Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life: No cause for alarm, yet

True Believers, greetings.


Okay, a pretty depressing few days.  We were slaughtered in the first pre-season game by GWS and our girls went down ‘fighting’ and are out of the Finals (again).  But we shouldn’t be slashing our wrists, yet.




My comments last week following our first practice match were pretty negative; perhaps unjustly so – who knows. I blame the fact that it was and will be one of the few occasions I’ll get to watch the guys live on the paddock. The game was reasonably competitive except for the 3rd Quarter – GWS: 6 Goals to Pies nil. But, practice matches are, of course, ‘practice’ and what the objectives of the game are, what the coaches are looking for and the specific achievements are not clear to us, ‘mere mortals’.


  • Match Report:  Not sure (actually, positively, I do not) agree the Best. Amongst a pretty awful performance, including awful individual skills, some good performances (as assessed by me) by Mihocek (on Jeremy Cameron) and Stephenson; no-one else jumps out at me.
  • To reinforce, game Team Statistics:

–         Frees. 14 (Collingwood) / 15 ( GWS).  No distinction, but it is also subject to where and when they are awarded – see the comments regarding the significance of an incident in the AFLW game.

–         Hit-outs: 34 (Pies) / 18 (GWS). I don’t doubt Grundy’s ability to get the tap.  What I’m unconvinced about is his ability to tap it somewhere useful.  Turning this massive advantage into even Clearances, see next numbers, is both notable and quite extraordinary.  The Mids, together, had a very poor day at the office.

–         Clearances: 25/32.  From the hugely positive Hit-out number ratio the battle for Clearances was extraordinary. And, of course, Possessions are not only about the number of touches.  Next?

–         Inside 50s: 32 / 59.  Yep, the ‘killer’.  From a position of close equality of Possession our connection to the Forwards was simply awful.  GWS connected twice as frequently as we did.  Indeed, from the sidelines it seemed even more pronounced.  The question – who were the Mids passing the ball to? Check the Disposal Efficiency percentages under the Full-Time Stats / Advanced Statistics in the Match Report: We had 12 players with DE under 75%; they had 5.  I haven’t had a close look at our Mids (perhaps you could?).

–         Marks inside 50: 5/9.  Reflects above.  Actually the transition to Marks would be assessed as poor by both teams.

–         Scoring shots: 11/26.  GWS’s transition of Scoring shots is significantly better than ours.

–         Goals: 5/14.  Pretty fair flow-on from above.

General comment?  The Clearances, given the ruck dominance, was ‘disappointing; so was the link between the Mids and the Forwards – I can’t recall any goal that resulted from the uninterrupted flow of possessions.  Comment by Adam Curley, AFL website: The Magpies haven’t solved their scoring issues. They got enough from dual key forwards Ben Reid and Mason Cox to be encouraged, but if Nathan Buckley intends to use gun youngster Darcy Moore in defence, they need to find more options. Travis Varcoe started well but faded badly, while the likes of Tim Broomhead and Josh Smith just couldn’t find the footy.

  • Bucks comments:  Worth a view, but a bit vague.
  • Next?  Second (and final) practice match against the Western Bulldogs in Moe (What is it about Collingwood and Moe?) – Saturday, 10 March; bounce – 1.05pm. The Dogs defeated Hawthorn last week in a Third Quarter blitz that mirrored our own experience against GWS (a slightly lesser degree).  For John, their 24 Frees swamped the Hawks’ paltry 13.  From a Collingwood ‘family’ perspective, Billy’s boy, Liam, was stretchered off last week and may not play this week.

–         What to look for?  Again, it is hard to know what the coaches are using the game for.  Buck’s comments , above, are a bit vague (to say the least).  I would like to see some smooth flow of possessions leading to scores.

–         Who to look for?  A few are likely to return, but I’d still like to see a focus on the newbies. And we need a second Ruck.

–         TV.  No FTA TV coverage.

