Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life: Flying high

True Believers, that was a better weekend; started well and went on from there. A win against Sydney, a win by the girls, propelling them into the Super Netball Top 4, and a huge win in their final practice match to the VFL side – more on each below.


And a huge, personal, thanks to Krista and Janet for their sterling effort in getting to the game from Canberra (after school finished), their Facebook and text messages during the game and their Ground Report afterwards. Fantastic; thank you.


Now, firstly for the pessimists, I know that Roos is likely to be available towards the end of the 2017 season. Go to and note the comment regarding Collingwood as a potential suitor – “And then there’s Collingwood. Money won’t be an issue there“.  And my view (as the ultimate optimist): I have little doubt we will continue to improve and I expect we’ll finish Top 4 at the end of the H&A season. Premiership 2017, to match our 1917 one.


Last Weekend?


Magpies Netball:


Round 8.  A great Win over West Coast Fever, 56 to 43 pushing the team into the Top 4.  See Match Report at  Well done, ladies.




A good win. Last year we were demolished by Sydney by 81 points at this game and, in a lot of ways, it set the tone for the first half of our season. But changes abound – we had 12 new players compared with last year’s team; they had 10. I hope, after our two very competitive games in Rounds 1 and 2 that this game constitutes our season turning point.  The next game is critically important; as is the one after that.


Match Review. Go to, with a cautionary tale at, and Buck’s view at (hard to keep the smile off his face).


Best: Broadly concur: Adams, Grundy, Sidebottom, Fas, Treloar and Crisp are identified. I would have added Schade and Goldsack for their efforts in defence and Hoskin-Elliott (for his critical drive in the first quarter (and that last quarter goal, of course)). Both Grundy and Treloar deserve to be slipped a couple of places because of their Disposal Efficiency (DE) (see below).


Some observations:

  • ‘The 10 – Round 3 Best Moments’: – Two Pie entries: Hoskin-Elliott’s goal and Treloar’s grab, run, bounce, handball, kick and goal.
  • I loved the job the Back-6 did on Reid and Buddy – outstanding. But we have room to improve – we still gave them ‘Easy Goals’ – kicks across goal that turned into three goals for them.
  • As you might expect, most of the statistics were fairly even when measured across the entire game. The only areas of difference where we were substantially higher than Sydney were Disposals (436 vs 366) and Tackles (115 to 88). You could add Inside 50s (57 to 52) though I don’t see that as a huge margin. This is where statistics by Quarter are critical: We dominated the first quarter but this was not reflected on the scoreboard. We also dominated parts of the final quarter (at one stage we had 1 goal from 11 Inside 50s; they had 3 goals from 5 Inside 50s in the same period), but we managed to kick four Behinds in a row (each from pretty easy positions). And then Hoskin-Elliott kicked his impossible goal. And we survived.
  • Other less than positives: Our kick-ins need to be tightened up. The kick-in is the start of our ‘possession’ on the passage from our backline forward. We need to have a plan to maximise this ‘possession’, critically ‘keeping that possession’.
  • The game was a battle of pressure. In the face of our pressure, they had two players with DE over 80%; we had seven; the difference in Tackles would also have contributed. But some of our key players (Treloar – 46.4%, Grundy – 52.2% and Reid – 56.3% (even Pendles – 65.4%)) were achieving the equivalent of a lost ball every second possession – this is a huge waste from quality players.
  • Oh yeah, our kicking sucked (again) (apart from Fas in Q1), except for the difficult ones. What is it about “35 metres out, directly in front“?

VFL. The last practice match against North Ballarat – a Win by 94 points (always better than the alternative). Match Report at Of significance: Elliott got through the game (and kicked five), Crocker (Forward) was good, again; as was Dunn, down back. Scharenberg was also doing well (Back) but went off early after a head knock.  I’m still watching Keeffe. I’d be very surprised not to see Elliott picked in the AFL side after that performance. And the only thing that is keeping Scharenberg and Dunn out is the AFL side’s solid Back 6 performance.


This week?

Magpies Netball


Round 9 – Magpies vs Giants; tip-off at 1.00pm in Sydney. The Giants are sitting comfortably at the top of the table; this game will be a big ask. Game coverage via Telstra.  Go girls.




Another Big Claim: Okay, another Big Claim – This was our ‘Turning Point’. People will look back at the season, note that Sydney’s side is/was a good side and recognise the performance for what it was – a solid win. Now, let’s head into the future – the Saints – one game at a time.


Our Game? Round 4 – Sunday, 16 April; Collingwood vs St Kilda at Etihad; bounce: 3.20pm. This will be St Kilda’s third game at Etihad this year, and we’re only up to Round 4, though they are one win / one loss there, so far this year. Will someone explain to me why an apparent Collingwood home-game is played at Etihad, rather than our home, the MCG?


