Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life – Round 23 Review and Finals Week 1 Preview

True Believers, “We made it”. Onward and upward.


Our work-up to the Finals concluded with our Win over Essendon; a fellow-Finalist (see below). Essendon, like each of the teams since our Bye, forced us to dig deep; to perform against a strenuous opponent each time – good preparation.


The H&A season is over, finished for 2019. Finals’ footy is different; hugely different. ‘Neat footy’ is not the ‘go’. Finals footy is all about pressure, pressure and more pressure; for four quarters. Interestingly, Finals footy has started early this year with the Richmond / Brisbane and our game against Essendon demonstrating this characteristic. We’ve ended up Top 4 giving us a double-chance. I acknowledge that there would have been some advantages in finishing in the bottom half, but the presence of the Western Bulldogs and GWS was very concerning to me; as was the potential for Hawthorn to sneak in at the death. In the Top 4 Geelong and Richmond concern me most. More on Geelong later. So, our work-up is over; let the Finals begin.


Go Pies.


Round 23 – Essendon


Collingwood 10.16.76 defeated Essendon 10.5.65.


Match Report –


Ground Reports  – Did anyone attend? Does anyone else want to comment?


Buck’s comments – Worth watching, particularly his emphasis on the requirement to “continue to improve” during the Finals series..


The Game 


A concerning 1st Quarter; but then things settled. Bucks described the game as becoming “our footy” from the end of Q1. From then the team-football was more efficient, though kicking 2 Goals, 7 Behinds in the Final Quarter hardly reduced the stress on the long-suffering Pies’ fans. Regardless, they met the requirement.


Interesting interview comments afterwards – Elliott: “we had too many going for the mark” and needed to balance players’ work.


Essendon were highly competitive. The result should be seen within that context rather than by Ladder position. We were made to work for the Win. Well done.


Simply put, Goals scored by Quarter were:


  • Q1 – 3 (us) / 6 (them). A trifle concerning.
  • Q2 – 3 / 1. Better.
  • Q3 – 2 / 2.
  • Q4 – 2 / 1.


Some Numbers. My standard concern relating to the conversion of Hit Outs into Goals:


  • Hit Outs – 41 (us) / 17 (them). Well done, Grundy. But my concern relates to the Hit Outs to advantage, for which I don’t have the numbers.
  • Clearances – 33 / 27 (Centre – 12 / 9; stoppages – 21 / 18). A poor transition from HO to Clearance where we are being ‘sharked’. We have to fix this; now.
  • Inside 50s – 57 / 38. Outstanding reversal. Credit to the Mids and the drive off the HB line.
  • Marks inside 50 – 15 / 8. Same as above.
  • Scoring Shots – 26 / 15. We are still wasting the effort to get a score. While it looks spectacular when goals are scored from distant point on acute angles, greater effort should be given to routinely seeking to get the ball to an easier position.
  • Goals – 10 / 10. Whatever. As one wag said, we won by 11 Behinds. This could have been lost with two straight kicks.


A couple of other team statistics:


  • Pressure:
    • Contested Possessions – 140 / 128;
    • Tackles – 53 / 63; and
    • Total: 193 / 191.
  • Mistakes:
    • Disposal Efficiency (players with DE equal to or greater than 80%) – 7 / 2; and
    • Clangers (players with two or more Clangers) – 14 / 16. Interesting.


And, of particular interest to some, Frees: 16 (to us) / 12 (to them).


Individual Performance, with some key numbers?


Our Best (AFL website):



So? It was a solid Finals lead-in.


1st Qualifying Final – Geelong


Geelong host Collingwood at the MCG on Friday, 6 September; bounce at 7.50pm. This is between 1st (them) and 4th (us) with Ladder percentages of 135.7% and 117.7%. Betting (currently) places them as favourites $1.71 to $2.15.


Geelong have set the standard this season. They have sat close to the top of the Table nearly the whole year. When they have Lost it’s been a surprise; something unexpected. But they are beatable. They’ve Lost five of their last 10 games. And this game is at our Home Ground.


It is absolutely critical we keep winning (and winning well) to maintain our momentum towards the GF.




Geelong, since their Round 13 Bye, have managed to neatly alternate Wins and Losses (so, five Wins and five Losses). But their Wins are better than their Losses and they come into this game with a surplus of 118 Points (compared with our 46 Point surplus) over that period (however including a 68 Point Win over Carlton and 55 Point Win over North recently). Interestingly, of the five Wins since the Bye, four were at Kardinia Park; with only one Loss there in that period. Over the season Geelong have played eight games against Top 8 sides with a Win Ratio of 62.5% (we’ve played eleven games against Top 8 sides with a Win Ratio of 63.6%). Keeping their pattern going, they should Lose against us.


Geelong have six players on the All Australian short list – Ablett (FP), Blicavs (FB/CHB), Dangerfield (C/W), Hawkins (CHF), Kelly (C/r) and Stewart (HB). We have to deal with each of them in some way. Additionally I would add Joel Selwood (C) to this list.


Who to watch for? 


