Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life – Round 14 Review and Round 15 Preview: It is never fun watching or reporting on a poor performance.

True Believers, it is never fun watching or reporting on a poor performance. Yes, we won, but not the way I would like us to.


Round 14 – Western Bulldogs

Collingwood 13.4.82 defeated the Bulldogs 10.13.73.


Match Report –

Ground Reports – Matt, thank you very much. I agree almost without exception. In particular, I totally agree your ‘frustrations’ focussing on bombed balls into the 50 (which I usually refer to as ‘up and under’ entries) and ‘howlers’ (recorded by me and measured as Clangers in the statistics, below). And I really loved your Positives. Agree about Scharenberg – he has had three outings in the Twos and is doing well. See Ins and Outs, below. I’m a little less critical of Buck’s view regarding Grundy’s performance having, now, had a listen actually to what he said. See next.


Buck’s comments – Nearly every media reporter and Matt, above, identified Grundy as BOG. Bucks disagreed noting that Grundy was a “write off” in the First Half. His numbers, identified below clearly reflect his contribution though I do not have the breakdown by Quarter. I think Grundy is the best Ruck in the competition based on his work around the ground in addition to his stoppage competition. I see his tap dominance as being seriously affected by its transition into Clearances (see more on this below).


The Game


After a very relaxing start, at about the mid-point of the Q1, by which time we’d established a commanding lead, it seemed our boys shut down, stopped being interested, with the absolutely expected consequences. It was a poor First Half. Bucks described it as “That’s the worst we’ve played for a long time”. I agree.


The Dogs are the competition leader in the transition of the ball from the Back 50 to the Front 50. And it showed. They responded to our early lead establishing their lead at the first change. Q2 reflected our inability to establish control. Q3 provided the opportunity to do so – we scored five goals to their two. In Q4 we each scored three goals. Throughout the Dogs scored multiple Behinds. The result may have been significantly different if they’d kicked more accurately. Effectively, we won because we were able to blunt the Dogs’ game plan, their motivation and up-tempo offence, regardless of how poorly we played. And then, go on and win.


Numbers. My usual criticism relates to the conversion of Hit Outs to Clearances and onto Inside 50s and Marks Inside 50, and the flow-on to scoring shots (See later comment regarding scoring Behinds). So?


  • Hit Outs – 56 (us) / 17 (them)  Outstanding, as usual; courtesy of Grundy. See later comment regarding Grundy under Best, below.
  • Clearances – 40 / 31 (Centre – 11 / 12; stoppages – 29 / 19). This is simply not good enough.We are creating less than one Clearance for every Hit Out. They are achieving two for every one. We are well on the way to losing control of the Midfield.
  • Inside 50s – 44 / 59. Okay; we’ve lost it. If the role of the Midfield and the drive forward from the Backline is to get the ball into the 50, we’ve been trumped (sorry; card game term, nothing to do with US politics).
  • Marks inside 50 – 12 / 12. Both teams should see this conversion as very poor.
  • Scoring shots – 17 / 23. Reflects the game I saw. Lucky they couldn’t shoot straight. Usually, you would see this as a match-winning advantage by the Dogs. Obviously not so in this case.


Plus, as a measure of intensity and application, a couple of numbers showing a comparison of effort:


  • Contested Possession – 146 / 150.
  • Tackles – 65 / 68.
  • Total: 211 (us) / 218 (them).


And Frees: 14 (us) / 16 (them). There were a number of tackles against an opponent’s legs that were not recognised;


Best. My other usual criticism relates to individual performance as it is a measure of the contribution individual Disposals make to the team. Broadly agree with the listed Best (from the AFL website), but have a look their efficiency and other contributions:


  • Grundy – 25 Disposals @ 68% Disposal Efficiency; six Clearances; five Inside 50s; two goals plus 50 Hit Outs.
  • Treloar – 36 @ 69.4%; 11 Clearances and three Inside 50s.
  • Crisp – 33 @ 75.8%; two Clearances and three Inside 50s.
  • De Goey – 14 @ 64.3%; three Inside 50s; four Goal Assists and two goals.
  • Sidebottom – 33 @ 69.7%; two Clearances and five Inside 50s.
  • Reid – 14 @ 92.9 and three goals.


