Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life – Round 3 wrap, Round 4 view

Round 3 – West Coast

Match Report

Buck’s comments Bucks comment regarding that 50 metre penalty (actually there were a few 50 m awarded, weren’t there – the one following the supposed tackle against the opponent’s lower leg) has all the attributes of a political statement. Common sense, what’s that? See later comment re umpires. Bucks also highlighted the importance of ‘Key Moments’ in a game when an individual action or short period can influence a game outcome. See later comment re Varcoe’s inclusion.

The Game

West Coast 15.8.98 defeated the Pies 11.10.76. A pretty poor performance, actually by both teams. Bucks, quite simply, acknowledged that we were “out-grunted” with their çleaner’ handling’of the ball the difference. My focus on getting and retaining control of the ball didn’t happen. Okay, to be fair, a good Q1 that could have been so much better without those wasted scoring opportunities, and a reasonably equal latter part of Q3 and all of Q4. But we let them loose in Q2 and most of Q3 where they set up the game-winning lead. Even so the difference was not huge even towards the end; indeed we were within 2 goals on and off during Q4 but seemingly couldn’t get into single figures. Control of the ball is the essential component of control of the game – playing it the way we want, not the way our opponent wants. Look again at our Richmond win, at that 3-minute period when they took over. Against West Coast we were running things for Q1; the rest was either them or neither. Even though the Eagles pick up the four points I don’t think they would be particularly happy with their performance.

Numbers. A frequent criticism of mine relates to the conversion of Hit Outs to Clearances and onto Inside 50s and Marks Inside 50. So?

  • Hit Outs – 42 (us, courtesy Grundy) / 19 (them). This is a massive advantage that we are not using. See the conversion, next.
  • Clearances – .37 / 37 (Centre – 12 / 15; stoppages – 25 / 22). This shows we have lost any advantage we had from the Hit Outs. Our Midfield needs to do better.
  • Inside 50s – 42 / 50. Okay by us; better for them.
  • Marks inside 50 – 14 / 12. Okay by both. This, of course, needs to be linked to where the mark is taken, and everyone’s kicking. I rate equal numbers of goals and behinds as a fair day at the office. We were okay, they were better.

Plus, coming back to “out-grunting”, as a measure of intensity and application, a couple of numbers:

  • Contested Possession – 134 / 126.
  • Tackles – 41 / 38,


These numbers don’t seem to support Buck’s suggestion of “out-grunting”. I’d suggest what they show is a broad equivalence between the teams, with the real difference, as identified above, being the cleaner ball handling. The Eagles were better than us.

And Frees: 28 / 20. Really, I wouldn’t have picked that? Including that one, and the 50 m penalty? And, of course, it always, always depends on where and when they are awarded. I have a theory about umpires. I think they reflect a ‘national psyche’. In the US, the umpires at basketball, baseball and grid iron actually behave like they’re part of the game. In Australia (apart from the transplanted basketball) we would generally consider that the umpires had a good game when they are barely noticed; yes, they are critical but need be reasonable and apply some commonsense. And when did OPSM stop sponsoring them? Where else in the world would people find that amusing?

Best. My other principal criticism relates to individual performance as it relates to the contribution individual Disposals make to the team. Broadly agree with the listed Best, but have a look their efficiency and other contributions:

  • Grundy – 22 Disposals @ 72.7% Efficiency; 40 Hit Outs and 11 Clearances. Well done.
  • Adams (Welcome back) – 26 @ 69.2% and 4 Clearances.
  • Sidebottom – 25 @ 88% and 3 Clearances.
  • De Goey – 18 @66.7% and 3 goals. Magic.
  • Treloar – 25 @ 64% and 2 Clearances.

In comparison, Gaff had 35 Disposal @ 71.4% and importantly 5 Clearances. Did we tag him? With whom? I have been critical in the past in tagging an opponent with a player who doesn’t have the mobility or size to do the job.

We all know that Midfield and goal-scorers are always more visible and always rank higher, but check the Efficiency of our Backline:

  • Langdon – 94.7%.
  • Howe – 90.5%.
  • Roughead – 88.9%.
  • Moore – 88.2

Worth noting. Well done.


