Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life: A week to forget for Bucks

True Believers, that was awful! A weekend skipped by the girls but a close Win to the Two’s.  Always interesting to check who’s doing well there, particularly after a bad week (or weeks) in the AFL side.


Firstly, a big ‘Side by Side’, Pies welcome to our newest member, John.  Welcome.  Enjoy.


Last Weekend?


Magpies Netball:  No game last weekend. Apologies for the misleading comments by me last week. The girls’ next game: Round 9 – Sunday, 23 April. See below.




A terrible game. I did not enjoy it one bit. The most concerning thing to me was the lack of application after the first quarter; the most concerning thing in the first quarter was our total inability to exploit our almost total control of the game – so wasteful (which has been absolutely representative of periods of each of our other games, this season). The next game is critically important; as is the one after that; etc; etc.


Match Review. Go to and and Buck’s view at – A fair question is Who is ultimately responsible after such a performance?  The Coach is, of course, fundamentally responsible for ‘group motivation’ (sorely lacking during the game) and I don’t pretend to understand Pendles’ lengthy stay on the bench in Q3 (regardless of what he said later – is he injured?). See other comments about the game at Ultimately it is the numbers that will decide the coach’s success.


Our Best: I’m highly critical of the listed Best being picked, seemingly, largely based on Disposal numbers. This week: Howe, Grundy, Sidebottom, Adams, Reid and Treloar.  My comment last week focussed on individual effectiveness statistics  based on the application of Disposal Efficiency (DE) to their ‘touches’.  This week: Adams (39 Disposals @ 66.7% DE) was wasting every third possession; Sidebottom (31 Disposals @ 51.6% DE) was wasting every Second possession and Treloar (28 Disposals @ 67.9% DE) was also wasting every third touch; and they weren’t exceptional (unfortunately).  The numbers are worth browsing.  And Treloar’s unsuccessful attempt to repeat his ‘Goal of the Week’ as per last week, with Forwards standing all over the place, was a selfish move.


Check the other statistics: DE – we had five players with DE over 80%; they had eight.  Conversely, our Clearances totalled 40 against their 22, neatly reflected at the Centre and at other Stoppages.  This also, nearly, matched our Hit Outs (39) versus theirs (27). So, well done Mids, but the statistics about effectiveness remain – how often did we see a Mid, head-down, slam the ball onto his foot, with the ball neatly accepted by an opposition player; and their possession and drive forward commenced. Pressure, of course, impacts hugely on the DE; and it certainly is represented by the Tackle number comparison – our 56 vs their 87.  Does the DE explain the failure to exploit our clear dominance?  What else?


What was really ‘Best’ or ‘worked’, and stood out? Goldsack’s application throughout the game, an example of which was his run down and tackle on Armitage (I think) – simply outstanding (it should have been a ‘game-changer’); Schade’s game, also not a single incident but included his goal (not bad for a FB) and is measured throughout the game; and the Back 6 performance throughout, though there was a noticeable reduction in intensity in the Last Quarter (common to the whole team across the ground). And Grundy gets better and better and is the ultimate opportunist – well done.  I would remove Sidebottom, Adams and Treloar from the Best list. I would add Goldsack, Hoskin-Elliott (he is providing great drive off the Wing), Howe and Schade in their place. And, while his numbers don’t really show it, Varcoe has a huge impact on the game, routinely turning up to take the ball in attack or in defence – his application is terrific. What worked, or didn’t work?  I thought our Forward Line Game Plan didn’t work.  We need to take a different philosophical approach to how it could work in the future – reduce the focus on Darcy / spread the load / be more dynamic in terms of entry points / stop the ‘up and under’ entries / vary the goal scorers / applaud the Goal Assisters. The rest of the Game Plan was okay and our individual matches were okay (no opposition player cut us loose) but our application was unacceptable. Your thoughts?


VFL. Round 1. A Win to the Two’s. Match report at  Best – De Goey (not available to the AFL side for a couple more weeks – we all know why), Dunn and Kelly down Back and Mayne and Daicos Forward.  Cox also did well; as did Wells in his first hit-out in the B&W.  Changes in the AFL side next week?  See below.

Next week?

Magpies Netball


Round 9 – Sunday, 23 April – Magpies vs Giants; tip-off at 1.00pm in Sydney. The Giants are sitting comfortably at the top of the Table –; we are sitting Fourth with 4 Wins from eight games – percentage: 105% – this game will be a big ask. Game coverage via Telstra.  Go girls.


To know more about the team and the game go to: and




Our Game?  Round 5 – Tuesday, 25 April (Anzac Day): Collingwood vs Essendon at the MCG; bounce: 3.20pm – another ‘blockbuster’.  Essendon – 11th versus our – 13th place on the Ladder; 92.7% vs our 86.7%.  Essendon have two Wins so far this season but have Lost their last two against Carlton, in appalling conditions, and Adelaide (not at all a surprise given how Adelaide are travelling).  Earlier Wins against Hawthorn and Brisbane (comments on both really need to be adjusted in terms of their opponents’ seasons, so far).  And us?  We’ve managed to beat one team by one point in our four games, so far this season.  That said, none of our opponents, WB, Richmond, Sydney and St Kilda, could fairly be described as ‘easy-beats’ (Regarding Essendon’s wins, does anyone want to identify Hawthorn as an ‘easy-beat’?).  I don’t think either side goes into this game as a clear favourite.


