Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life 2024: Opening Round Review/ Round 1 Preview – ‘Own the moment’


That was not fun. Not one little bit.


But first, another True Believer to welcome. Mark, g’day. You’ve joined an august group that, with a couple of family and Footy Almanac exceptions, regardless of our rank or status, share the same belief in our favourite footy team – the Pies. It’s just a bit of fun in which we welcome everyone’s observations and views – like all ‘families’ there are no right or wrong answers, but we welcome the input. And for everyone, I’m still looking for a few more to take our number to 100? Currently 83.

Back to reality.


Opening Round


Collingwood 11.16.82 were defeated by Greater Western Sydney 18.6.114.


Match Report. Go to


Coach’s comments. Go to Our coach hasn’t been confronted too often with questions relating to a Loss, particularly when it’s not too clear why. This is worth watching / listening to. You will note that I’ve tended to agree many of his observations / points, detailed further below – “opinions, everyone’s got one”.




Q1       3 goals (us) / 5 goals (them);

Q2       3 / 5. A very solid 1H for GWS without a terminal break-away;

Q3       0 / 4. Even worse on the scoreboard, noting that this didn’t really accurately reflect the play;

Q4       5 / 4. A quick four goal burst for us that established some respectability in the scoreline; totalling


Total:   11 / 18. A dominant Win by the Giants reflecting their dominance on the field. It almost seemed that once they got possession they would funnel the ball forward and score, frequently seemingly against the flow of the game. In comparison we could establish the drive out of the Halfback line but had little success once the ball entered the 50. See comments below. Your views?




Hit Outs (HO)      ??????????49 (us) / 23 (them). I think this simply reflects who touched the ball. It is not a particularly useful comparison. A better number is Hit Outs to Advantage, which the commentators frequently have, but I don’t. The critical flow of numbers routinely links and compares the HO, the Cl, the I50 and the Goals scored. Each is a critical flow in the passage from gathering possession to scoring;


Clearances (Cl)                       40 / 39. Based on 15 / 16 Centre bounces and 25 / 23 stoppage clearances. As the name implies;


Inside 50s (I50)                       60 / 53. A marginal dominance by us. This, also, is as the name implies. See DEI50, relating to the second key statistic, below;


Disposal Efficiency (DE)         72.3% / 73.4% reflecting their marginal domination across the entire game. What it doesn’t show is their total scoreboard domination throughout the game, whether deserved or not;


Players with DE of or              10 / 8. Marginally in our favour. The balance must, therefore, be lower than ours; over 80%


DE Inside 50 (DE I50)             50.0% / 45.3%. Really important. Simply put, we got the ball into the 50 more frequently than our opposition and used it more effectively. Statistically, we should have Won? I have no idea where some of these numbers come from;


Contested Possessions (CP) 123 / 134. They were working harder, a bit;


Marks (M)                    ??????81 / 97. Their passage of play was based upon keeping possession of the ball through directed safe kicks and marks. In reality I’d have expected this difference to be much greater.


M Inside 50 (MI50)                  9 / 13. Comment same as above. They demonstrated a willingness to move the ball within the 50.


Tackles (T)                  ??????60 / 36. We seemed to do a lot of tackling, because we had to;


T Inside 50                              21 / 1. I simply don’t believe this, but it is what is recorded on the AFL website;


Scores                                    Goals: 11 / 16; and


Behinds: 16 / 6; and


Free kicks (FK)           ??????20 / 16. Remember it is the where and when that is so critical to the Frees. Further there is a real need for consistency across the Umpire community regarding offences – the “incorrect disposal” / “caught with the ball” offence was frequently used, ??????????                                                            but also frequently missed. This is confusing for everyone.



The Game


I attended the game. I thought the ground seemed small however on checking it’s not much different to the G – Engie Stadium: 164 X 127.5m c/f MCG: 160 X 141m. Kicks from the Centre were easily getting into the 50. But it was really noisy – phone traffic nearly unworkable.


