Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life: Close loss to the reigning premiers

True Believers, the season starts. A disappointing, if not too surprising, start for the AFL season – a loss to the reigning Premiers by 14 points. A great performance by the girls in the Magpies Netball side and another VFL practice match.

Last Weekend?

Magpies Netball:

Round 6 – 26 March versus NSW Swifts at the Sydney Olympic Park. A big win for the girls. Go to Well done, ladies.


Bulldogs, last week. A loss 15.10.10 to 12.14.86.

Match Review. Go to and

A couple of BGO (Blinding Glimpses of the Obvious) from Bucks:

  • There was a lot to like.” I agree, there was; except we lost.
  • Our ball use cost us“. Right, like there is something else of consequence in a ‘ball game’?
Observations.  A couple of observations, including a surprise (to me):

An interesting match between teams that finished last year 1st and 12th. With the number of last year’s GF players (plus Trav) of course they should have been ‘rock-solid’ favourites to win; which they did, but not convincingly. A minor issue of semantics – I think we didn’t lose convincingly; they won on the basis of our Loss; not the other way around. The Pies took the game to them. The game could be categorised by two key problem periods, from our perspective: 1. our lost opportunities in Q1 and 2. a bit of a lapse of attention in Q3.  In fact, Q1 they scored 4 goals to our 1 in a period when we had all the momentum and most of the ball use.  The application by everyone throughout the game was fantastic. Great performance by the Midfield, particularly the rucks – the surprise to me was how well Cox did as a ruck. Well done. Statistics? Again, limited by not having the statistics by quarter, the game statistics indicate we won most areas: Scoring Shots 26 to 25; Hit-Outs: 50 to 25; Clearances: 43 to 25 (similar at the Centre and at stoppages around the ground) and Contested Possessions: 159 to 135. Importantly, we won the Inside 50s: 62 to 44 and the Marks Inside 50: 13 to 9. Much of the rest was very similar – Disposal Efficiency over 80%: we had 10; they had 11. And our dominance in Q1 was even more substantial. The numbers reflect the performance in all areas except for the scoreboard. Some criticisms: We are still going into the 50 with high ‘up and under’ passes; entry must be to leading Forwards. And there were a few defensive lapses resulting in ‘soft goals’ to WB, though the shift of players forward and back can take a little time. I still think we need to have that ‘extra man’ in defence.

Very pleased with our best, particularly amongst the mids (Pendles, Treloar, Sidebottom and Adams). Fas and Reid also got a mention (forward and back, obviously) though the effort and achievement (as shown by the statistics above) were pretty well spread across the team. And, as indicated above, I would have recognised Grundy and Cox for their clear dominating performance.

Loved Goldsack’s goal, courtesy of Varcoe.

I was pleased for Trav, and disappointed for our team, when he kicked his first goal – I have absolutely no problem with the ‘booing’ of opponent team-members – like Trav Varcoe was booed after his ‘little hit’ on Dalhaus (watch for the MRP decision – I suspect a single game – correct – offered one). I was more impressed by Trav’s ‘Goal Assist’ very early on to Hunter to give them their first goal. Lesson for us? It was how the ball was delivered to him, leading.

Have you ever wondered about how a game can change on a single incident? My incident? Cox’ mark not paid immediately in front of the goal with about five minutes left, following Pendles goal a few minutes earlier. If paid, and he goaled, it would have given us two, unanswered goals in a row, and the game momentum and have reduced the WB lead to four points – seriously achievable at that stage. What happened? Not paid and the ball went ‘end to end’ to the WB goal where they scored a behind (I think), but the closure of the margin was lost, as was the momentum; as was the game.


VFL.  Practice match against Footscray – a loss, by a fair bit (110 to 62), but it was a practice match. Report – Kirby (Forward), McCarthy (Forward), Dunn (Back), Daicos and Woodward.  It’s worth keeping an eye on the Best to identify who might take that step up. Scharenberg and Keeffe both relatively quiet.

