Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life – Round 16 Preview

True Believers, be optimistic.  This is the start of our run to the Finals.  When we win, watch the ‘back-pedalling’ amongst the experts.  I believe.  Last weekend we played a four-quarter game – the second in a row.  The application, commitment and pursuit was fantastic, and the fact that it continued for the whole game, reflects exactly what we have all believed we were capable of.  And the team-members’ acknowledgement of each other and the obvious motivation across the board was fantastic. And we continue to benefit from a trickle-feed of capability as people return from injury.  Every week is now critical – we have to win each week.  As such some risk needs to be taken regarding selections – see below.  Pies supporters, believe, have faith.

The Season.  Okay, last week we were sitting 14th; now we’re 11th; three wins outside the Eight – actually the Eight could see some significant changes between now and the end of the year – six teams are on 10 and 4, separated only by percentage.  Now that we’ve quietened the Blues supporters, we can get back to winning the Premiership; one week at a time.

Belief.  Pertinent starting quotes: Jay Clark, Herald-Sun: “There is a bit of feeling between these two clubs“.  Michael Christian: “Absolutely; there is“.  Interesting starting point: Treloar starting against his old club –

The Game:


GWS.  Saturday, 2 July; at Spotless Stadium; bounce: 1.40pm.


3rd versus 11th (we’re 11th, if you need reminding), percentages: 138.6% (them) vs 90.3% (us).  We are six and eight; they are ten and four.  From the Ladder, and any logical consideration, this will look like a walkover to them.  We are coming off two ‘four-Quarter’ effort wins against Freo and Carlton, both hard-running, hard-chasing sides.  They are sitting Third on the Ladder comfortably in their place in the Top Four, but lacking ‘whole of season’ experience, particularly how hard it gets towards the end of the season.  Betting is not close – $7.50 to $1.09 (maybe worth a flutter).  We should win.




Weather in Sydney on Saturday?  18 degrees.  Light showers.  Particularly following the rain on Thursday and Friday, the surface will be wet and slippery and the ball will become heavy.  Consider long sleeves and ‘stops’ (no moulded soles) again.  Look at ‘basic’ tactics to get the ball forward in these conditions – kick it off the ground rather than expecting to be able to neatly pick it up.


TV – Free to Air; 7mate, from 1.30pm in Canberra.  No Free to Air in the Gold Coast – I need to find somewhere.




GWS.  GWS were the early performance side of 2016 (along with North and Geelong).  Hawthorn is now on top of the Ladder, with Geelong second and GWS third.  But they’ve had a few little hiccoughs, recently – Adelaide beat them in Round 10, Geelong beat them in Round 11 and both Essendon and Carlton scared the hell out of them for parts of their games in Rounds 13 and 14.  Looking at the Essendon game is interesting – In the first 15 minutes of the game GWS had 15 Inside 50’s scoring 1.7 – why? Pressure, pressure, pressure.  They lost the First Half of that game.  Even with the first four goals of the Second Half, Essendon got to within a couple of points before the end of the Q3, before GWS ran away with it.  Carlton’s game also reflected the opponent’s pressure for the First Half (yes, I’m being generous). They performed against Sydney beating them well in Round 12.  So, in summary, GWS’ recent record working backwards is: Bye, Scare, Scare, W, L, L.  Coming off a Bye can also be good or bad. They are not unbeatable.  The lessons for us are the need for another four-Quarter effort, the need to gain and retain control of the Midfield and other stoppages and the need to have a slick, fast movement of the ball out of our Backline into our Forward line.


GWS players to watch for:

  • Most influential. Watch for Heater Shaw off the Backline, Cameron and Shiel up Forward.  And Kelly, Coniglio, Ward and Mumford in the Midfield;
  • Potential influencers – In addition to them, Stevie J is always worth watching and Scully (usually Forward) and Greene (Mid), both coming off the Interchange bench, can be influential.  The record shows Hopper didn’t play the last game (Round 14), removed as “Managed”, – I don’t know what this means – Anyone? Davis is out, injured; and
  • ‘Family’ – Heater – Club Beast last year and nearly Brownlow contender so far this season (apart from Dangerfield getting in the way).  Anyone else?




