Round 3 – Collingwood v West Coast: Too close to home

 

Hearts can be broken more than once.

 

Resilient after the 2018 Grand Final, my aching Collingwood heart ventured into the MCG on Saturday night guarded and wary.  In the 2019 rematch of the 5-point loss, I was desperate for a win to gain some type of vengeance. So were many Pies fans – the MCG was filled with aggrieved yet passionate supporters cheering on their new-look team.

 

For all of the hope and pleasure that the opening stages of the game gifted us, it all unravelled halfway through the last quarter in the most gruesome of ways.

 

De Goey gifted Collingwood with the perfect starts – two long range set shots reincarnated his barnstorming form against Richmond last week. However, the Eagles weren’t gifting a five goal start this time – the underrated Cripps popped up with a goal to settle his mature side. Luckily, the big American stepped up, after avoiding suspension, as his booming 50m goal shocked everyone in the stadium – was Cox on again today?

 

Unfortunately, after quarter time he was barely spotted again. McGovern and Barrass didn’t have the intercepting presence that they did in 2018, but they held their opponents well for the rest of the game. The Eagles had worked out how to play Grundy and his midfield – Gaff and one other were always at the back of a stoppage, and would inevitably get the ball and hack it forward. It worked – Josh Kennedy had sufficient supply and kicked some goals in an absorbing battle with the growing Darcy Moore.

 

Shuey and Yeo didn’t reach the heights that they did in the Grand Final, with Greenwood being defensively solid. However, Ryan and Cripps began to wreak havoc in the second quarter – Maynard and Crisp had their colours lowered by some easy out the back goals that gave West Coast a handy lead. Threatening to blow away the Pies, Treloar finally kicked straight on multiple occasions to keep us within striking distance.

 

Coming out and looking to recapture their first quarter form, Collingwood could never kick back into groove. West Coast’s game plan thwarted ours – their ground defence meant we couldn’t rack up sufficient inside 50s, or move the ball quickly like we usually do, while their measured chipping game eventually poked holes in our weary defence. Gaff continued to gather many disposals unmarked out the back and their small forwards capitalised on this. Beams, Pendlebury and Treloar couldn’t touch the ball – only Adams and Sidebottom looked like they were keeping us in the match. Mayne worked tirelessly, yet Grundy’s dominant ruckwork was undone by his hesitation with the ball in hand – the Eagles talls were bullying ours, and it was working perfectly.

 

Holding a 20-point lead throughout the third quarter, the Magpies constantly stayed within touch yet could never breach the gap. Coming into the last quarter Josh Thomas appeared for the first time and kicked a vital goal. However we just couldn’t get into a rhythm – either the Eagles would lock down defensively or the umpires would call a ridiculous free kick and a 50m penalty – much like the sliding call against Tom Phillips – an undeserving Eagles goal that only helped fuel their excellent game plan.

 

With the game slowly threatening to close up in the final stages of the match, Collingwood hearts were on the line, ready to be broken again. Liam ‘Flying’ Ryan decided to catapult into the air again and take a ripper mark. Being down near the Collingwood forward 50, we could breathe a sigh of relief – Sheed wasn’t nearby and the goals were a while away. Until the umpires blew for a 50m penalty that beggared belief. Sprinting down, without his opponent following him, Ryan ran off and found Sheed. Deep in the pocket.

 

Hearts were at their most vulnerable – you knew what was going to happen before it did. When the ball split the middle, my heart was shattered once more. An exact repeat. You’ve gotta be joking. Despite pulling two goals later on, Cripps and Kennedy ensured that the margin was always safe. Ryan’s party tricks to tap a ball into Darling’s waiting hands for another goal only compounded the pain. For some reason, the Eagles were just far too good, and their style negated Collingwood’s perfectly. That’s a bitter pill to swallow.

 

COLLINGWOOD      3.1   6.3    7.6  11.10 (76)
WEST COAST           1.2   7.6    10.8   15.8 (98)

 

GOALS
Collingwood: 
De Goey 3, Treloar 2, Beams, Cox, Mihocek, Elliott, Sidebottom, Thomas
West Coast: Cripps 4, Sheed 3, Kennedy 3, Allen, Darling, Hickey, Ryan, Petruccelle

 

BEST 
Collingwood:
 Adams, Sidebottom, De Goey, Treloar, Grundy
West Coast: Gaff, Sheppard, Sheed, Shuey, Hurn, Kennedy

 

INJURIES 
Collingwood
: Moore (ankle)
West Coast: Nil

 

Reports: Nil

 

Umpires: Meredith, Findlay, Fleer

 

Official crowd: 60, 878 at the MCG

 

 

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Comments

  1. A pretty fair summary of the game. I’ve noticed the Pies defenders are beginning a habit of all flying into a pack to spoil, leaving enemy agents free on the ground. Even Aish was joining this aerial party when he had no reason to.

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