A home game on the big stage of Etihad Stadium wasn’t enough to inspire a win for Werribee, which went down to Collingwood by 32 points on Saturday.
In a reversal of the two sides’ previous encounter, the Tigers jumped out to a 20-point second-quarter advantage before the Magpies took control of the game to lead it by three points at the main break.
Mindful of not being caught on the back foot after having to pull back a 47-point deficit in the round-five clash at Wangaratta, Werribee made best early use of the fast deck and controlled conditions at the Docklands venue.
A free-flowing first term characterised by plenty of end-to-end play had the home side on top at the first change, and when Matt Munro kicked his second and his side’s sixth at the two-minute mark of the second term, the Tigers looked to be cruising.
But the Pies hit back emphatically to kick five of the next six to half time, a bit of left-foot brilliance from the pocket from Joe Maishman to set up Lachlan Hansen’s third goal providing the only respite.
Jed Anderson begun the third quarter as he had the second to kick his second and wrest back the lead for Werribee, but it would be the last time it would be in front for the match.
By three-quarter time, Collingwood was out to a 16-point advantage, and when the Tigers briefly regained the momentum to close within a kick early in the final term, the Pies responded with the final four goals of the game to see livewire forward Kayle Kirby finish with five.
Coach John Lamont was disappointed his side was unable to make the most of its early advantage.
“It was a good experience for the boys playing on one of the AFL venues, but unfortunately, Collingwood were too good for us today,” Lamont said.
“We had that 20-point lead early in the second quarter, but we just failed to capitalise on our opportunities and didn’t use the ball well enough.
“Tactically, a couple of things changed. Collingwood put an extra man behind the ball, and we just weren’t able to use the ball well enough nor defend well enough when they maintained possession.
“We didn’t play well enough, and we didn’t kick the ball enough. We spoke about it before the game, that we needed to kick the ball, and we just didn’t do it enough. We over-possessed the ball and over-handballed.”
While neither one will remember the result with much fondness, Dane McFarlane and Matthew Hanson were both among Werribee’s best in their 50th VFL games, McFarlane providing his trademark run out of defence and Hanson prolific with his link-up play in the middle through the first half.
Ben McKay provided an important defensive presence, finishing with a team-high 11 marks, while 18-year-old Western Jet Tristan Xerri made a stellar debut as he shouldered the ruck duties to finish with 21 hitouts.
Harry Boyd also performed solidly on debut as a key defender and rotating through the ruck.
Injuries to skipper Michael Sodomaco and midfielder Dom Brew didn't help the Tigers' cause through the second half, and both players will need to be assessed during the week to determine the extent of the damage.
Werribee will now look to make the most of an eight-day break as it prepares to take on an in-form Williamstown at Burbank Oval on Sunday, a game it must win if it is to ensure it retains its spot in the top eight.
Werribee: 4.1 7.2 9.3 11.4 (70)
Collingwood: 2.5 7.5 11.7 15.12 (102)
Werribee: L. Hansen 3, M. Munro 2, T. Ellard 2, J. Anderson 2, N. Buykx, J. Corbett
Collingwood: K. Kirby 5, M. Cox 2, L. Keeffe 2, T. Broomhead, J. White, M. Lynch, C. Brown, C. Mayne, J. Daicos
Werribee: D. McFarlane, T. Xerri, M. Hanson, B. McKay, L. Hansen, J. Anderson
Collingwood: J. Aish, M. Hore, K. Kirby, G. Borthwick, T. Broomhead, J. Smith