AFL Round 7 – Fremantle v Collingwood: Another night of pain at Subiaco

As a Collingwood fan we have seen a few of these great victories over the past few years, going in under manned through injury and suspension and then losing a key figure early on and then digging in for a great victory against a proven opposition. Except that team on Saturday night was Fremantle and the Pies were the team on the other side – the team that really should have won on paper.

Full credit to Fremantle, they shut down Pendlebury with a guy who has become the best tagger in the game and they came out from the start and won the clearances – held on to the ball and picked their way through our vaunted forward press and ran with numbers and finally kicked to the space where two of the fastest and skilful forwards in the game. Ballantyne and in particular Walters carved us up.

The first quarter was a real whitewash and it seemed that nearly every forward move by the Dockers brought about a score; we were completely dominated before Sidebottom’s great effort from long range deep into time on.

The second quarter was quite even and we were enjoying more control of the ball and sustained periods of keeping the ball in our forward half and creating opportunities. We still got stung on the break but felt we had the better of the contest with no real impact on the scoreboard and still found ourselves 6 goals down.

The third quarter was probably one of our best for the year as we dominated position, created lots of turnovers and rattled back into contention to just trail at 3 quarter time. Swan lurking in the forward line proved a good move as we were happy to move the ball quickly and play on at all costs – why can’t we play this attacking brand of football more often?

It was all set for a big finale and when we hit the front through a Caolan Mooney freak goal it looked like we would go on with the job but to Fremantle’s credit they were able to settle and really run the game out and again expose our press and holes in the back line. The real turning point was when Lynch dropped a real soda within range and we never seemed to recover and look threatening again.

Our best is still very good and it must be extremely frustrating to coach as we seem to have massive periods in games of the structures breaking down and maintain possession seems beyond us.

The positives for the night were the young players in Thomas, Dwyer and Seedsman in our best along with Reid, Swan, Thomas and Sidebottom could all hold their head up high. Krakour showed enough to suggest his second half of the year could be good while Harry tried hard but was unsure if he was our best or worse player particularly early.

The negatives were Cloke was down and with Lynch also down and Goldsack out did not have much help up forward – we were out marked in uncontested marks that should have been contested by some of Fremantle’s small defenders at times and that was just not on. Elliot has definitely gone cold and will be lucky to keep his spot – needs to worry about all the little things and not trying to take Mark of the year so often.

All in all a very disappointing night when you only get to see the Pies play live once or twice a year it was not a great feeling to go home with.

My Votes for the game were:
3 Dwyer
2 Swan
1 Josh Thomas

We really need to win one of the next two to stay in the hunt and hope we can find our true four quarter football in the second half of the year because at our best we are a contender but at present we don’t look a threat to the top three or four clubs going around.

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