Hawthorn had been in so-so form. The Pies were hot enough to dismember the Swans in Sydney. Thus, there was a feeling that this game might be a close encounter - truly an alien concept for these sides.
See a gallery from the game here
For the Hawks own Collingwood, in the same way that Geelong has owned Hawthorn. If the Pies had gained belief in the previous fortnight, Hawthorn gained something more ominous for this game: Luke Hodge, Lance Franklin and Grant Birchall.
This trio made major contributions to the continued domination of Collingwood. Franklin banged through impressive goals, albeit he had some good fortune, while Hodge did his usual shotcalling from behind - and in front - of the ball and put on a kicking clinic.
But Birchall's performance was actually the most remarkable, considering he had not played at any level since round 13. To three-quarter-time, the defender had touched the ball 21 times and been among the best afield. His performance was as much a credit to the Hawthorn conditioning staff and training regime as Birchall's own natural gifts.
Hawthorn's victories over the Pies have been built on its offensive power - it has not failed to reach 18 goals or more since these teams played in the storied preliminary final of 2011. Collingwood simply can't stop the Hawks from scoring.
This time, Jarryd Roughead was subdued and beaten (mainly by Nathan Brown), but this had barely any effect on the game, since Franklin was damaging, Cyril Rioli astonishing in spurts and Isaac Smith crept forward to boot three, with Luke Breust and Jack Gunston playing important parts in that Hawthorn front half that James Hird called ''frightening'' a fortnight earlier.
The other difference lay in disposal skills. Collingwood's was some distance beneath the Hawks overall. The Pies were more or less even in contested balls and tackled well enough to be in the game, but they don't have either Hawthorn's foot skills or a defensive method to stop them.
Hawthorn's edge was consistent, as each team took turns at surging. The Pies were actually a bit closer than the scores suggest. But they were always coming back from a margin of around five to six goals to close the gap. When they pushed hard but couldn't score a goal in the third quarter, the game was more or less done.
Collingwood's best, as per usual, were in their elite midfielders, headed by Dane Swan, Scott Pendlebury and Dayne Beams. New ruckman Brodie Grundy was astonishing for a fourth gamer. Travis Cloke booted three in the first half on Brian Lake, but wasn't given the same opportunities thereafter. The Pies had an edge in the clearances and, in the first half, scored quite well from stoppages.
The Hawks charged out to a lead of 34 points in the middle of the second quarter, on the back of some Rioli genius - to say that he ''created'' goals for Smith and Jack Gunston is an understatement. For Smith, he won a ground ball, evaded and ran about 60 metres and then handballed over the top for an open goal. For Gunston, he weaved through some hapless Pies and sent a visionary lateral pass that set up an easy shot from 25 metres.
Franklin's consecutive goals - from a pair of marking-contest frees that had the Pies fans howling - put the Hawks out to a lead of nearly six goals.
Collingwood, seemingly on the brink of another severe beating by the brown and golds, responded in the minutes before half-time, as Swan's pace set up a Beams' running goal, O'Brien drilled one and then Blair found Cloke for his third goal of the half just on the siren.
Cloke's goal on half-time triggered a melee, in which about half of each side participated. The game seemed alive to this point, though one did not think the Pie challenge would translate into a victory. So it proved.
Hawthorn led at quarter-time by 11 points following a fast-paced opening, in which the Hawks had more possessions but the Pies remained close by dint of efficiency in their forward line, where Cloke booted his team's two first goals.
Brent Macaffer, fresh from his smothering of Sydney's Kieren Jack, was sent to Sam Mitchell, who has regularly dismantled Collingwood at the stoppages. Mitchell remained productive - on the outside of the contest mainly - but it was Brad Sewell and Jordan Lewis who did more harm overall.
Collingwood clearly had an issue down back, with both Franklin and the Hawthorn smalls able to find space. Franklin was dangerous on the lead and too slick for Keeffe, while Rioli, Breust and Brendan Whitecross all scored.
The Pies were out-possessed early by a significant margin, but they were able to score three times from congested situations in their front half, twice marking near the top of the goal square (Cloke and Jamie Elliott) from quick centred kicks from Swan and Luke Ball respectively.
While the Pies weren't up to Hawthorn's skill level, the performance of their young ruckman Brodie Grundy in his fourth game was remarkable. Grundy's ability to compete at ground level for a big man is elite, as he showed again, improving further on his output against the Swans and was competitive in ruck contests.
The term ''assist'' is inadequate for describing how Cyril Rioli set up crucial second-term goals for Isaac Smith and Jack Gunston. Smith received a handball over the top after Rioli won a contest, evaded and ran about 60 metres with the ball, while Gunston received a wonderful low pass after Rioli won a ground ball, kept his feet and weaved around some Pies.
The crowd of 71,533 was surprising, given that the game was being spoken of as near sell-out, with only 3000 general public tickets remaining on Thursday evening. Did members of various type stay away, or did the slightly wild weather scare the theatregoers? These heavily-sold but far from capacity crowds are becoming regular events.