Teams. Out Thursday night. Go to




St Kilda. The Saints picked up their first win against Brisbane last weekend. This followed reasonably comfortable losses against Melbourne and the WCE. Their last game Match Report at It highlights some Saints’ vulnerabilities, particularly kicking accuracy (like us) – scores of  14.23 last week, and 13.19, the week before. But their forwards are big and there are some extra mids due in.


Things & People to watch for? Brownie, of course – Darcy’s nemesis for the day? For all the Canberrans, Josh Bruce – “local boy makes good” – actually his kicking last week let him down: 1.4 from five Marks inside 50, but he can be devastating. Needs someone fast, strong and mobile to match him.  St Kilda’s key performers this year have been Riewoldt who has been devastating apart from missing one game injured – last week: 28 touches @ 78.6% DE. That is impressive at CHF – Reid’s baby? Other performers have been Montagna, Dunstan, Steele and Ross amongst the mids. It starts to be a given that whichever team dominates the Midfield, will win the game. Also watch for Steven (punctured lung) and Armitage (groin) who may return, both adding to the midfield, after missing last week, injured. Either would be a big addition, if fit.


Implications? Darcy to expect Brownie; Reid or Goldie onto Riewoldt; and the mids must dominate; opponents to be tagged – watch and adjust during the game? Your thoughts?




Interestingly, the Saints produce an ‘Enemy Analysis’ (very ‘military’ of them) of their forthcoming opponent, the last was located at Have a bit of a look to find their latest – about us. Have a read and see what you think?


A nine-day turnaround for us; seven for them. 12th versus 10th, for what that’s worth. We are 12th with a percentage of 88.5%. They are above us on the ladder, at their home, and they should be favourites.


Mids. An outstanding and consistent performance by our mids, so far this year, but I would like them to lift their DE, even if this requires them to ‘slow down’ a fraction.  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 as a potential replacement (for White).


Backs? The back 6 are doing really well – check Agenda (link below) to listen to the statistics – Howe, Reid & Schade – fantastic. Who to shut down Riewoldt with – maybe Goldsack, again. Other defence – add the ‘extra man’ to provide ‘third man up’ capability – Scharenberg or Dunn? But who to drop? I thought the kick-ins are improving, but are not faultless yet. Still need work.


Forwards? We wasted our opportunities when we dominated last week – a continuing problem. Focus on both parts of the Entry to the 50: the ‘delivery’ and the ‘receipt’. We should see ‘the specky’ as a last resort; Forwards (and the passes to them Inside 50) should be leading in different directions. Both are critical. I see this as our principal team failing at the moment.


Changes? Changes to a “winning team” should always be minimised. That said, we very nearly lost and need to set the team up for more comfortable wins. Suggestions: Elliott – in vice Phillips; Keeffe vice White; Scharenberg vice Smith and Dunn vice Mayne. And Darcy needs to bag a few – and should be on notice to perform. It is good to see him further up the field, but he also needs to slip his defender and ‘present’ as an option Inside 50 (and best if he can be one of multiple concurrent leading options); and he must kick successfully if he wants to be a successful, key Forward. Your thoughts?


We can win this.



Weather? Under ‘the roof’; who cares? Go with the moulded sole boots.



Game Previews:


  • Michael Christian’s Agenda at My contrary view is that the 1st Quarter against Geelong last year was a better Quarter of football than last week’s, based solely on the ‘finishing’. This is worth watching. I love Michael’s enthusiasm.
  • AFL Match Day Preview –  There probably later today; their prediction – ? Watch.
  • Natoli’s ‘Ultimate Preview’ will be on the Pies Home Page at in the next few days.
  • The Age Preview – Should be at also in a few days.
  • Expert Tips – will be at in the next few days – likely to be fairly even. Last week’s 23 ‘experts’ picking a win for Sydney vs 1 for us is pretty inexpert; the expected margin was way off. Interestingly, this was matched by the ‘experts’ across the round (Mistakes: Freo (picked against 24 to 0), Carlton (picked against 22 to 2) and Gold Coast (picked against 24 to 0). Thank you, Mr Shorten for your obvious expertise.


My PicksPies by 31 points. BOG: Darcy 16 touches at 89.1% DE and 7 goals; Other goals to Elliott – 4 and Fas – 3.  Crowd: 53 000.  Best competition: Brown on Darcy.


TV? Free to Air on 7mate live from 3.00pm.


VFL. The VFL season starts against Coburg on Saturday, 15 April at Piranha Park (aka Coburg City Oval); bounce 2.40pm. Games on each day; anyone going to both?


Other Things:


  • ‘Eddie Watch’. All quiet, again. Very concerning when he’s quiet. Has he been up to anything in Melbourne that we should know about, particularly on his radio show, Melburnians?

Reporting.  C’mon ‘Reply to All’ – all views are welcome – Reports pls?


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


Go Pies.




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