Cam Hookes’ Collingwood life: Round 22 preview

True Believers, hang in there.  “It’s not over till the fat lady sings.”

The hallmark of the classic ‘Pies supporters’ – total, unbridled, unrealistic optimists; that’s us!!  I loved the TV clip a few weeks back that focussed on a small girl wearing a beanie that had written on it:  “You don’t like us because you’re not one of us.”  Pies colours.  Says it all, actually.

If it was a challenge to lead into Round 21 after the week before, think about now, with two ’10 goals plus’ thrashings behind us; plus an array of injuries that after last week’s debacle it is a little difficult to know where to start.  Which Pies team will take the field on Saturday – the gutsy, never stop trying, ‘collective’ team we saw against Adelaide a couple of weeks ago, or the other one, or a 2nd XIII made up of players who barely know each others’ names?  I couldn’t bring myself to make any substantive comments on the last game; in fact, I think the injuries obscured the more critical failings in the team performance: Contributed? Yes.  Cause? Don’t think so..

This Game. Saturday, 23 August; Bounce: 4.40pm. The Greater Western Sydney Giants at their home (just up the road from Canberra; anyone going?).  Over the last five weeks how have they been travelling? GWS:  Win (W) – Melbourne (won well), Loss (L) – North (thrashed), L – Richmond (well beaten), L – Geelong (just beaten), and L – Freo (thrashed).

We, also, have not had the best five weeks I can remember: L – Essendon (thrashed), L – Adelaide (just), W – Port (just), L – WCE (thrashed) and, most recently, L – Brisbane Lions (thrashed|). Both sides have been pretty awful over this period.  GWS showed against Geelong what they can do; we did the same against Port, but both teams have shown what their worst is – GWS against North and Freo; us ageist nearly everyone.  I think, based on the likely 2nd XIII make-up of our team, that GWS can be seen as the favourites.  That said, Patton’s ‘out’ and the absence of Cameron are both big holes.

I see as totally irrelevant the history of ‘meetings’ between the teams going back several years.  And while I don’t have the detail in front of me, nor do I have the time or inclination to work it out, I’d love to see the comparison of “AFL level games played” between the two teams.  I think it would be illuminating.

Other games this Round?  Hawthorn / Geelong – interesting but of no real consequence, though Hawthorn need to bounce back after last week.  Port / Carlton – Carlton are looking pretty threatening and may roll Port, a result that they would not be looking for.  North / Adelaide – game of the Round.  If North win, forget Adelaide for this year’s Finals.  One from left field: Brisbane / Freo – after last week can the Lions dent Freo’s confidence even further?  Richmond / St Kilda – c’mon, not 8 wins in a row?). Our future rests on us winning and other teams doing their bit for us – I think we would need to win both games and substantially improve our percentage.

Them. Actually a confession: our family are Foundation (and still) Members of the GWS – I might add that this is not because my loyalty to Collingwood (of which I’m also a Member (not Foundation, though)) is in doubt, but is to try and encourage greater AFL Footy inroads into Canberra.  The Giants are about to finish their third season fairly predictably.  They play good, but immature, footy.

I always think they look like a bunch of schoolboys playing footy; except for Heater who nobody would mistake for a school kid.  I suspect they’ve probably got more Top 10 Draft picks at their club than any other club – pity most of them are still very young.  They were terrific for the First Half of the last game I watched in Canberra against North.  They went to the Half Time break about a goal down. Third Quarter, however, was a debacle: North kicked 8.2.50 points to 1 Behind (GWS).  People to watch are Heater (still runs the same way – you can pick him a mile away), Mumford in the ruck, with Greene beside him, Shiel and Ward (an optimistic return – still marked as 1 – 2 weeks out). Davis is, however, a likely return.  Patton (usually CHF and ruck) is out injured after last week and will be sorely missed by them (has been amongst their best and getting goals regularly), as is Cameron at FF.  Look at .  Check the Previews – links below.

Us:   We could win this, comprehensively with a bit of push. Some suggestions I made last week need to be adjusted because of player availability (now that’s an understatement):

  • Ins / Outs? See  Injuries and tests will drive this.  I expect Pendles back, but none of the others hurt last week (including Elliott).  A few names that a worth considering (some from left-field) – Ferguson and Karnezis (at last) as Forward targets, Gray as a tagger(?), Martin, Seedsman, Thomas and Matheson, plus a few other re-runs back from the Twos – White, maybe even Lynch (he was pivotal in the ruck in the Twos last week) but I don’t think either Grundy or Witts warrant ‘dropping’.  I would be suggesting we avoid “playing safe” with selections and we be adventurous. Also see Previews, links below. Wait and see, tonight.  Your suggestions?
  • Focus?  This is the same as last week:  “Same as last week (and every week before): Effort, commitment and application.  Plus other things, as above, – kick-ins, avenues to goal and clearances”; and
  • My guesses?  Pies by 37 ; BOG – Swanny – 36 touches; Trav (3) & Karnezis (4). Crowd – 27 000.  Your guesses?


TV?  Yay; finally we have ‘Free to Air’ coverage (That was six games in a row without FTA TV coverage of a Pies game for the largest supporter base in Australia; but what do I know?).  7mate from 4.30 pm.


Keep the faith.  Go Pies.

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