  • Midfield – Dangerfield (W/C), Duncan (W), Clark (RR; maybe injured), Guthrie (RR), J. Selwood (C) and Kolodjashnij (tagged De Goey last time).
  • Forwards – Ablett (FP), Hawkins (HF), Esava Ratugolea (aka ‘Sav’; CHF) and Rohan (HF).
  • Backline – Blicavs (FB/CHB), Stewart (HB) and Tuohy (BP).


Miers off the Interchange can turn up Forward and Back.


So? Work hard to establish control of the game. Win the Midfield Battle. Speed of ball movement and variety of entry into the 50 and score Goals (not Behinds).



We’ve been here before. Do you remember Round 9 of 2016 – Geelong were sitting 2nd; we were 12th; of the 24 ‘experts’ all but one (Mr Shorten) picked a Geelong Win? Go to and We Won. And this time, the teams are significantly closer on the Table. Remember in that game we destroyed them in Q1 and then held them off for the rest of the game. We want to do better this time – win every Quarter.


We have three players on the AA short list – Grundy, Pendles and Treloar. But I consider Crisp to be unlucky not to be listed and Moore unlucky because of his injury absences. So, the balance between the sides is not too different – strengths in different areas. Who might you give a specific role to? How about:


  • Greenwood onto Selwood (as usual).
  • Mayne or Noble (or Varcoe; not sure how friendly they are from the old days) onto Ablett.
  • Roughead back to FB.
  • Scharenberg onto Hawkins.
  • Moore with a focus on his intercept marking role.
  • Sidebottom onto Dangerfield.


Approach (mostly, the same as last week and the weeks before)?


  • Critical approach – Establish control of the game – play it our way; not theirs. Use handballs. Win the Midfield battle, achieving Clearance dominance. Drive from there and from the HB line.
  • Scoring Behinds? Avoid; look for the better positioned player to kick from.
  • Entry to goal. Actually, this has been really good in the absence of Cox. While the ‘up and under’ into a pack in front of Goal is a valid approach it should not be the only avenue. And Elliott is a great mark, particularly one on one, and kick.
  • Crumb around the packs and watch their ‘smalls’, Forward and Back. Watch Ablett; he is an opportunistic nuisance but very talented.
  • Tackling. We need to hold our tackles; not be brushed off.


plus, critically:


  • Play for four Quarters; again.


Team? Some changes:


Again, I would have great difficulty ‘dropping’ anyone from the team except for the fact that Sidebottom, Stephenson and De Goey are elite footballers. So:


  • Out – Some uncertainty – Moore and Scharenberg; keep if possible. If necessary consider ‘resting’ Madgen, Wills and Brown and, maybe, Hoskin-Elliott.
  • In – Sidebottom, De Goey and Stephenson. Maybe also consider bringing Reid back (depends on his training track performances as entry via the VFL is now closed).
  • Coming? Maybe also consider Broomhead, Sier, Wells, Aish and Lynch?


Weather? Light rain is forecast on the days before our Friday game. The ground will be wet. Get the boots with ‘stops’ out.


TV? Not sure. TV coverage will be announced at (eventually).


My prediction? Pies Win by 17 Points. BOG – Crisp – 37 Disposals @ 82.3% Disposal Efficiency. Elliott, Stephenson and De Goey each get three goals.


Attendance?  Anyone going? Ground Reports pls?


Future. Finals:


Keep the faith.




  • Eddie Watch. Continuing quiet; a great thing.
  • All Australian selections – tomorrow night.
  • Goldy has announced his retirement at the end of the season. A great contributor, I hope there’s a place for him in our GF team (to add to his 2010 medal).
  • And Murray may be back Round 1, 2020 if he gets a new contract. Hope so.
  • And again for those who have ‘arrived’ in our august group more recently, if you wanted to look at a bit of history go to the Footy Almanac site at Enjoy.


Go Pies. 




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  1. Cam. A danger for the Pies is that we have not had a settled backline for ages, whereas the Cats have been near full strength for many weeks. The settled side will definitely have an advantage over us.


    Thanks for your comment.
    Concur, noting my suggestion (Roughead to FB, Moore to intercept / CHB, etc|) to reestablish the Back 6 that was so successful earlier in the season.We certainly have the talent.
    Of course, Geelong have managed to lose every second game since their Bye so I’m not sure how stable their team actually is.
    My view of the current game is that it is all about possession. The team with the ball can move it quickly forward and score. It is also why I’m so committed to avoiding wasting effort by scoring Behinds which is just another way of turning over possession cheaply (maybe Q4 last week was an example). Your comment re a ‘settled’ side certainly gives the advantage to them in terms of the rapid movement of the ball and the players’ behaviour – knowing what each will do.
    I note also in Buck’s last post-match interview, his focus on the team continuing to improve throughout the Finals series. I agree that too.
    Am I concerned? Of course; always. Can we win? Absolutely.
    Go Pies.

  3. When my so was younger I asked him what he thought of the ‘Pies. “Not much, I much prefer pasties”. Overhearing him, my eldest daughter said, “I much prefer sausage rolls”. Well, I like all three but draw the line on the MAGPIES. How can anyone support a team that’s colours are actually non-colours. Black is the complete absence of all colours whilst white is all colours combined.

    This year would have a most fitting climax if Collingwood loses another Grand Final by a solitary point on the last kick of the match.I don’t particularly care who does the deed.

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