Jamie Elliott has kicked four goals in his 150th game to help Collingwood overrun Melbourne by seven points and stamp themselves as a genuine AFL premiership threat.
The lead swung on the last five goals of a pulsating contest at the MCG on Friday night before the Magpies prevailed 15.6 (96) to 13.11 (89) in front of 70,956 fans.
It was Collingwood's 11th consecutive win - and 10th by a margin of less than two goals - in a rollicking first season under Craig McRae, lifting them into second spot on the ladder.
But there is a watch on the fallout, with Will Hoskin-Elliott (hip flexor) substituted out of the game, Nick Daicos (ribs) and Brayden Maynard (ankle/shoulder) also hurt, and Mason Cox set to come under scrutiny for driving his knee up into Max Gawn's stomach at a ruck contest.
Ash Johnson matched Elliott's tally with four goals, including two in the final term.
The fourth-gamer kept his cool to put the Magpies in front from a free kick in the dying stages after being pushed in the back by Harrison Petty.
Jordan De Goey (24 touches, nine clearances) was influential in the middle, Daicos (31 disposals) starred at half-back and hard-working forward Brody Mihocek (two goals) played a key role opposed to Steven May.
Clayton Oliver (42 disposals, 14 clearances) was arguably best afield for Melbourne and Gawn (31, 10) was superb, while Ben Brown and Bayley Fritsch kicked two goals each.
But they couldn't stop an irresistible second-half surge from Collingwood, who trailed by 23 points during the second quarter and kicked seven goals to three after the main break to overpower the reigning premiers.
"This group's got some belief," McRae said.
"We just sort of get ourselves into positions where at three-quarter time there's a few smiles on their faces.
"It's just been our story and I haven't been part of a team like it that gets themselves into situations where they just think, 'Here we go,' and we'll get the job done.
"It's through a lot of trust built in those situations. It's pretty special."
Frustrated Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin conceded his side hadn't made the most of their chances after dominating most of the key statistical indicators.
They had clear advantages in inside-50s (65-41), clearances (52-32) and contested possession (161-139).
"If you're a supporter, if you're a coach, if you're a player you're pretty filthy on that," Goodwin said.
"For large parts of the game we were able to dominate and get the game on our terms.
"But we let ourselves down and in the end Collingwood walk through the door.
"They won critical contests at the end when it mattered but we left hat door ajar.
"To be the team that we want to be, you can't do that.
"You've got to execute better in big moments, and when you've got a team on the ropes you've got to finish them off."
The fuse was lit for a red-hot contest when Ed Langdon branded Collingwood "a bit of a one-trick pony" in a radio interview on Thursday.
The response was physical, with the Melbourne wingman crunched by Maynard in the opening exchanges and immediately set upon by three other Magpies.
Collingwood kept themselves in the contest during the first half with superior efficiency, crafting eight goals from just 18 forward entries to the Demons' 10 from 41.
The Magpies ramped up their pressure in the second half and evened up the midfield contest to drag themselves back into contention.