Round 20 – Collingwood v Gold Coast: Typical Sunday arvo footy done well


The `G was different on Sunday.


No bustling crowds, throngs of people jostling into one another around the numerous stands that make up the great stadium. Certain food outlets were closed on the top level. Seats weren’t a hassle to find – in fact, it was simple to find an open section of seats and relax by yourself, or in the relative comfort of a smattering of surrounding spectators.


There were no arduous lines for toilets, alcohol or food. Everything was fast, chilled out and not as hectic as it usually is at the MCG. It was a perfectly calm Sunday afternoon match for the Pies to return to form without the spotlight being cast firmly on them.


They didn’t play like it mattered in the opening exchanges. Gold Coast realised they had to jump out of the blocks if they were to make a fist of their interstate trip, and did so. King ran hard forward and was a feature for the Suns, running and jumping for some impressive marks. They held up the game and gained territory well. Collingwood couldn’t break through with their run-and-gun style of offence. Enter Adam Treloar.


For the season fans had been yearning for a game of dash. Instead of flicking out messy handballs, the blonde number 7 should’ve been extracting the ball and using his dashing pace. It took him five minutes, but once he got onto a handball and turned on the afterburners for a beauty of a running goal, Collingwood looked so much better for it. Grundy warmed up to his challenge against former teammate Witts, and began to take charge in the middle. Sidebottom was thrust forward and was magical, while Elliott celebrated game 100 with a delightful goal, delivered through a thrilling clearance and daring run by Treloar. He had broken the shackles, and was showing just how dangerous he was when using his breakneck speed.


Gold Coast hung in the match to quarter time, even after a perfect Treloar kick set up a strong Cox mark and goal. Swallow and Miller were steady in the middle, and worked hard to shark Grundy’s taps. Lukosious was developing more and more by the game. Ballard was intercepting Collingwood attacks with confidence. But after the first break the game opened up.


Hoskin-Elliott and Varcoe became targets after Cox fell to an eye injury. The former found his form as the linking forward, an athletic presence with the ability to run and mark smoothly. Varcoe was coming out of the square with Elliott and using his speed to kick a couple of quick majors. Elliott was gaining confidence after a tricky extraction of the ball from a pack and clever snap goal. Sidebottom was a clever forward, proving he can do it anywhere on the ground.


The second and third quarters were dominating for Collingwood. Everyone stood up – Greenwood’s return highlighted how strong his 2019 form has been. Scharenberg and Roughead were solid, Howe’s intercept marking as spectacular as usual. Crisp’s run off half-back became ever more prominent and the Pies flexed their muscles. On a picturesque Sunday winter arvo the spacious MCG was providing stretched out Collingwood fans to a performance they needed to see.


A lacklustre last quarter meant the Suns didn’t get utterly smacked, but the game wound down to a 69 point victory that was all the Pies needed. With an interesting month coming up before finals, they now have the form and set up to gain a home final and see what happens in September. Without Cox, it’ll prove different, but Sunday showed the Magpies have the talent to adapt and alter their line up and structures for whatever they may face in the 2019 season.


The MCG will only continue to fill up for Pies games, but it may be the perfect stepping stone for the black and white to build to a sold out MCG crescendo in September once again.


COLLINGWOOD     4.4     10.6     16.8     18.12    (120)
GOLD COAST         3.2     5.2     6.3     8.3     (51)


Collingwood: Hoskin-Elliott 4, Varcoe 2, Elliott 2, Sidebottom 2, Mihocek 2, Treloar, Brown, Cox, Thomas, Grundy, Pendlebury
Gold Coast: King 3, Sexton 3, Day, Martin


Collingwood: Treloar, Sidebottom, Grundy, Crisp, Pendlebury, Hoskin-Elliott
Gold Coast: Lukosius, Ballard, King, Miller, Swallow, Sexton


Collingwood: Cox (eye)
Gold Coast: Witts (knee)


Reports: Nil


Umpires: Dalgleish, Gavine, Glouftsis


Official crowd: 33,577 at the MCG



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