Teams. Selections on Saturday.  Go to




Essendon.  Early in the season with a variety of performances, nothing useful from 2016.


Things & People to watch for?  McGrath has been listed as Interchange for three games and one from the Back Pocket.  “Danger Will Robinson“, he is seriously achieving.  Last week: 28 Possessions @ 85.7% DE, with 4 Tackles and involvement in 5 scores. He is also the No 1 Draft pick and and the first Essendon Rising Star nominee for 2017. Others to watch: Daniher and Merritt up Forwards, Heppell, Watson, Zaharakis and Parish amongst the Mids and Kelly, Goddard and Hurley down Back.


Implications?  Interesting statistics regarding Hit Outs & Clearances focussing on ruckwork and Mid dominance.  Essendon have been beaten in each game this season in Hit Outs and in Clearances (with the exception of being level in Clearances last week).  I would hope that Grundy will have a strong day; he should be able to contribute strongly to our Mids’ dominance.  Once again it looks as if whichever team dominates the Midfield will have a definite advantage in winning the game (as I should, in fairness, acknowledge we should have been in a position to do last week).  Consideration needs to be given to tagging McGrath and manning against Daniher and Merritt (probably Schade and Reid) keeping Goldsack up your sleeve to respond as a ‘run with’ player with Heppell or Zaharakis.  Your thoughts?




An nine day turnaround for us; one more for them. They are above us on the Ladder and they should be seen as favourites.


Mids.  An outstanding and consistent Disposal collection by our Mids, so far this year, but the wastage is astonishing.  I continue to have concerns about Grundy’s replacement when he’s resting (or, God forbid, ever injured) – I don’t consider White a good enough ruck and continue to watch Keeffe (or Cox) as a potential replacement (for White).


Backs? The Back 6 are doing really well. I think an ‘extra man’ to provide ‘third man up’ capability is critical – Scharenberg or Dunn?  But who to drop?  The kick-ins are improving, but are not faultless yet.  Still need work.


Forwards? We wasted our opportunities when we dominated last week, as in nearly every game so far this season – a continuing problem.  Restructure the Forward line – Pendles to CHF, maybe sharing a two-person HF line with Darcy; Keeffe at FF in vice White; Fas to stay; Daicos in vice Elliott; Wells in. I think that adds up to six; but if you want to shift one Back then one has to go.


Changes? Your thoughts?


We can win this.



Weather? Clearing showers; 12 – 17 deg. Likely to be a wet and slippery ball and surface.  Avoid the moulded sole boots.



Game Previews:



My PicksPies by 11 points. BOG: Pendles (at CHF) – 26 touches @ 93.0% DE and three goals and five Goal Assists; other Goals to Wells – four and Fas – two. Darcy – four Goal Assists. Crowd: 87, 000. Best competition: Treloar vs Parish.


TV? Free to Air on 7mate live from 3.00pm. Importantly, for those overseas (and I know some of you are – Hope two of you enjoyed your time together in Vienna?), AFL Live Overseas is changing. Go to:


VFL. Round 2, Sunday, 23 April; bounce at 1.00pm.  Versus Essendon at Windy Hill.


Other Things:


Reporting.  C’mon ‘Reply to All’ – all views are welcome –  I know some of you go to this game every year – Reports pls?


Footy Almanac.  Remember our little brief gets lodged online at The Footy Almanac site at


Go Pies.




  1. Thanks Cam. I am finding the Pies absolutely intriguing. And the analysis wide and varied.

    As someone who follows it so closely Cam, why do you think Nathan Buckley so divides opinion?

    And how is the ‘lack of application’ – which you identify as an observable problem – addressed. Is that a capability issue? Or an attitudinal issue?

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Spot on with your comments about our midfielders ball use. There’s much to like about Adams and Treloar, but their disposal makes them a long way off being considered ‘elite’ players in my opinion.
    Don’t see Keefe as a forward at all, but a definite defender option if Reid was to get shifted forward. And Keefe would be by far a better second ruck option than J.White.
    I really hope they don’t rush J.Daicos in…
    Go pies.

  3. Steve Fahey says

    Our game plan is hard to watch and seems difficult for players to execute. There is so much indecision when we go forward !

    We depend heavily on numbers around the contest and massive pressure on the opposition, which we haven’t been able to sustain over weeks, let alone a whole season. The preference to play 5 forwards and 7 defenders simply hasn’t worked and contributed to the demise of Travis and is not helping Darcy Moore. Roberton had 32 possessions as St Kilda’s spare, 20 in the first half and continually set up forward forays. We went 6 on 6 for about 15 minutes in the third quarter when we barely touched the ball before reverting to playing the plus one defender.

