Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life 2016-Round 1 v Sydney Preview

G ‘day True Believers. The wait is nearly over; just a couple more sleeps.

Season prognosis? A view based on an interview with Mick McGuane (Google his 7-bounce goal against Carlton as a reminder) – http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/afl-season-2016-are-the-magpies-building-a-powerhouse-20160310-gnff34.html (also see the Comments under the article). Answering who can make the Eight this season – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-21/which-afl-teams-can-crack-the-top-eight-this-season/7255092?section=sport. And the AFL Captains’ Survey – What do the Captains think? http://www.collingwoodfc.com.au/news/2016-03-17/finals-a-brownlow-and-a-rising-star. Nope, they do not predict we’ll make the GF, but they also don’t predict we’ll miss the Finals (an each way bet, I think that is called). Brownlow – Pendles – 1 vote (less likely if he moves ‘Back’ and out of the Mids). Rising Star – Darcy Moore – 2 votes. I am more confident – as per last week’s season prognosis.

The Game:

Saturday, 26 March. Sydney at the SCG. Bounce: 7.25pm.

Weather? Partly cloudy with a chance of light rain. 13 – 21 deg. But, then again, it is Melbourne…

The Teams:

Us?

Should be published Thursday night on the AFL website – www.afl.com.au. Who to watch for? Treloar – in (he left training early last Friday; was he hurt – apparently not?); Witts & Grundy – both are needed; Gault – in; Cox – in; Varcoe – injured Monday – a great loss in terms of the commitment and the example he sets, particularly for the younger players; Moore – in; Reid – who knows (his twin is injured so won’t play for Sydney) – maybe; Fas – in; Pendles & Swanny (Back and Forward, respectively, rather than as Mids) – in; Trav – in – Trav needs to be a little careful here – there are a number of talls that are ‘breathing down his neck’. Sometimes others have a different view: See http://www.afl.com.au/news/2016-03-19/best-22-who-makes-the-cut-at-your-club. Worth a quick read. Interesting Best 22 when compared with the one above (under Season Prognosis) – Witts, Marsh, Gault, Cox and Blair all not included in both selections whereas each of these has produced during the pre-season. A broad view – http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-2016-collingwood-scott-pendlebury-needs-to-be-collingwoods-luke-hodge-20160316-gnkdkt.html. See specifically the identification and comments about the “high press” tactics and the ‘good’ and ‘not so good’. Injuries at http://www.afl.com.au/news/2016-03-19/the-injury-list-preseason – critical Howe, Goldie, Reid and Varcoe in addition to Scharenberg and Elliott – Note: Reid is not on the list of injured.

What will I be watching for from us?
1. Control and drive out of the Centre – Witts / Mids and tagging opponents;
2. Drive out of the Backline, including from kick-ins, linking to scoring opportunities – Backline;
3. Scoring opportunities – link between the Half Forward line into the 50 – Forwardline; and
4. Defensive pressure – everyone.

Them?

Also Thursday. A ‘new’ Sydney – maybe with up to eight changes from their last 2015 Finals appearance – see http://www.theage.com.au/afl/sydney-swans/afl-2016-changes-aplenty-for-sydney-swans-for-round-one-against-collingwood-20160322-gno7g9.html. Watch their Midfield for Hannebery, Parker, Mitchell and Kennedy and, of course, Franklin up front; plus Tippett in the ruck. Also keep an eye on Kieran Jack. Sam Reid is injured. Their mids are absolute game-breakers – see Match Preview (below).

Impact on us? Tagging maybe the order of the day. There is also the need to make sure we control the Centre bounces and ball-ups – Witts must play there. What do you do about Buddy? If Brownie is too slow (as I think he may be), maybe think about putting Grundy on him, or maybe even Trav; not sure Frost is strong enough yet. A Trav / Buddy competition is something I’d love to see. Of course the simple solution to stopping Buddy is to prevent the ball getting anywhere near him.

Your views? C’mon, what do you think?

Game Previews?

AFL Match Day Preview – http://www.afl.com.au/match-centre/2016/1/syd-v-coll – there now;
Pies. http://www.collingwoodfc.com.au/ Watch for the master, David Natoli, and his ‘Ultimate Previews’ on the Pies homepage. He brings a wealth of knowledge and style to the Previews, even greater impartiality than some (including me). Our continuing thanks to him.

My Picks? This game will be a real test given the opposition, location and start to the season. My picks: Pies by 27 points. Treloar – 31 touches; BOG – Adams – 17 touches against Hannebery who has 7. Trav – 8 Goal Assists from CHF (roving).

TV? Yep, Free to Air. Channel 7, from 7.00pm.

Other:
The ‘player assessment’ has finally concluded – http://www.afl.com.au/news/features/players-top-50. Swanny and Pendles are the only Pies’ players listed in the Top 50. Sydney has four – one Top 10 – Franklin; three others Top 20 – their Mids. With 18 teams in the League, the average is 2.8. Hawthorn has 7, Geelong – 4, Richmond – 5. Haven’t worked out who is at the bottom end.
Rules. Clarification of the countdown clock rule change. Thanks Sal – ‘play on’ after the 30 seconds has elapsed. And another rule – Interchange cap – http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/afl-interchange-cap-may-make-positional-play-a-thing-of-the-past-20160315-gnjnxg.html – see implications.
Eddy Watch. Quiet’ish (for Eddy). See below for Women’s Footy.
Women’s Footy. Great. Go Pies – http://www.collingwoodfc.com.au/news/2016-03-17/mcguire-womens-team-the-perfect-situation.

Reporting? Who’s going to the game? Ground Reports pls?

Remember to keep an eye on the Footy Almanac. It includes expert and enjoyable articles and letters (many with very amusing comments). Go to: https://www.footyalmanac.com.au/.

What’s Next? Round 2 – Richmond at the G on April Fools Day (Friday night, 1 April). Note the short break between the games.

Everyone, welcome to 2016. The season starts.

Go Pies

Cam

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