Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life: Pies weekends are getting worse (oh dear!)



True Believers,  I didn’t actually think we could have a worse weekend than the previous one; but we did.  Firstly, the positives – the girls.  Well done, toppling the Ladder Leader Giants, showing the competition very clearly why the Pies were Premiership favourites before the season started.  Outstanding.  Now the footy – that was awful, both VFL and AFL.  The VFL team weren’t beaten; they were humiliated.  And the AFL team?  Against a pretty average Essendon side, they were beaten showing all the attributes, or lack thereof, that they repeat each week.  It’s almost like they don’t read the weekly advice (given free of charge) because nothing changes.  See below.


Last Weekend?


Magpies Netball:  Round 9 – Sunday, 23 April – Magpies vs Giants in Sydney.  A great win against the then Ladder-leader, Giants, 59 – 56, consolidating the Pies place within the Four and showing why our Pies team was early favourite in this inaugural season.  Well done, Ladies; outstanding.  Match Reports here and here.



Anzac Day ‘blockbuster’.  Beaten by Essendon 15.10.100 to 11.16.82.

Match Review  ; Buck’s comments



Our Best: I don’t agree with the Best listing.  Why?  Well, lets look at our Midfield: Lots of touches, and Wells, Treloar and Sidebottom were listed amongst the Best, but their Disposal Efficiency was, respectively, 62.5%, 71.8% and 68.0%.  The others? Grundy – 66.7%, Pendles – 65.0%, Crisp – 66.7%.  Viewed ‘simply, the majority are wasting one out of every three possessions.  Other players – Adams -45.0%, Fas – 50.0% and Hoskin-Elliott – 50.0%.  This is not good enough.


Check the other statistics: Apart from the scoring shots, the general game statistics were reasonably even.  I was surprised that we lost the Clearance numbers after winning the Hit-Outs, noting that this represents their Midfield dominance.


What stood out? A good crowd.  The lack of effort by Collingwood.  How important every game now is, starting with Geelong in five days time – see some commentary below.


Your thoughts?


VFL.  Round 2 – a Loss to Essendon at Windy Hill; 38 to 118 (yep; not a typo; an 80 point defeat).  Not so good.  See Match Reports here and here.  Anything useful out of the game?  No, not at all.


Next week?


Magpies Netball


Round 10 –  Sunday, 30 April; tip off – 12.00pm.  Magpies versus Firebirds at the Launceston Silverdome.  We are still sitting Fourth with 5 Wins from 9 games – on 10 points one place ahead of of the Firebirds on 9 points – but have the momentum of back to back wins against the Giants and Fever behind us; and we defeated the Firebirds 54 to 50 in Round 2. Game coverage via Telstra.  Go girls.


Learn more about the team and the game.




Our Game?  Round 6 – Geelong versus Collingwood at the MCG; Sunday, 30 April; bounce 3.20pm.


We went into this game last year as rock-solid underdogs, by a country mile.  Of the 24 ‘experts’, Mr Shorten was the solitary pick for the Pies.  I argued that we could (and should) win and I was correct. If you need a reminder (proof), see my match report. Not too much gloating in the commentary, just a little bit.


So, what did we do right last year and why is this important?  Our First Quarter was outstanding: 7.5 to 0.3 – doesn’t get any better; Sidebottom shut down Dangerfield (for most of the game – he escaped a bit in the Final Quarter), Greenwood did a fabulous job on Joel Selwood throughout the whole game and Hawkins was kept quiet until the Final Quarter (I don’t remember who had him – probably Brownie (did a pretty good job on him on behalf of St Kilda last weekend), when he cut loose. Key lessons for us are:


  1. The tactics work and the players are largely the same on both sides this year.
  2. The loss of control in the Final Quarter means that other moves need to be on the table, with the very real flexibility to use them during the game, just in case. I would suggest ‘double-teaming’ on Hawkins at that stage as an option and a fresh ‘run with’ (love that term) for Dangerfield later in the game, maybe with one of the frequently underutilised Forward smalls.
  3. Both 1 and 2, above, are negative, defensive measures.  To win the game you have to pursue the positives – control the Clearances, head to Goal and score, like we did in the First Quarter last year, but across the whole game. See later comment r.e. Geelong’s ‘finish’.


