AFL Round 14 – Western Bulldogs v Collingwood: Gritty goals grind a win


It’s good to have footy back.

Only a week without Collingwood playing and to many supporters it appeared to be a desolate drought. With the Stephenson betting events occurring during it, the fortnight had felt like a month of controversy without much action.


Therefore, Marvel Stadium is piled into by many fans raring to see their beloved teams in action once again. The Bulldogs gift their attendees something to get their hopes up for – a daring play through the middle cuts through Collingwood’s vaunted defence and allows Lloyd to boot the game’s opening goal.


But from then on out, the first half of the quarter belongs to the Pies. Some crafty stoppage work allows Phillips space to swing onto the left for Collingwood’s first major, before big men Cox and Reid work in tandem for a goal apiece. A cheeky one-two between Sidebottom and Thomas means De Goey has time to crumb to perfection and set up Phillips for his second. The Pies begin to run hot.


As quickly as this surge comes, the Bulldogs work their way back into it. Compared to the round four match-up between these teams, the boys in blue are much more aggressive. Rather than trying to hold possession in a West Coast style before working the ball forward, they dash up the middle with reckless abandon in an attempt to put as much pressure as possible on the likes of Roughead, the strangely brunette Moore and Maynard. And it works. Naughton is quiet yet it doesn’t matter as Schache gets on the scoreboard. Daniel is carving up Collingwood from half back, getting plenty of the ball and using it well.


This dominance continues into the second quarter. Bontempelli is quiet – Pendlebury is tagging him out of it. But Macrae, Hunter and Dunkley all get plenty of the ball around the ground. Their surge brings no reward in a critical part of the game. For over half the term the scoreboard only increases in behinds, before an end-to-end break out of the Bulldogs offensive stronghold results in a remarkable De Goey dribbler. De Goey is so good at randomly having an amazing impact when the scores tighten up. The Pies strike to the heart livens the Dogs up. They get a rare clearance despite the dominant ruckwork of Grundy and the experienced Dickson positions himself perfectly for an easy goal. They go in ahead at half time and suddenly they are in the box seat.


However, Collingwood are second on the ladder for a reason. Despite not being able to consistently play their desired style of footy, they turn the tide of the match and get in front. Cox is propelling at the ball around the ground without much reward from umpires. Mihocek is using his aerobic capacity to his advantage, while Reid sits at home ready to snatch some goals. Grundy is the best player on the ground by a long way – he seems to match up brilliantly against English. He brings out a special set play that was famously used against Richmond in last year’s prelim. The space is cleared in front of him and he taps it down to himself so that he can gather and snap a goal through. That never gets old. What a player.


Sidebottom begins to use the ball better, while Daniel continues to start forward thrusts for his side with precision kicking. The quarter remains tight until Collingwood’s late burst, which is capped off by a clever Brown banana on the run that causes the crowd to erupt.


The game is on the line early in the last quarter, but the Magpies seek to put it out of the balance. A special 50 metre kick from Sidebottom forces De Goey to move and take an easy chest mark. He then sets up Reid, who maintains less than 10 metres away from goal at all times and kicks a third goal for his limited running. De Goey then comes to the fore halfway through the term when he shrugs his way past a player in limited space before snapping the ball to Cox perfectly on his left foot. The big American then bumbled in to kick a well-deserved goal.


From there, the Pies never looked back and only two late Bulldogs goals made it look closer. The Bulldogs were valiant, but Collingwood were tactically smart enough to work out their changed game plan and do just enough to win. These two teams always play tough games, and both surely left Marvel Stadium on Sunday with some positives to take out of a game that was both physically and mentally strenuous.


WESTERN BULLDOGS    4.3     5.7     7.11     10.13 (73)
COLLINGWOOD              4.1     5.2     10.4      13.4 (82)


Western Bulldogs: 
Schache 3, Lloyd 2, Dickson 2, Suckling, Lipinski, Daniel
Collingwood: Reid 3, De Goey 2, Phillips 2, Grundy 2, Cox 2, Brown, Mihocek


Western Bulldogs: 
Daniel, Macrae, Bontempelli, Dunkley, Schache, Suckling
Collingwood: Grundy, Sidebottom, De Goey, Roughead, Maynard, Treloar, Crisp


Western Bulldogs: 
Collingwood: Howe (calf)


Reports: Nil


Umpires: Margetts, Stephens, Gavine, Meredith


Official crowd: 39,836 at Marvel Stadium



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