AFL Round 12 – Collingwood v Western Bulldogs (Floreat Pica): And…..?


At half time, as I queued to buy coffee for my mate and my daughter, with whom I had gone to Docklands Stadium, I thought to myself how lucky I was to be doing the Horsbroughs rather than the Danny Roach votes. I was going to be spoiled for choice but Luke who is doing the DRs was facing a situation where at least 20 of the players did not deserve Roach votes (The sub had not been made yet, and Lynch was underperforming). By the end of the game Luke would have had lots of candidates and my triumphalist mood had disappeared. We should have won by a lot more!

The Magpies were terrific in the first half of the match. They played hard football with great intensity. They forced turnovers from the Bulldogs while maintaining control of the ball when in possession. They kicked and passed accurately, scored with ease and defended with skill. Minson broke even with Jolly and may have even slightly beaten him but it didn’t matter because our midfielders (Swan and Pendles in particular) won all the clearances. Travis kicked straight and had four goals by half time.

The defence deserves special mention. Heath Shaw marked everything that came towards him and initiated attacks. Ben Sinclair looked much better as a defender than he ever did in attack. Paul Seedsman started in defence but won kicks all over the ground. Marley Williams was solid, courageous and much improved in his disposal.

Apart from the Geelong game they were probably the two best quarters the Pies have played all season. If we had played with that level of intensity against Essendon and Freo we would be 10/2 rather than 8/4 this morning. At half time we were 53 points ahead and our pathetic percentage had reached 110%.

The second half might as well have been a different game. Suddenly Collingwood were the team fumbling and turning over the ball. Suddenly the Pies players were the ones whose kicks fell short, whose handballs were intercepted and who were brought down in tackles. To be fair part of the turnaround was due to the Bulldogs lifting their game, coach Brendan McCartney must have said some powerful words during the break.

One of the radio commentators suggested that this was a consequence of having so many young players; young players struggle to maintain intensity over four quarters.
I am not totally convinced of this. Marley Williams was the second youngest player in black and white but maintained his form in the second half, as did Josh Thomas, who misses Rising Star eligibility by two months, and 22 year old Kyle Martin who was playing his third game. Most of the players who underperformed in the second half were 2010 Premiership players.

The worst part of this was watching the percentage boost disappear. Collingwood was never really in danger of losing the game, but a team which leads by 53 points at half time should win by more than 34 points. Even our best players were mucking up in front of goal, either missing gettable shots or passing to players in worse positions. Swan should have scored three goals in the third quarter, Seedsman, O’Brien and Elliott each missed opportunities to score that they would normally have taken. At the end of Round 22, I hope that the extra thirty-six points and the percentage that they would have generated will not be the difference between fourth and fifth place.

So we go on to the bye and a game against the Power in two weeks, hopefully with Ball and Beams both in the team as inside mids. I think our season is basically on track but we need to play at our top for four quarters, even against lower teams.

Michael Horsbrough votes

3 votes. Heath Shaw – Heater did play four quarters and his marking in defence was superb. When Reid went off injured in the third quarter, Shaw often found himself marking against tall forwards and beating them.

2 votes. Travis Cloke – It wasn’t just the five goals and the 12 marks or the fact that he only shanked one kick. It was the fact that he dominated the forward line without the help of a second tall forward.

1 vote. Dane Swan. He got 38 possessions and dominated all over the ground and I would have given him three votes if it wasn’t for those three missed goals.

Apologies to Pendles and Harry who both had good games and Marley and Josh who weren’t in the top three but played really well and have great futures at the club.


  1. Lord Bogan says


    after the Freo game I was very angry and frustrated with the Pies. In hindsight it was probably because I finally had to face dynasty delusion created in 2010/11.

    This is going to take a couple of years. I like that Bucks is going toward the ‘total football’ path and this means he needs to get 50 games into many youngsters asap. “Our best 22” when fit and firing take a power of beating, but it hasn’t happened since 2010. Even then, what many thought was our best team in the middle of 2010 was very different by the time we finally lifted the cup. If we can win a final this year, I think it would be a positive step.

  2. David Wilson says

    Great report, Dave.
    Like you, I get a bit befuddled with the “Collingwood are playing lots of kids; kids are inconsistent,” line. But I also think the team is going alright.
    And fun to watch.
    Who can ever know what happens to a players mind when 54 points up at half time? I guess there’d be at least just a tiny bit that starts to drift. Ah, well. Humans, eh?

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Great work Dave. Yes was struggling for Danny Roach vote possibilities at half time, and wasn’t much easier at the end given most of the team had slackened off in the second half. I think most of the boys started their bye weekend break at half time.
    For non Floreat Pica Society members, my Danny Roach votes were:

    3. Quienten Lynch

    2. Ben Sinclair

    1. Adam Oxley

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