I’d be tempted to add (assessing each against the specific role I expect each had been given):


  • Pendles – 20 @65%; three Clearances; five Inside 50s and three Rebound 50s. A ‘rock’ seemingly always with time.
  • Mihocek – 12 @ 75%; four Inside 50s and one goal. A foundation of the Forward line.
  • Roughead – 16 @ 100%; one Clearance; four Rebound 50s and one Inside 50.
  • Moore (even if was significantly harder to identify him without the ‘flowing blond locks’) – 16 @ 93.8% and seven Rebound 50s.


In comparison, to pick a couple:


  • ‘The Bont’- 30 @ 70%; 10 Clearances, two Inside 50s and six Rebound 50s. A pretty solid day at the office.
  • English – 14 @ 85.7%; three Inside 50s; one Rebound 50 plus 16 Hit Outs.
  • Trengove – 19 @ 84.2% and three Rebound 50s.


The Dogs are an intense team, who have taken it to a range of opponents this year. We were stretched by their commitment and application. This measure is close enough to be considered equal, however I’d like to see our application dominating a game. The Dogs delivery efficiency was better than ours – we had six players with Disposal Efficiency of 80.0% or higher; they had eight. We had 12 players with two or more Clangers; they had 15. For us, Sier had nine Clangers; Treloar had five.


Conclusion. No one-individual opponent cut us apart. We can do better.


Round 15 – North Melbourne


Saturday, 29 June at Marvel Stadium; bounce 7.25pm. Go to Betting: We are Favourites – $1.30 to $3.45.


This game is between 2nd and 13th; 126.3% and 92.6%; 10 Wins versus five. But, as we have seen, the competition this year is extraordinarily even. Any team can beat another. North are not to be underestimated.




North Melbourne started this year as a potential Finalist. They have had a diverse collection of results with five Wins spread over the season – Adelaide (R4), Carlton (R7), the Bulldogs (R10), Richmond (R11) and the Gold Coast (R12). A further four games were Losses by less than three goals. Throughout, North have produced some scintillating Q1 and Q4 performances, not always leading to a Win.  With the exception of the R12 Win, each of the other Wins were at Marvel Stadium.


They come into this game after their Bye, a Loss to GWS and reasonably substantial Wins in R12, 11 and 10. R10 was also Scott’s last game as coach. Their new (interim) coach is that well-known former Pies’ player and Pies’ family icon, Rhyce Shaw. Key players are Cunnington in the Midfield, Brown up front and Tarrant (another famous Collingwood name) down back.


Who to watch for? Repeat performers this year make the following worth watching:


  • Midfield – Cunnington (RR), Anderson (C), Polec and Dumont (W) and Higgins (r).
  • Forwards – Brown (FF) and Ziebell (CHF).
  • Backline – Tarrant (FB / CHB).


North are also playing some new talent. Watch for Zuhar and Thomas, pressure Forwards, both of whom have been nominated for the Rising Star this season (along with Scott who is about to undertake surgery, so unavailable).


Therefore?  North are a bit light on regarding talent across the paddock and rely strongly on their Midfield and three Key Players.


So? Play our game. Win the Midfield battle and use the corridor. Close defence against breakaway players, particularly near both goals crumbing around packs. I suspect Pendles might end up shadowing Cunnington or, in reality, the reverse; Moore onto Brown and Cox onto Tarrant. Pursue “Hit Outs to Advantage”.



I said last week, we are a winning side albeit we’re not doing so cleanly and comprehensively. But, as Matt reinforced, we are winning grinding against our opponents, picking up the points in spite of the fact that we’re not at our best. When we get it right, we are going to absolutely dominate anyone in the way. We are coming off a pretty ordinary performance. We need to establish our control of the game early and take it from there. It’s less stressful on the supporters, as well.




  • Critical approach – same as previous weeks – Establish control of the game – play it our way; not theirs. And application, application, application for all four Quarters.
  • We must fix the conversion of Grundy’s ruck dominance into Clearances. Midfield? As above, I think Bucks is correct in questioning Grundy’s contribution to the team if his taps are being sharked and are not our Clearance.
  • Behinds? I briefly touched on this the last couple of weeks. I think scoring a Behind should be avoided wherever possible so don’t take the ‘possible’ shots – pass the ball (backwards, if necessary) to get a better shot. A Behind automatically gives ‘possession’ to our opponents. As such we should be far more focussed on getting the ball to an easier shot position rather than reconciling ourselves with a minor score. I’ve watched a few other games and the fundamental truth is that a Behind (or, even worse,an Out of Bounds on the Full) hands possession to the defending team – it is a waste of all the effort to get it there. In the current environment the turnaround can hurt us significantly. Playing as a team means players should be looking to pass the ball to a teammate in a better position rather than ‘hoping’ a difficult shot works.
  • Chase? We need to pursue the ball (and player) until the Boundary Umpire blows hes/her whistle – we were caught out on a number of occasions. And if attempting to smother a kick we should attack the ball; not the player. Attacking the player leads to the smother being late and ineffective.