The only team statistic that we won across the whole game last year was Contested Possessions (153 – 138).  Interestingly, we statistically lost Inside 50s (46 to 54), Marks inside 50 (10 to 17), Tackles (70 to 85), Hit-outs (21 to 38) and Clearances (just); of course, we destroyed them in every area in the First Quarter, but then, seemingly, let it slide.  The question now, is how we can exploit an expected dominance in Hit-outs and Clearances to achieve better entries into the 50 (and more Goals)?


The situation is not too different this year, though, in my view, we have fewer excuses.  Geelong are sitting Second on the Ladder behind Adelaide; both with 5 Wins from 5 games, separated by percentage (152.4 cf 147.0%).  Working backwards, they’ve Won against St Kilda (who beat us), Hawthorn (who everyone (except WCE) seems to be beating at the moment and let’s be honest, Hawthorn were absolutely pathetic in their match against Geelong a couple od weeks ago), Melbourne (not an ‘easy-beat’, North (admittedly by a solitary point) and Freo (another demolition job).  We have 1 Win from 5; one of which was against Sydney by a point and the other against a very young Essendon side in front of 100,000 people.  We are sitting at 13th place on the Ladder with a 85.7% percentage. The Geelong side go into this game as a very, very, very clear favourite; just ask any Geelong-supporter (there are three on our Distribution List – g’day to each – Do any of you wish to make a comment from Geelong’s perspective?  John?).


Teams. Selections on Thursday evening (tomorrow night).  Go to




Geelong (with Adelaide), at the moment, are setting the standard (can’t wait for Round 11).  Their team is working extraordinarily well, as are the component parts.


Things & People to watch for?  The same names keep reappearing amongst their Best: Dangerfield, Selwood and Hawkins.  In addition, so far this year, Menzel and Tuohy have been notable contributors amongst a collection of their Back Pockets / Forward Pockets who spread the load; also Blicavs in the Midfield.  Of course Mackie (Back) and Guthrie (Mid) can both be game-breakers.  Of course, for those that follow the news, Parsons will be missing from the HF Line due to his “wandering elbow”.  Noteworthy gaps amongst their Best, importantly, appear to be others in the Midfield and at each of the key points in the “corridor”, with the obvious exception of Hawkins at the front end.  This seems to place a huge reliance on those key players identified.  It also provides opportunities for us to exploit.  Another key characteristic of Geelong; they play to the end of the game – they’ve managed to score 34 Goals in their Final Quarters, so far this season, with nine scored against them; there is no let up.  If anything they are slower to get going (their First Quarters are a bit more balanced: 20 Goals for; 16 against); but they run to the finish. I have not checked our scores – well, I hadn’t, but now have:   .


Implications?  Our requirement is to outscore Geelong to take advantage of their slower start, and to close down their attack, particularly later in the game. We need to take care regarding the value of ‘pushing forward’ as against allowing ‘soft goals’.  Grundy could have a ‘field-day’ against a less competitive ruck opponent, hopefully leading our Mids to dominate Clearances.  With the identified reliance on the three key Geelong players, and the fact that the tactic we applied last year worked, do it again, adjusted to fix the shortcomings – tag Dangerfield with Sidebottom, sic Greenwood onto Selwood and ‘double-team’ against Hawkins (Schrade and (maybe) Scharenberg), and don’t be reluctant to change during the game.  Regarding the commitment to the end of the game – run and keep running. Your thoughts?




A shorter turnaround for us – 5 days.


Mids. Pendles out of Midfield.  Ruck relief – Keeffe.  Note need for tagging roles.


Backs? Extra – Scharenberg.  Rotate Reid and Howe between FF and FB positions; replace with Keeffe.


