The Perth crowd were stunned to silence after Collingwood Magpies tall forward Mason Cox’s brilliant goalscoring blitz in the first quarter at Optus Stadium on Saturday evening.
The West Coast Eagles got off to an ideal start in the elimination final, with Jack Darling slotting the opening goal of the match.
But Cox immediately responded by kicking three consecutive goals in less than five minutes, adding to his stellar finals resume.
The 211cm American was destructive in the Eagles’ defensive 50m, claiming three contested marks and converting each of the subsequent free kicks.
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The onslaught was reminiscent of Cox’s iconic performance against the Richmond Tigers in the 2018 finals series.
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Richmond legend Matthew Richardson told Channel 7: “You get it in there and they’re shaky, especially when you’re as tall as what Mason Cox is.
“He’s getting one-out. (Eagles defender Tom) Barrass is nervous, he’s absolutely got anxiety right now. He’s grabbing at him, he doesn’t know what to do.”
Western Bulldogs great Luke Darcy responded: “Get a load of the swagger and the strut. The Big American loves the big stage.”
Collingwood teammate Taylor Adams then booted a fourth major to give the visitors a 16-point lead at quarter time.
Three-time premiership player Terry Wallace told AFL Nation: “This is the perfect start for Collingwood. Away from home, jumped the Eagles and silenced the crowd.”
Fox Sports commentator Brenton Speed tweeted: “Revolutionary coaching from Nathan Buckley … doesn’t take Mason Cox off after kicking one or even two goals in a row … and he has 3 in quick time! This might catch on!”
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At halftime, Melbourne great Garry Lyon said on Fox Footy: “Big Mason Cox turning it on again.
“You couldn’t get the ball to him enough; he looked as though he was going to mark every single time.”
Brisbane Lions legend Jonathan Brown cheekily responded: “Let’s not worry about the midfielders. It’s all about the big forwards tonight.
“How good is footy when the forwards are dominating at either end.”
Cox finished the match with five marks, six disposals and a tackle.
Although the Eagles had won all of their seven matches in Perth this season, the 2018 premiers were eliminated after suffering a one-point defeat on Saturday.
Collingwood will take on the Geelong Cats in next weekend’s semi-final.