Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life : NAB Challenge Update

True Believers all: greetings.

Some interesting reporting from the intra-Club practice match on Thursday last week.  Did anyone get to it?  If you did I’d welcome a bit of a ground report to validate some of the reporting.  Observation 1:  There were 1,000 to 2,000 people there (according to Greenwood); Observation 2: Swanny is ‘back’; and 3. Freeman and De Goey impressed. The player assessments courtesy of Ronny Lerner  (except for the crowd numbers). The list of those who “stood out” totalled 14 players (counting the aforementioned), so it’s almost worth identifying who didn’t perform well.  What do you get out of the reporting?

Some other observations:  Matthew Scharenberg is nearly at full training or is an indefinite injury depending on where you look. Who knows? There is a good injury update on both the AFL and the the Collingwood website routinely by Neil Balme (Scharenberg: “really pleased”, “play sooner rather than later” – whatever those statements mean – Would you buy a used car from this man?).


NAB Challenge:

Thursday night we battle Hawthorn in Launceston; bounce at 7.40pm.  Just when are Hawthorn going to move to Tasmania permanently?  I think it would be good to move a few more teams out of Melbourne (not counting Geelong in Geelong and St Kilda in Frankston) – Carlton, Essendon and North Merlbourne, plus Footscray, (did I miss anyone?) would be my preferences to go (yep, go anywhere apart from Canberra works for me).  Which team do you think might like Darwin?  Or even Wellington (no, not the town in NSW or the Shire in Victoria; the other one where they talk funny)?

In the past I’ve tried to put down some guesses as to who to watch, what might eventuate during the game and why and where our respective strengths lie:

Tonight’s Game: This is not that important here – this is a practice match after all and will be treated that way by both sides.  The last thing anyone wants is to ‘pull a hammie’ or get suspended in the pre-season. The teams can be found by clicking on this link.  Note a few missing – Pendles, Trav, Swanny, Witts and, (still) Reid (the last two injured – still three weeks away).

Included (as expected and predicted by yours truly) are six newbies.  Watch for the rotations and keep an eye on Greenwood, Varcoe, Crisp, Karnezis, Grundy, De Goey and Freeman. The Hawks have included 13 members of their 2014 Premiership team, including some serious names – Roughead, Mitchell, Puopolo, Lewis and Gibson; plus ex Demon James Frawley as a newbie. Both squad lists will be reduced to 26 names later today.

What Are We Looking For During The Game?  A lot of ‘one-on-one’ competition across the ground, key links going forward (midfield to wing, to half forward, to the leading key forward (and links out of the Backline adding to this)) and pressure, pressure and more pressure in both the forward and backlines.


Assorted other things to watch out for:

Hawthorn think they’re a hope to catch us in fan numbers, currently 61,490 chasing us at 64,507; and Richmond are currently at 58,260. What does this indicate? For Richmond supporters, “hope springs eternal“; for Hawks supporters, “follow the Premierships“. For us?  Up and down; “steady as she goes, first missed Finals in 9 years/no Premiership in ’15 – no change,slow growth“. Well done.

Umpires are being encouraged to blow the whistle more. Thanks Daniel.  My view has always been that the best umpiring performance was when you didn’t notice them.  I think there are parallels with national behaviour – the US examples of basketball and American football where it’s pretty obvious the referees think they are part of the game; we humble ‘Orstanes’ – Aussie Rules umpires, Union and League referees? Cricket? Understated, quiet competence, but very clearly in charge.  Your views?

And Bally? A seat on the Sunday Footy Show becons. Good luck to him.


TV tonight: No free to air for the NAB Cup. Coverage on Fox from 7.00pm. Find a friend with Fox.  Hey, I just found an ad for TV coverage – AFL ‘Live Pass’- a four weeks’ free trial:  Go to


Confession Time: Yes, I watched Gayle score his 215 at Manuka in the West Indies / Zimbabwe game.  Unbelievable.  One of his sixes went over my head (about 2 metres up).  Remember the Manuka ground playing area is the same size as the MCG.  Last cricket comment.  Go Footy.


Next game.  Collingwood versus Carlton – Bendigo, Sunday, 15 March 2015 starting at 4.40pm.  A bit of a day trip from Canberra but not too far.


Go Pies!

Leave a Comment