This week?

Magpies Netball

Round 7 – Magpies vs Vixens; Sunday, 2 April; tip-off at 3.00pm at Hisense Arena, Melbourne.  Game coverage via Telstra.  Go girls.


Game?  Round 2 – Thursday, 30 March 2017; Collingwood versus Richmond at the MCG; bounce: 7.20pm (I don’t know why the bounce timings change week by week either).  Remember the VFL game precedes it; bounce at 4.00pm at Punt Road Oval. You could ‘do’ both. This qualifies as a ‘blockbuster’. In fact nearly every one of our games do.

Teams. Likely out Wednesday night.  Go to


Richmond are sitting 3rd after their Round 1 win over Carlton, which they won handsomely 132 to 89 points. Their percentage: 148.3.

Things & People to watch for? Tackling. The Tigers were at the bottom of the listing of Team Tackles last year (an average of about 60 per game) – something to be fixed. Well, so far, they have – last week: 88 tackles. Watch for Vlastuis who had 11 tackles against Carlton. Their BOG last week, by a country mile, was Martin – 4 goals, 33 Disposals. Their Midfield has benefited from recruiting that brought Prestia (28 Disposals) and Caddy into the group. Also watch Castagna and Butler Forwards and Conca off the HB line. And Nankervis (there’s a long-lost name from my youth – ex-Geelong player, if I remember) performed okay in the ruck. And Rance at Full Back – quiet last week; don’t expect two bad games in a row. And, of course, Cotchin – always dangerous.  

Implications?  Martin needs to be shut down – tagged? The Mids competition should be fascinating – our ‘competition-best’ Mids versus their ‘babes’ and Grundy and Cox will need to try and dominate the HO. And Darcy is in for a good game. And as a ‘running team’, how do we counter their endeavour?  We can only do one thing – match it.


A short turnaround. Fortunately few additional injuries. Maybe Aish will be available; not sure who I would drop.

3rd versus 11th, for what that’s worth after one Round. We are 11th with a percentage of 86.0%.

I have absolutely no criticism of the Mids last week, including the rucks. A great ‘dominating’ performance. Keep up the good work.  

Backs? Who to shut down Martin with? Need strong, fast and mobile opponent – maybe Ramsay – wear him like a glove? Other defence – add the ‘extra man’ to provide ‘third man up’ capability – Scharenberg? But who to drop (maybe Varcoe’s spot)? I thought the kick-ins were better – I can’t think of a single ‘disaster’. Still needs work to speed up the process.

Forwards? We wasted our opportunities last week – we should, at the very least, have scored evenly. From our advantage in effort, possessions and entry statistics, particularly in Q1, we should have been way ahead. Focus on both parts of the entry to the 50: the delivery and the collection. Both are critical.

Changes?  Probably not too many except for maybe Varcoe (offered one week; take it) and Aish swapping. Your thoughts?

We can win this. Go guys.

Weather?  Partly cloudy; medium chance of showers during the day; minimum 13 degrees.  The surface will be wet and the ball slippery – consider sleeved jumpers and boot stops. 


Game Previews:

My Picks.  Pies by 11 points.  Treloar – BOG – 34 touches at 84.0% Disposal Efficiency (DE); Goals to Fas – 4, Moore – 3 and Cox – 2.  Crowd: 85 000 (remember Richmond are still one of the largest Clubs).

TV? Free to Air on 7mate live from 7.00pm.

VFL. Next practice match versus Richmond also on Thursday, 30 March, at Punt Road Oval; bounce: 4.00pm. Still enough time to get to the MCG after this game.

Other Things:

ReportingC’mon ‘Reply to All’ – give us your views – feel free to be contrary. We are ‘family’, after all.

Footy Almanac.  Remember our little brief gets lodged on-line at the Footy Almanac site at

Go Pies.



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