Forwards?  Move Pendles to CHF to share HF line with Darcy; extra position into the Backline.  Rotate Reid and Howe between FF and FB positions.


Game Plan. A suggestion or three, interestingly two of which apply directly to the Coach, not the players:

  1. After the Plan is made, be prepared to change it during the game – this is called ‘flexibility’.  It also reflects what the coach actually can do during the game – see the game; decide how to respond and then respond.  Let’s see a bit of dynamism out of the coach’s box;
  2. To allow this to happen some ‘reserve’ capability needs to be incorporated into the initial planning – examples might be: “Goldsack, be prepared to move onto….in a “run with” role“; “Reid (or Howe), be prepared to move to FF” and “Fas, be prepared to “run with” Dangerfield in the Final Quarter“; plus others; and
  3. Kick-ins.  This is the start of our drive forward – we need to have very clear options understood by everyone to make sure we do not lose the advantage that possession of the ball at that point (no pun intended) gives us.  We gave away that possession on a number of occasions last week.


Other ideas or changes?  Your thoughts?


We can win this.


Weather?  Partly cloudy; rain not forecast but likely to be a wet and slippery ball and surface.  Avoid the moulded sole boots.  How many times do we see players slip sliding around?


Game Previews:


  • Agenda. Michael Christian’s Agenda at the Pies website in the next day or so.  Go to:  This is very short but is always worth watching. And I love his enthusiasm.
  • AFL Match Day Preview –  Later today or tomorrow; their prediction – I suspect Geelong, by a lot.
  • 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  Last week saw 14 for us vs 10 for a Bombers’ Win. This week? In a few days – likely to be very strongly in favour of the Cats.  Always useful to know what people who know far more about the game than us, think.  Except when they are wrong; and we can always enjoy that.              .


My PicksPies by 17 points. BOG: Reid – 17 touches (including 10 marks Inside 50) @ 73.0% DE with seven Goals and two Goal Assists.  Darcy – three Goals and four Goal Assists.  Crowd: 89,000.  Best competition: Greenwood versus Selwood.


TV?  Free to Air on 7mate live from 3.00pm.  Remember, for those overseas (and I know some of you are – Hope you are each enjoying your holiday tripping?), AFL Live Overseas is changing.  Go to:


VFL. Round 3 – Sandringham at Trevor Barker Oval, Sandringham (also called a bunch of other names including, perhaps not surprisingly, Sandringham Oval); Saturday, 29 April; bounce – 2.00pm.  Who to watch in our side – Keeffe, Scharenberg, Crocker, Mayne, others?


Other Things:


  • ‘Eddie Watch’. Still quiet.  We have to keep winning, so Eddie can start ‘talking’.
  • ‘In Black and White’.  Have you read the April 2017 Club magazine – with the Captains of the AFL, AFLW and Magpies Netball sides on the cover?  It has a fantastic picture of all four teams (including the VFL side) seated together on pages 2 and 3 (doesn’t fit on one page).  Worth a look.
  • Manuka game.  For Canberra residents, remember the GWS / WB game on Friday, 28 April; bounce: 7.50pm.  For GWS members I think you still need to have a seat allocated (or sit on the ‘Hill’).  And, also for Canberrans, the Geelong game neatly coincides with the local Brumbies game, kick-off at 4.00pm.

The Future? 


A number of you have expressed very real concerns (how’s that for an understatement?) as to Collingwood potential under the current hierarchy (Eddie & Bucks).  I share those concerns to the point that I think we have a good List but are still losing.  Ultimately, the Coach and President are, always, responsible.  See article After the Siren: Time’s running out for Nathan Buckley.  One game at a time; imagine if we were to start winning regularly?


ReportingC’mon – all views are welcome.


Footy Almanac.  Remember our little brief gets lodged on-line at the Footy Almanac site.  As an example, have a look at the comments to and fro at  Worth a quick look-see.  Get involved in the discussion.  I have been assured by Footy Almanac editorial staff that they are “reasonably civilised, in public” (thanks, John). Have a look.


Go Pies.

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