Sport AFL AFL: Magpies start their season with a big win over Bulldogs
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AFL: Magpies start their season with a big win over Bulldogs

Magpie ruckman Brodie Grundy in full flight at Marvel Stadium on Friday night. Photo: AAP
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Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy says the decreased game time in the revamped AFL this season helped him to a best on ground performance against the Western Bulldogs in the club’s opening win.

The Magpies were dominant in their round one clash at Marvel stadium, taking control early and running out 52 point winners.

“The decrease in game time helps,” Gundy told Channel Seven of his effort. “Someone like me. I like to play in bursts, so the shorter the game, I suppose it helps me.

It’s been a good couple of years building [a team] and we just need to continue.”

The Magpies piled on eight of the first nine majors before the Dogs finally bit back, but the damage had been done as Collingwood ran out 13.8 (86) to 5.4 (34) winners.

It was an impressive first-up display by Nathan Buckley’s side in a contest between two teams widely expected to finish towards the pointy end of the ladder this season.

The Magpies’ midfield masterclass was led by the usual suspects, with skipper Scott Pendlebury (25 disposals) shaking off a health scare and Taylor Adams (26) overcoming a hip injury to play key roles.

Grundy again got the measure of highly-rated Bulldogs youngster Tim English to provide a platform for the Pies clearance advantage (34-21), which included a 15-5 dominance in centre square clearances.

The Pies’ star was almost as effective at ground level as he was in the air, kicking an early goal and finishing with 19 disposals, four clearances and five inside-50s. He had 37 hit-outs to English’s 11.

Wayward goal-kicking prevented Grundy (1.3) having an even bigger impact as Brody Mihocek (three), Josh Daicos and Mason Cox (two each) all kicked multiple majors.

Son-of-a-gun Tyler Brown finished with 15 disposals in a lively AFL debut and set up brother Callum Brown for a first-quarter goal.

Lachie Hunter (21 disposals) and Bailey Smith (23) worked hard but the Bulldogs were ultimately outclassed in the middle, which led to a lop-sided inside-50 count (42-22).

The Bulldogs’ new-look tall forward line wasn’t given a good opportunity to shine.

Mature-age debutant Ben Cavarra booted a goal with his first kick for the Bulldogs.

 -with AAP

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