Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life – Round 10 Preview

True Believers, okay last week was great.  Onward and upward, one week at a time.

The Season?  As per last week, forget the Season; forget the Ladder.  Both will look after themselves; we just need to win each week.

The Game:

Western Bulldogs (aka Footscray).  Sunday, 29 May at the G; bounce: 3.20pm (no, I don’t know why the strange range of start timings – I presume it has something to do with TV coverage).

11th vs 5th (we’re 11th if you need reminding); 94.4% (us) vs 133.9%; WB are 6/3; we’re 4/5. From the Ladder, statistically, this should again (like last week) be a walkover by the WB. Betting is strongly in their favour ($2.85 to $1.42).  But we can and should win (again, check the logic below).

Weather in Melbourne?  Mostly sunny; 10 – 17 deg. Winds, increasing.

TV – 7mate, from 3.00pm.



Like last week, we are facing a team solidly in the Eight with the desire to set itself firmly in the Top Four.  The WB season is a bit better than ours, so far – they’ve beaten Carlton, Melbourne and St Kilda, whereas we lost to each of them. Their losses to GWS, North and Hawthorn have all been close, in comparison with our substantial losses. While they are sitting on 6 wins and 3 losses, in the last month they’ve lost to GWS and North (both close results), but beaten Melbourne and Adelaide.  In the same period we’ve lost to the WCE (in Perth) and Carlton but won against Brisbane and Geelong.  In my view we go into the game with a slightly more positive recent history than them.  Their losses to teams above them on the Ladder,and their respective wins against those below them, are pretty much what you would have expected; our losses to the WCE and, before that, Carlton, when viewed together with last week’s result (and even the week before), are all over the place and more indicative of a team in the ‘process of change’ (and hopefully, on the way up) rather than a ‘stable outfit’, the way you might describe WB.  So, particularly focussing on the last month, I see the Dogs as a fixed capability while we have just comprehensively beaten the number 2 on the Ladder and Premiership favourite.  They haven’t yet played Geelong, Sydney or the WCE, while we haven’t faced Hawthorn, North, GWS or Adelaide (of those GWS scares me most).  This week starts interesting times.

Expect the WB team to run and chase hard throughout the game.  The Centre and stoppages will be critical, again, as will the very short passes in traffic. The WB are the best ‘uncontested possession’ team in the League and have the number 1 defence this season.  See Match Previews, below.

They’ve also got, potentially, four key players returning this week – Matt Suckling (Mid) and Marcus Adams (Back) from injuries and Jack Redpath (Forward) and Matt Boyd (Back) following suspensions. Jong out for two. Major changes can, of course, be destabilising.  Players to watch for:

  • Most influential. Watch for Bontempelli, both at CHF and amongst the Mids; Liberatore, also in the Mids and Dahlhaus, sitting in the Forward Pocket.  Hunter, on the Wing, had 44 disposals last week @ nearly 80% efficiency.  That is incredible, fortunately not the same every week.  Stringer at FF had a shocker last week (17 @ 47%), so can be expected to bounce back; and Roughead has done well in the ruck – however, see next comment;
  • Potential influencers.  Will Minson played well in their Two’s side last week.  He is a former All Australian ruck but hasn’t played in the AFL side for ages – “any alarm bells going off?”  Watch carefully – bring Witts back.  And Hrovat, maybe, also on his way back; and
  • ‘Family’.  Under this category I include players on their team who because they’ve moved on from us, or by their very name connecting them to our family, makes them important: Picken (of course).



Published Thursday night. Likely to be minimal change, regardless of my following comments.

Legacy from last week: Michael Christian on ‘The Agenda’ and Team of the Week –  Well done Pendles, Howe and Steele; could have been many more.  Coaches’ votes:  Fairer in my view, as it includes Pendles, Steele, Treloar, Grundy, Greenwwod and Crisp.

Injury outs – None new.  Further advice on Elliott – probably out for the season.

Impact on us?  We must respond to the likely WB ‘running game’ by doing likewise (just like last week).  We must dominate the Centre, achieving ‘taps to advantage’, and the same at stoppages around the ground.  We need to tag players who can cut us apart – Greenwood was fantastic last week – maybe Hunter?  The Backline needs to tighten up – in spite of Howe’s 11 marks (terrific), Hawkins nearly got away from us in the Final Quarter.  As I said in my post-match email, I don’t think Frosty is strong enough yet to handle a Hawkins or Buddy.  So double-team and punch rather than seeking to out-mark.  Also a stronger opponent that can be used would be useful – Goldsack? Or my comments about Trav or Grundy (below)?  The ‘uncontested possessions’ count doesn’t really concern me at all – it just makes for boring footy and requires close-marking. To counter their defence we need our Forward targets to spread wide and crumbers (in front and behind) to accompany them.