The game was largely dominated by GWS scoring, with the exception of half of Q4 where we scored a few and added a bit of respectability to the score line. But the game was pretty hard fought throughout. It was just that when GWS got the ball into their 50, they went on to score; frequently goals. When we took the ball into the 50 we were unable to do likewise. We frequently handed over possession following a Behind. And with possession, they were off, again. So, you could claim that their scores were against the flow of the game, but, in reality they weren’t. Their offence game flowed faster and more accurately than ours when taken from possession of the ball to them scoring. Their defensive game was similarly designed to simply get possession. Our offence did not work together well. Too often our goals were from an accident or based on a very long kick.


Much of their ball transition relied on clearly identified marking recipients. They showed a willingness to include short passes as well as longer ones, even inside the 50. GWS’ forward line ‘talls’ were very impressive. The absence of Howe and Murphy was marked and our coach reinforced the perception that our defenders had lacked physicality – spoil by punching?


The Midfield success was shared between the teams though the very close Clearance numbers imply neither dominated. Nick D was superb, as usual, ably supported by De Goey.


A couple of enjoyable moments:


  • McCreery’s tackle;
  • Noble’s appearance on the ground (see below);
  • Maynard’s job on Greene (also see below); and
  • A number of Nick D’s touches (16 score involvements). Any favourites from you?


Principally we looked ‘flat’ playing against GWS who were clearly highly motivated. Are they now the Premiership favourite for 2024 or do we have to wait another week or two? Views?


Ladder position


Our Place is “within the Eight”, so far, sitting 7th with a percentage of 71.9%. Not too significant, yet.




Enjoyment. The team need to get their smile back. Typically our team has valued each other, found occasions amusing but mostly reflected on a job they all really enjoy. When the smile goes, we the long-suffering supporter Magpie Army, find it hard to smile along;


Manning selections. A couple of key position selections did not work. Individuals who are young and enthusiastic should be given their chance. I know the team is reluctant to take players out after a single performance, however this is now critical. People to be considered for inclusion should include Macrae, Steene and Noble (in the run-on side). Macrae has been on the edge of selection forever – give him his opportunity. Steene warrants a chance. And did you hear the crowd roar when the screen showed Noble coming on? And in one third of the game time he amassed notable statistics – 8 Disposals @ 87.5% DE, 1 Mark, 3 Tackles, 206 metres Gained, 2 Intercept Possessions and 2 Score Involvements. In a Backline that was looking a bit soft he added to their performance.


Game Plan. There was nothing wrong with a Game Plan based on getting possession, transiting the ball forward to score goals. GWS just did it better than us and we appeared unable to block their transition of their delivery and they stopped us. So, greater mark-spoiling training and get the kick-in’s fixed. Work on close individual marking is essential. Midfield and drive out of the Backline is working okay, but need to fix the kick-ins. Forwards, greater lead variety and greater speed. Speed is also key to the delivery into the 50. We have to avoid giving the defence time to get back.




The Best


The AFL website records our Best as Nick D, Cameron, Maynard, Josh D, Schultz and Lipinski. I don’t have too many problems with any of these. In the past I’ve been critical of Lipinski’s selection. He deserves this recognition. I’d consider adding Pendles and Sidebottom to the List. While not influential for the whole game they turned up not infrequently to make a difference when it was needed. Your views?


Maynard’s performance on Greene is notable and warrants a closer look / see:


                      Disposals  Marks   Tackles   Clearances  Goals  DE  Metres gained   Goal Assists

  • Maynard    16         9            5             1                   1      87.5%     453                   0


  •  Greene       15         3           0             0                  1       80.0%    224                  4


So, Maynard did a solid job neutralising Greene, who has the potential to influence a game. More importantly, as demonstrated in the metres gained figure, he contributed to our offense. Needless to say, though it isn’t always the case, Greene did not make the GWS Best listing. Unfortunately there were a few others we were unable to control.




