was their best player.
Sam Lloyd kicked three goals for Richmond in his AFL debut.