In addition to the extra Best players I’ve identified above, we had a few ‘quiet achievers’ last weekend – Brown (dynamic speed and that goal), Varcoe (one Goal Assist recorded but many other contributions), Maynard (five Rebound 50s) , Aish (also five Rebound 50s) and Hoskin-Elliott (two Goal Assists). Suggested team changes:


  • Outs – Howe (Injured. I was on the point of suggesting a rest for him, but he was performing well in this game until hurt; good general play, not focussing just on the ‘expected’ specky) and Greenwood (bring him back for Geelong games).
  • Ins – Scharenberg (vice Howe) and Quaynor (vice Greenwood and to get a bit of speed into the Backline).


Weather?  Its got a roof. Ignore.


TV? No FTA TV. Find a friend with FOXTEL or head to the pub (In Murrumburrah that would be The Light Horse Hotel).


My prediction? Pies Win by 17 points. BOG – Pendles – 27 Disposals @ 81.9% Disposal Efficiency (Cunnington has 13 Disposals) and 9 Clearances plus 2 goals. Reid and Cox get three each.


Attendance? Anyone going? Ground Reports pls?


Future. The challenges continue and in the current competition no team can be ignored or considered an ‘easy beat’:

  • Round 16 – Hawthorn at the G.
  • R17 – WCE at home in Perth. With Nic Nat back?
  • R18 – GWS in Sydney.
  • R19 – Richmond at the G. Always a critical competition.
  • R20 – Gold Coast at the G. C’mon, they don’t like the cold.
  • R21 – Melbourne at the G.
  • R22 – Adelaide in Adelaide.
  • R23 – Essendon at the G.


So, only three trips away and the potential in the last three weeks of preventing Melbourne, Adelaide and Essendon making the Finals. What could be better?


And we have Adams, Elliott, Scharenberg, Quaynor, Crocker, Daicos, Noble, Broomhead, Madgen, young Brown and Lynch all champing at the bit; a Selection Committee’s nightmare.




  • Eddie Watch. Quiet; a good thing.
  • Pinching / Stomping. Thought the attention was good and the punishment fair. Historically, and probably unfairly, Stratton will be known, not as a fine footballer and Captain of a terrific team, but as a “pincher”. I feel sorry for him.
  • Crowd behaviour. Thanks Bob for your contribution. Valid comments, all. Particularly focussing on our Umpires, I consider their protection to be well-managed, particularly when you compare other games overseas. But, you proposal has merit and should be pursued. Thanks again.


Go Pies.




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  1. george smith says

    It gets worse.

    From faraway England comes the news that Rafeal Benitez, the most successful manager in recent times of the Magpies of the EPL has left, due to differences with the infamous tightwad owner of Newcastle, Mike Ashley.

    Sad news for Magpie fans who follow both teams.

    Coupled with the loss of Langdon, Wells and Howe to injury and Stephenson to stupidity it seems that our winning streak is a mirage, soon to go in one of those dreadful late season slumps.

    Also sad news for us lefties with bad news on the political front on May 22, only a month ago.

    To quote Eddie from 1990: “the vultures were circling, it was time for Collingwood to dig deep”

    Well at the moment, the vultures are doing the chicken dance.

    Hard games ahead folks. First North Melbourne, who want, like Rocky, to prove they’re not a bum, then Hawthorn whom we have beaten once since 2011, then the two mission impossibles against Weagles and GWS at their home grounds. We are not Richmond in 1974 who took a perceived slight by the Cardinals to turn their season around and win the flag, full of angry pills. Our mob tends to go into its shell when shafted by the Cardinals.

    So as this bizarre season continues on its merry way, I hope against hope that we can win the flag, but the omens point in the other direction.

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