Round 3 – Sydney v Collingwood Preview: Battle of the Slow Starters!
Both teams enter Friday night’s game zip and two and are desperate for their first win of the season.
Sydney were gallant in last week’s grand final rematch, but even with Buddy’s last quarter heroics, they still fell short of the reigning premiers.
Dawson, Foote and Sinclair come in for the omitted Cunningham and Laidler, whilst Tippett is out with yet again another injury. A quick note on Tippett: I love his work when he’s on the field but boy is he injury prone. It makes you wonder whether he’s worth that big fat pay check. I’m sure Longmire would again be frustrated to see him sitting on the fence in a must win game for his club.
Sydney have a long injury list and has lacked the fire power up forward, but the forwards they do have on the park should prove a handful for Buckley’s inexperienced backline.
Parker and Hannebery have been struggling for form but champion players like these two don’t stay down for long.
Last week the Pies probably should have got the chocolates against Richmond but lacked the scoreboard pressure. Collingwood have been the most inaccurate team of 2017 converting only 41% of shots on goal.
In response, Buckley has dropped Blair and Aish, both omissions warranted with Blair having a hapless start to 2017 and Aish struggling at the best of times. They make way for the return of Varcoe, who’s coming off suspension (did he really deserve a week?) and Greenwood, who makes Collingwood’s midfield deeper than James Packer’s pockets!
But neither of them are the inclusion that Collingwood so desperately crave. Their forward line is pleading for the return of Elliot. A small but versatile forward who is a nightmare for any defender and on top of that is one of the most accurate kicks in the competition. His return may have a direct effect on the length of Buckley’s coaching career.
It’s not breaking news to say the pressure is mounting on Nathan Buckley. Many people have picked him to be the first coach to get the sack in 2017. And unfortunately, the headlines are only going to get more severe when the Pies go 0-3. The Pies will give this one a red hot crack, but Sydney will prove to be too strong in their home town.
Congrats to Buddy Franklin on 250!
Sydney by 23 points.