‘Their season walking off’: Christian Petracca hospitalised in King’s Birthday nightmare

Collingwood reigned supreme in the King’s Birthday clash against Melbourne, a team in contention to stay within striking distance of the top eight.

The 14.5 (89) to 6.15 (51) defeat saw the Pies hold the lead from start to finish, bouncing back from a three-match slide, while a growing list of injuries exacerbates their struggle to rebounding from an 0-3 start to the season.

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Meanwhile, Melbourne have faltered, losing three of their last four games, including a disappointing performance against Fremantle.

The tension reached its peak at the stroke of quarter-time when Christian Petracca received a strong blow to the ribs from an airborne Darcy Moore.

Petracca, clutching his side in agony, was escorted to rooms during the break, with lingering doubts about his ability to continue. Eventually he was taken to hospital by ambulance.

“You can’t help but feel that this is their season to get (Petracca) off the ground here; it’s the reason they score, it’s the reason their 50 forwards make corrections,” David King said during the first break.

“The domino effect; the player replacing him in midfield or up front is nowhere near that level… it’s basically Max Gawn or bust.

The match started with Will Hoskin-Elliott kicking the opening goal in the first minute, after some brilliant defending by Bobby Hill on Melbourne’s Kysaiah Pickett.

Finlay Macrae then doubled Collingwood’s lead, starting well with five disposals in the opening ten minutes.

Melbourne captain Max Gawn and Pickett both hit the post in the first half of the opening half. The Demons continued to squander opportunities, but Nathan Kreuger marked his return to the scoreboard with his first goal since 2022, marked by a stellar strike from Hoskin-Elliott early in the play.

Fans were vocal at the MCG this afternoon, with Collingwood defender Brayden Maynard catching the attention of Demons fans every time he got close to the ball.

The last time the two teams clashed, Maynard was involved in a blowout with Angus Brayshaw that ultimately ended his football career. “I saved a little bit, especially when I have the ball in my hands,” Maynard said.

“I think we all do (feed ourselves), don’t we? We love when fans get involved. It’s all part of the game. If the fans don’t get involved, what’s the game?

Fox Footy’s Leigh Montagna said the defeat, coupled with the injury cloud Petracca now finds itself under, was the last thing Melbourne needed after a good start to the season.

“Melbourne has lost its edge. There is definitely something missing in Melbourne right now,” she said.

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