    What it means is that if/when we win a clearance, especially a centre clearance, the forwards are out numbered and the quick kick forward comes back more often than not. Against Richmond this happened four times in the third quarter, during which the game was lost. Surely you want to set up to anticipate winning the contest, especially with the midfield talent we have, and giving your forwards a 50:50 chance of beating their opponent/their zone (and/or getting fortunate when a quick kick is scuffed forward) or at worst neutralising the contest and creating a stoppage.

    We are too predictable and one-dimensional, as Jim K notes in his excellent report -see .

    I agree with Luke Reynolds that Reid or Howe needs to go forward – we are the third-lowest scoring team at present, having kicked, 12,11, 11 and 7 goals. And one of them had to go forward in the last quarter against the Saints when the game was winnable, albeit that we didn’t deserve to win it. The Saints were dead on their feet in the last 10 minutes and we had chances but didn’t have anyone forward who could take a grab.

  4. Thanks people. Great comments by each.

    John, I simply don’t know why the response to Bucks can be so negative. I suspect Bucks and Eddie are seen as a ‘team’ and criticism of either applies to both. My personal view regarding Eddie is to remember the state of the Club when he took over. Regarding coaching, the effectiveness of a coach ultimately rests on the team’s success (or otherwise). You can get away with descriptors like “rebuilding”, etc, etc, for a while. But Collingwood is now past that point. We have a pretty good List, in my view, but are still managing to lose. Which neatly links into your other question – re application. After the Sydney game (over 100 tackles) to produce the last performance was disappointing. Application, in my view, reflects motivation and whilst the coach is ultimately responsible the players, and particularly their on-field leadership group, need to work at this. I loved the way Maxy performed as Captain. I could also admire the fact that Heater never shut up in the Backline (watch him at GWS he hasn’t changed) but our Leadership Group need to stand up and be heard on the ground. And I am, of course, amused at the recent criticism of Clarkson – Get real, people, look at the record.

    Luke, thanks for your comments. I wouldn’t disagree withy your proposal re Reid or Howe forward. I can’t recall if we’ve ever seen Keeffe forward at AFL level but certainly those two are tried and tested successful Forwards. What I’d really like to see is a bit of flexibility during the game – from the coach’s box – shift Reid forward; stick an extra into the Backline; sic Goldie onto someone. Do what the coach is responsible for – see the game and respond.

    Steve, also many thanks for your comments. Yes, I loved Jim K’s report too – simply outstanding. I totally agree the concerns you raised regarding entry into the Forward Line. My pretty consistent criticism last year (in particular) was how the ball was delivered (to Trav). It continues now – I can scream at the TV when I see a Mid kick a huge up and under into the 50 without actually looking up to see where it should go. I was less critical of Darcy last week – he got further up the ground and did some good work, without getting any goals. The Last Quarter was fascinating – we actually could have won (not that we really would have deserved to) – when Schade kicked his goal, followed by Hoskin-Elliott’s Behind (which could have been a Goal), the margin could have come under a kick. However, I agree with you, we didn’t deserve it.

    To all of us – Go Pies.

  5. Incredible detail, Cam.

    I wonder: If a plan fails in its execution, is the plan a failure?

    If the executors muck up with poor disposal, probably the executors have failed.
    If a plan is built that wrongly assumes people can execute it, probably the planner has failed.
    Humans being humans.

  6. Cam Hooke says

    Indeed, sir. No truer statement.

    According to General Patton, “without a plan, you are just a tourist”. And, of course, the old military adage, “no plan survives crossing the Start Line” (or in this case, potentially, the opening bounce). I can’t help feeling in relation to the first that there were just a few Pie tourists on the ground last week. In relation to the second, this is where I’d like to see some coaching-box reactivity to the plan and its failings, for whatever reason.


  7. I’ve never been so interested in Collingwood in my life.

  8. Also, Did anyone see the Open Mike reprising of the Buckley interview from his first year as coach. I liked the logic in Buckley and his capacity to think on his feet.

  9. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Hi Cam,
    The plan is fine when it works, but I do question why Bucks is not prepared to take risks to change plans according to the opposition we play. Why not swing Reid forward when you can see that our midfield is dominating yet the ball keeps rebounding?
    JTH, Bucks has done just about everything right apart from coaching a team that wins more games than it loses. If we have to ask 6 years in whether he can or can’t coach the answer is all too clear. Bucks’ logic and explanations are hard to fault, but they have become too repetitive: “We couldn’t execute” (We can see that. What were you training for in the previous 7 months? He needs to take more risks by throwing players around on match day. However, the Collingwood dilemma is more than just Bucks. The Toorak Boys Club runs that institution and they don’t like criticism. Collingwood is now a microcosm of Putin’s Russia. Maybe it’s time for a revolution !!

  10. “Collingwood is a microcosm of Putin’s Russia”

    I can safely say I wasn’t expecting that PhilD.

  11. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Time for the Magpie Bolsheviks to assemble and overthrow Eddie and his cronies JTH !!

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