The registered crowd was 21,235, which seems to be significantly under the ground capacity, even though the message before the game was that it was “sold out”. Sitting there in the stands, it was clearly not “sold out”. There were sizable number of empty seats.



Round 1

Friday, 15th March, bounce at 7.40pm, Collingwood versus Sydney at the MCG


Current Betting. Even though our opponent is four places above us on the Ladder, sitting 3rd, the voting public is having their say: $1.50 for a Win by us; $2.60 for a Win by Sydney. Says it all actually.




Sydney started the season well with a Win over Melbourne at the SCG, but it was against a depleted Melbourne (and without Grundy) and at the SCG. And Grundy, who we know very well, was the difference. He beat Gawn, albeit it took until Q4 to actually be evident. Scores were very close at each change, or closely following each change until the end.


Sydney team manning rotated about their Midfield. Heeney moved into the Midfield from his more usual Halfback role. He stayed there the whole game and can be expected to do the same against us. Others of significance at this game included Blakey, Warner, Papley, Florent and Rampe. Both Warner and Papley spent time in the Midfield too. Roberts, in defence, in his 8th game received a Rising Star nomination for his performance, a performance that included the kick-in responsibilities. Sydney has a collection of Forward ‘talls’ looking to replace Buddy, though this is not yet successful – watch and adjust. At our previous meeting 7 May 2023, Won by Collingwood by 29 Points, their Best included Parker – currently injured, Florent, Fox, Rowbottom and Gulden.


McInerney will be available – $2500 early plea fine for rough conduct.


Sydney Players to Watch?


  • Heeney – Midfield. Hard tag;
  • Grundy – Ruck;
  • Forwards. Close, man-on-man defence – watch and adjust; and
  • Roberts.




  • Tag Heeney;
  • Close man-on-man defence against their Forwards.




Not too much needs to change:


  • Team? A couple of changes are suggested above? And a couple of taskings? Your choices? Cox is likely to pick up a fine for touching Mumford before the game. Apparently the AFL concern was that a response from Mumford (hardly unlikely) could have led to an all-in brawl.
  • Application? No change to this requirement – Application for four full Quarters. Hold the tackles. Establish and maintain control of the game (possessions). Look to where the ball is going.
  • Game Plan? No change to the current plan. Use varied entry to the 50 and be willing to move the ball to a better-placed goal scorer than setting packs. Crumb around packs. Fix the kick-in plan.
  • Be happy?


Weather. Weather forecast is for cloudy conditions with a veery low chance of rain.


TV:      Kayo or FOXTEL – Best for every game.

      Free to Air TV on 7.


My assessment?


Collingwood will Win by 29 Points (again). BOG – Nick D. with 38 touches. Mihocek has five goals. Bobby had three GA; Billy got two GA.


Ground Reports?


Now I know a few of you were also at last Saturday’s game. Reports please? And the same for this game? And I’d like to hear from some armchair warriors watching from afar?


The Future?


R2      Thursday, 21st March; bounce at 7.30pm – St Kilda versus Collingwood at the MCG.




Some other stuff:


  • Our first Bye is in R5;
  • VFL. The VFL competition R1 starts on Friday, 22 March against Sandringham;
  • Remember you can see our past Reports (for a few years) on Footy Almanac at The group emails started a few years before the FA records. Does anyone’s records show when we started?
  • Anything that you would like to inform our members of, just Reply to all or send it to me.
  • Take the steps’. Krista and I dropped by a theatre in Canberra the day after the game. Simply outstanding. We both loved it. It was an interesting perspective change as it followed our exposure to what was a pretty ordinary team performance the evening before. I encourage all of you to see it. I had also been advised that it would be shown on FTA TV following the Front Bar show on Channel 7 Wednesday this week but haven’t been able to confirm that. Anyone know?


Go Pies.





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