The Western Bulldogs have handed finals-bound Collingwood a reality check, turning in their best performance of the AFL season for an eight-point win.
The tough and sharp Bulldogs were well worth their fourth win of the season, snapping a month-long losing streak with a 16.10 (106) to 15.8 (98) victory.
Collingwood stayed in contention all day and threatened at the last, but Jason Tutt kicked truly with the biggest kick of his young career to wrap up the match for the Bulldogs.
The match was played at a frantic pace and showed no signs of producing a classic after 15 minutes, with heavy favourites Collingwood leading three goals to nil.
But the Bulldogs clearly aspired to more against the premiership-chasing Magpies and responded well.
Ryan Griffin, in one of his best games since taking the captaincy, Mitch Wallis, Liam Jones and Koby Stevens contributed goals as the Bulldogs took a one-point lead to the first change.
Of concern was the loss of Adam Cooney to a hamstring strain, but the injection of substitute Daniel Giansiracusa only aided the Bulldogs’ attack.
Both sides were committed to fast-moving football, meaning plenty of bounces and tackles as the shoot-out continued.
Collingwood kicked three goals in five minutes to return to the lead but first-year defender Tom Langdon gifted Stevens a goal to get the Bulldogs back on terms.
Powered by the gutsy Tom Liberatore, the Bulldogs were better with the ball on the ground, find enterprising routes to goal all match.
Conversely, the Magpies preferred to attack by air, with three second quarter goals to Travis Cloke keeping them in the hunt.
Behind by a point at half-time, Collingwood sacrificed ruckman Brodie Grundy for the run of debutant Tim Broomhead, who set up Jamie Elliot for a goal with his first kick.
Elliot had his fourth 30 seconds later, restoring parity after roving the pack and volleying home.
But from that point the Magpies looked a beaten team, conceding the next three goals to be 20 points behind with less than 10 minutes remaining.
Cloke then fired a shot with his fifth goal of the day, and captain Scott Pendlebury put the Magpies within seven points in time-on.
Collingwood had awoken, and when Cloke slotted his sixth with two minutes remaining they threatened to pinch it but Tutt’s major ensured it was the Dogs’ day.