AFL Round 16: Pies flounder under Hawthorn pressure — again

By Paul Harkin

As was the case twice last year, the Pies were unable to think their way through the dreaded Clarkson Cluster. Collingwood never really looked comfortable all night, despite a rally near the end of the second quarter.
The early signs were not good as Buddy looked switched on from the opening bounce. The Hawks were making the early running and we were playing desperate football. When under pressure you always go back to what you know best and that is to miss targets and kick the ball out of bounds on the full. I’m not sure whether the one ruckman policy works with Fraser, but it certainly didn’t and won’t work with Woody. To have effective clearances from ruck contests you either need to place the ball to the advantage of your on-ballers or be able to hit it into space for them to run on to. Wood is not capable of doing that at this point.
Swannie and Didak were quiet early and this was evident by our poor entries into the forward line. In the second quarter we seem to have worked them out and went into half-time with an 11-point lead, despite not have really played all that well. Tarks was chipping in for some handy goals and Leon was up and about. Harry was giving Cyril a hiding and Jarryd was having a Rough(ead) time of it on Nathan Brown until he was injured. If only we could keep Buddy under control, we would be in with a big show. The second half looked like being enjoyable. At half-time Phil Cornell and I were thinking up sledges to give the Hawthorn clown nearby.
The second half began like the season began, fumbles, mistakes and long bombs into the forward line, for the Hawthorn backs, who outnumber us 2 or 3 to 1, to sweep it away. Hodge was killing us. We were getting murdered out of the centre and we were incapable of taking a contested mark. Heath, who was loose in the backline, was doing his best to run and carry, but didn’t have enough mates. By the time the quarter was over, so were our chances of winning. Two points in the premiership quarter won’t cut it in September. At least the Hawthorn clown was so busy topping up his beer supply, he didn’t have time for his dopey comments. His best was to call Daisy “FIG JAM”. Full marks for originality, I say.
The last quarter was an anti-climax. At least we put on 4 goals, although we still lost the quarter. As usual Swannie got his bundle of possessions. Beams also had heaps of disposals, although it was hard to believe he had as many as reported. I can’t believe Jack Anthony is fit, but at least he kicked a couple of consolation goals and maybe he has found his kicking boots again. If we play like this next week, we’ll be letting the Blues take our 4th spot.
All in all a disappointing performance, but I have to say the Hawks were very good. It’s just a pain that they had to turn it on against us and we weren’t good enough to work our way through it. If Hawthorn play like this for the rest of the season, they’ll sort a few of the better teams out as well.

3 – Heath Shaw – Although he spent a fair chunk of the night as a spare man in defence, he gave us some badly needed run and carry. His kicking wasn’t perfect,  but then whose was?
2 – Tarks – contributed 3 goals in a team bereft of goal scoring opportunities.
1 – Harry – kept the dangerous Rioli in check all night, no mean feat when the whole Hawthorn team was running riot in the second half.

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