Published Thursday night.  Will be tempted to minimise change, again, but where there is talent returning I think we need to pick it.


Injury Outs – Nothing more from last week’s AFL game.  Tooves was concussed in the Two’s game, but probably okay.  A shedload of Tests this week including Fas, Adams, Marsh (each worth an immediate recall in my view) plus Crocker and Sier.  See comment above regarding the importance of each week.


Legacy from last week (again): Michael Christian on ‘The Agenda’ –  Worth watching, particularly looking at the long-term value of the Treloar signing.


In’s & Out’s: Working from the Backline forwards.  I thought the Back 6 were terrific last week, building on their performance the week before.  I thought the addition of Goldsack was great (as was his welcome to young Jack – and yes, it did remind me a bit of Watts’ first game (against us)).  I would probably try and bring Frosty and Marsh back, maybe in place of Brownie – he is just a bit too slow; good against the static talls, but not so useful against a range of sizes, and maybe Aish. The Mids worked almost as a distinct unit last week – pass the ball close-in between each other without quite getting to the point where you pass it forward.  Okay, an exaggeration, but the number of close-in passes last week between the Mids direct to someone in immediate trouble was extraordinary. I’d love to have Adams back at his old home – maybe in a  tagging role.  I picked on the speed of ball movement forward in my email earlier this week – the flow of the ball forward must be faster to allow the Forwards to compete ‘one on one’ or lead into space – less lolly-pop kicks and more stab passes (remember them?) never rising above 1m off the ground. The Ruck?  I am a huge fan of Grundy and applaud his recognition every week in the Best.  But he’s not getting there because of his ruck work.  As correctly identified by Richard, he could have had two key shots at goal last week, when well apart from his opponent.  He is fantastic at ground level, positions himself extraordinarily well and is a pretty good kick.  Unfortunately he’s not successful against a seasoned ruck, meaning that enormous pressure falls on the Mids to pick up the slack. The numbers tell the story – we are relying on our Mids to make up to achieve equal (approximately) stoppage control; we should be well ahead.  We should be leveraging off our Mids’ capacity.  Bring back Witts.  And the Forwards?  Cox – repeat of last week’s comment – give the guy a rest.  Trav worked his bum off last week, well done.  Moore was okay.  And White had a ‘blinder’ in the Two’s.  I’d love to have Fas back – after all, he is still Collingwood’s leading goal kicker this season.


Game Plan – what do we we have to do to win?  See above comments re effort, control of the stoppages and speed of movement of the ball into the Forward line.  The rest is the same as last week, and every week before that, with emphasis on the application and team support of each other and, critically, following the ‘game plan’ that everyone knows and works to.  And, again and again, a four-Quarter effort like last week, and the week before.


What do you think?



Game Previews?



My Picks this week? Pies by 7; BOG: Trav:  Goals – 2, 6 Goal Assists, 8 Marks, 17 Disposals and 7 Tackles.  Crowd: 36,000 – I’m not sure how many the ground holds. Anyone?  Your picks?



  • VFL.  This week versus the North Ballarat at Eureka Stadium on Sunday, 10 July; bounce at 1.00pm (not far from my old stamping ground). Make a day of it by heading to Sovereign Hill – well worth the visit;
  • Vale, Frank Tuck – quite a story and worth a read. See; and
  • Eddie Watch.  Quiet, thank goodness.  He’ll be hard to shut up after a win this week.


Reporting?  Anyone going (particularly amongst the Canberra crowd)?  Ground Reports pls?



Remember to keep an eye on the Footy Almanac –


Next. It doesn’t get any easier – Round 17 – Adelaide in Adelaide.  More on this next week.


Keep the faith. Go Pies.





  1. kath presdee says

    In terms of our personnel:
    Out from last match – Wilson, Buntine, Griffen (injuries), M Kennedy (omitted) – he’s a kid, always going to be managed.
    Coming in – A Kennedy, A Tomlinson, D Smith, J Steele.
    We’ll know on the day about Davis; with Cam McCarthy doppelganger Harrison Himmelberg the emergency.
    Hopper was “managed” as first years are; turns out there’s some back issues.
    What does this mean for you guys? What we lose in Wilson’s x factor down back we gain with Dev’s x factor in forward-mid.

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