Other In’s: Witts in – absolutely essential. Grundy is getting into the Best list each week because of his performance around the ground; not because of his domination at stoppages.  To win, we need to control these stoppages, hence Witts; the Mids can’t do it all (like they did last week) every week.  Maybe Trav and Gault in in place of Darcy (who is producing one screamer per game but not much else) and White (yes, I know White was influential last week – got two in the First Quarter, but you need to perform for the whole game).  Both Williams and Goldsack performed well in the VFL side last week – worthy of consideration, to augment the strength and experience of the Backline. Maybe Outs? From Crocker, Maynard, Tooves (yes, it hurts me to include him.  Late in the game last week I had to explain to a Geelong supporter that the huge “Tooooves” from the crowd was not booing, but Pies supporters recognising ‘one of their own’.) and Smith?

‘Left field’ suggestion (again): The inclusion of Trav, playing at CHF, gives the team the ability to shift him to FB onto a ‘power’ FF; Grundy could also be used in this manner if Witts takes on the ruck roles. They are, I think, the only players at the Club with the capacity to compete strength-wise.  Otherwise Grundy and Trav gives you the basis of a ‘power’ HF line.  Goldsack is a close second to these two.



Game Plan – Same as last week and the week before – run like hell, all game. Your ideas?


Game Previews?

  • AFL Match Day Preview – – there now.  Their prediction: WB by 29 points;
  • Pies.  Natoli’s ‘Ultimate Preview’ will be on the Pies Home Page at in the next day or so;
  • The Age Preview – Should be at; and
  • Expert Tips – Expert Tips will be at in the next day or so.  These ‘Experts’ need to put a little more thought into their ‘picks’ and ‘margins’.  Just picking off the Ladder and ‘desire’ won’t always work.  “But don’t try this at home, folks; these are trained professionals and they (obviously) know what they are doing“.  And well done, Mr Shorten; keep up the good work.


My Picks? Pies by 11; BOG: Treloar – 31 disposals at 79.3% DE.  Goals to Fas – 3, Cox – 3 and Gault – 3.  Crowd: 82,000.  Your picks?



  • Comment of the Year: Cox tweet: “That awkward moment when you have to go to an Auskick clinic and teach kids how to play footy who have played longer than you“. Love it.
  • VFL.  Last week, a great win over the VFL Premiers, Williamstown – and, talking about Witts, – A Magpie biding his time.  This week the VFL side has a bye;
  • Netball and Women’s Footy.  Nothing new; and
  • Eddie Watch.  Still quiet.  Always of some concern, when he is quiet.


Reporting?  Anyone going?  Ground Reports pls?


Remember to keep an eye on the Footy Almanac –

Next. One week at a time. Sunday, 5 June – Collingwood / Port Adelaide at the MCG; bounce: 1.10pm.  Actually, to directly contradict my starting phrase, the next Round starts a series of four clearly ‘winnable’ home games against  Port, Melbourne, Freo and Carlton, including a bye for Round 13 (noting a couple of potential “paybacks for earlier in the season).  Following this series of games is our Round 16 game against GWS in Sydney on 9 July.  C’mon Canberra members, let’s get up to Sydney.


Be optimistic and keep the faith. I believe.  Go Pies.



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  1. Having watched the Pies live at the MCG I’d have to say they are difficult to work out.

    I reckon this match v the Dogs is one that could swing five goals either way. Is height an issue for the Dogs?

  2. Witts dominated in the VFL last week Cam but he doesn’t bring the intensity and second efforts of Grundy. We won the majority of clearances anyway last week on the back of the midfield all coming to play.

    Gault – N.O. Cloke for Darcy? Interesting. Might be an opportune time to give the young fella a week off.

    Sadly Elliott’s back injury is of a nature where he is unlikely to be able to play AFL again.

  3. Cameron Hooke says

    Thanks John. I was there too with my Geelong-supporting brother and his family.

    A quite extraordinary First Quarter which, like in your game against GWS (which I also attended in Canberra) Hawkins nearly recovered for you in the Final Quarter.

    The most extraordinary thing, in my view, was the 23 out of 24 ‘expert opinion’ predictions of a Geelong win. The single exception was Mr Shorten whom I have now confirmed is a staunch Pies supporter; plus myself, but then I’m not an ‘expert’.

    Agree the significance of this week’s game.

    Go Pies.

  4. Cameron Hooke says

    Thanks JD.

    Concur re Witts and Grundy. I would have them both in the team fior the reasons you identify.

    Yes, re Elliott.

  5. Witts-Grundy in the same team has never really born fruit though. As long as Cox stays on this track one of them will miss out.

    Hopefully Darcy can repeat his previous couple efforts against the Bullies.

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