AFL Round 13 – Collingwood v Western Bulldogs: Lacklustre Pies Say Goodbye to Top 4?

written by Paul Taylor for the Floreat Pica Society

Jinxed. To bring bad luck to.

Having written the first match report of the year I was looking forward to the chance of reporting on something more positive in my second outing. But after having sat through a depressingly lacklustre performance from the Pies, I’m beginning to think that maybe I’m a jinx. Not sure how else to explain the sloppy performance from the Pies this week. Perhaps the merry go round last weekend against Melbourne led us into a false sense of contested ball supremacy.

Certainly the first ten minutes of the game didn’t provide a good guide as to how the game was going to play out. We looked sharp up forward with Cloke and Elliot looking dynamic. But once the dogs pegged us back I was worried. And Frosty hurting his knee didn’t help.

The second quarter didn’t arrest my fears. While the stats on centre clearances and contested ball didn’t seem so bad at half time I thought we were getting smacked around the ball. The supposedly slow bullies were cleaner with the ball and tougher at the contest. They were up for the game- perhaps not surprising given the criticism they received this week. And guys like Liam Jones, who normally lacks for spirit and determination was giving us the run around. I’m a big Keefe fan but he appeared to lack the confidence to stick to Jones and was caught out several times. Reminded me of his performance in Adelaide. Actually our young back line looked somewhat shaky all day. Still they have been enormous for the most part.

The third quarter progressed in similar fashion. Even when we drew back to level pegging I got the sense that the Bullies were still playing the better footy. Excluding Pendles and Sammy D, I struggled to find a winner amongst our midfielders and wingers. Unfortunately the double team of Witts and Grundy weren’t having the desired effect on wearing Minson down. And Caf and co in the middle couldn’t contain the grunt of Liberatore and run of Griffen. We were really missing Beams and Sidebottom. Taylor Adams was getting a lot of the footy, but his disposal was erratic. Its an issue he will need to rectify if he wants to be a permanent member of the side.

We also struggled to find much fluency in the last quarter excluding a burst from Cloke that saw us draw within a couple of points. Cloke was terrific. His marking and kicking looked strong. A poor kick from Harry streaming out of defence led to a crucial turnover which resulted in the match winning goal from the dogs. It pretty much summed up our game. Even when clear we dropped chest marks or butchered passes. But we have been up for a long while and there is no doubt we struggle with the confines of Etihad Stadium.

I think the biggest worry for us going forward is our midfield. We really struggle without Pendles or Beams in there. Bucks is going to have to make a decision sometime regarding Swan playing midfield. His field kicking has really dropped away and it might now be best to play him deeper forward. Time to leave Ball in the middle. Hopefully Goldsack can come back this week and relieve Ball of his defensive duties on the half forward line. Might also be time to give Kennedy a proper go in the middle. And it’s perhaps time to see if Kyle Martin can cut it at AFL level. He seems too good a player to be playing VFL.

On a brighter note I though Broomhead didn’t look out of place when introduced to the game. He has the poise and balance of a good player.

The immediate future looks daunting with the Hawks in six days. What a pity we don’t have Ben Reid ready to come back. But if we can get Goldsack, Beams and perhaps Maxy back we will be a stronger outfit. Interesting to see if the coaching team go for a man on man approach. I was confident we may be able to match them after the Melbourne game-particularly with the thought that Ben Reid would be back. But my confidence has evaporated after watching today’s game.

On a positive note I saw Matty Scharenberg close up at the game. He is taller than I imagined and looks like a classic rangy flanker. Hope we get to see him and Nat Freeman before the end of the season.

My best pies players were:
3 votes to Trav Cloke
2 votes to Pendles
1 vote to Sammy D

Special mention to Elliot. He is a star in the making.

Leave a Comment