  • As per last week’s advice, the formal 2018 Season launch of both the Collingwood AFL and Netball seasons will be on tomorrow at the Holden Centre.
  • Pies AFL team Leadership Group: Captain: Pendlebury; Vice-Captain: Steele Sidebottom; Leadership Group: Adams, Dunn and Howe.


AFLX.  Nothing more, for the time being.




Okay, we are now out of Finals consideration.  We need to continue ‘fighting’ to establish the team for the future.  Nothing provides such confidence than beating or narrowly losing to the Finalists.  Go Pies.


–         Frees. 14 (Pies) / 20 (WB).  Interestingly, in one period the Pies kicked four goals from resulting from five Inside 50s; each from a Free.  But the reverse can also be significant: The coach: “We’re having a shot on goal 25m out, straight in front with 90 seconds to go to make it two points and we give away a stupid free kick”.  “That hurts you, it kills you”.  And the offence was away from the play.

–         Hit-outs: 43 (Pies) / 16 (WB).  I’m speechless.  With this extraordinary dominance in Hit-outs, (again) our next step: Clearances should have been much higher.  This level of dominance can establish a level of superiority in the chain that is a huge challenge for an opposition for everything that follows.

–         Clearances: 20 / 20.  Given the ratio above, this is a very poor result.  Possession, of course, is not the only aspect; the next step is also not so flash (see comments under AFL, above, about Disposal Efficiency).

–         Inside 50s: 22 / 30.  Poor result given the above.

–         Marks inside 50: 1 / 7.  An atrocious result.

–         Scoring shots: 11 / 14.  Whatever!!

–         Goals: 6 / 7. Better.

General observations: It is difficult to live with such an extraordinary penalty starting so positively with Hit-outs that is lost in the next steps – making it hard for everything that follows. The follow-on connectivity provides the start of the scoring process – get it right and the end result is a score; get it wrong and it’s a lot of effort for not much. Siekman admitted, after the game, that errors cost the team.  Connecting with his comments (I included a couple of weeks ago) ‘learning the game’ should be a key team objective.

  • Coach’s comments: See above.
  • Next? Saturday, 10 March; bounce: 4.35pm. Versus the Brisbane Lions in Moreton Bay.  The Lions are sitting 2nd on the Ladder with three Wins from five games.  They’ve Lost to WB in Round 2 and last week to Melbourne.  Given our solid Win over Melbourne and our close result against WB, we should go into this game with confidence, but, potentially, without the Captain Chiocca.  Go Pies.  Regardless of the circumstances, we are still Side by Side with you.

–         TV.  No FTA TV coverage.




  • Intra-club hit-out,  Friday night saw the VFL hit-out with a bunch of AFL-listed players (Howe, Moore and Fas) on the way back from injuries.  Positive comments were made about Wills, Blair, Sier, McLarty, Lynch and Murray.  Tyler Brown also showed glimpses.  No sign of Marty Hore, last year’s Best and picked in the VFL competition Team of the Year.  Wait and see.
  • Next?  More pre-season games:

–         Thursday, 8 March; bounce 6.00pm.  Versus Richmond at Punt Road Oval.

–         Friday, 16 March; bounce 7.00pm.  Versus Coburg at the Holden Centre.

  • Did anyone go to the Intra-club hit-out?  Your comments?







  • Haven’t seen anything following their pre-season game in Traralgon last Saturday.  Was anyone there? Wider readership– Footy Almanac readers?
  • As per last week’s advice, the formal 2018 Season launch of both the Collingwood AFL and Netball seasons will be on tomorrow at the Holden Centre.
  • As a lead-in to the Commonwealth Games and our Netball season, the team will participate in the Tasmanian  Netball Invitational Series competition to be held in Hobart and Launceston on 27 and 29 March.  The competition involves teams from Northern Ireland, Wales and the Tasmanian Magpies in addition to our girls.  Watch?





All, onward and upward.


Go Pies.




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