Round 4 – Western Bulldogs

Friday, 12 April at the MCG; bounce at 7.50pm.

The Bulldogs are 3rd on the Ladder (percentage – 113.8%) versus us at 11th (106.4%) but amazingly, for some obscure reason, we are favourites by a huge margin – betting $1.19 to $4.60. I consider this whole sentence to be totally irrelevant at this stage of the season. It is included only for your amusement.


The Bulldogs have Wins against Sydney and Hawthorn and a Loss against the Gold Coast, which included a pretty solid fight back in the Final Quarter. Perhaps their Wins say more about their opponents this year. Remember the bulk of this team were Premiers two years ago.

Who to watch for? Based on performance this year the following are worth watching:

  • Midfield – Bontempelli (Ruck Rover), Liberatore (Centre), Macrae and Hunter (Wings). Also watch for Trengrove’s possible return in the Ruck.
  • Forwards – Schache (CHF).
  • Backline – Suckling (HB) and possibly Johannisen, also returning.

Therefore? It is an interesting listing perhaps showing a willingness to drive out of the Centre using their Wings rather than the corridor. The paucity of Best both Forward and Back should provide us the opportunity to exploit drive out of the Backline and entry into the Forward line.


Round 4. That means there are quite a lot of games to go. I despair at some of the comments on FaceBook. Lucky we’re all such responsible Pies’supporters.


  • Application? Work hard – percentage achieved now is as important as in Rounds 23.
  • Midfield? We need to exploit our Ruck dominance, the direct link between Hit Outs and Clearances, around the ground as well as in the Centre. Watch their Midfield, potentially tagging ‘the Bont’.
  • Efficiency. Watch Pendles – he actually looks before he kicks the ball. A great example fort all.
  • Access to goal? we need to seek to provide multiple leads into the 50. High ‘up & unders’ to Cox are not my preferred means, though our Small Forwards are frequently exploiting the ground ball.
  • Crumbing? Crumbing around packs needs to occur all around. We have been scored against when multiple markers went up and the ball bounced off hands, over the pack. Maybe consider who might leap and who might not.
  • Backline? Nothing to say. Guys, you are doing really well. Don’t be put off by something not working; it will next time. Keep it up. I love the willingness to go for the intercept marks.



  • Expect minimal change but I’d like to see Varcoe back. While I know his numbers are rarely huge, he is frequently in the right place at the right time and can turn a game (run-down tackle or goal). More importantly, he demonstrates to the younger team members (nearly everyone else) application. Who to replace? Levi had a rotten day on Saturday, noting his fantastic performance the week before. Did we tag Gaff?
  • Some players made it through the first VFL game of the season unscathed – Reid, Broomhead and Wills (each first game back after injury). Crocker and Callum Brown continue to impress. The way these things work, subject to performance at training (which I don’t have visibility of), it is unlikely for the first three to return until they’ve had a few more matches under their belts. The VFL game was interesting. They turned a 5-goal deficit at the final change into a 3-point Win, preventing their opponent from scoring in the Final Quarter. I’ve commented previously on “Winning is habit-forming; like losing”. Keep it up, guys.
  • Possible MRP consideration of bump by Adams on Shuey. Watch?

Weather? Clear and sunny, except that it’ll be dark. No rain forecast.

My prediction? Pies Win by 53 points. BOG – Grundy – 33 Disposals @ 86.3% Efficiency, 48 Hit Outs, 14 Clearances. Cox, Elliott and De Goey get 4 each. Crowd – 87,000.


Future. We have Brisbane, in Brisbane, in a week and Essendon on Anzac Day. Linda, your boys are doing very nicely at the moment. Are you going? I expect a very comprehensive Ground Report. Anyone attending Anzac Day?

TV? No FTA for ACT or Regional NSW. Find a friend with FOXTEL or head off to the pub or Club to watch. I’m not sure I get it – the game is covered on FTA in Melbourne.


Go Pies.



To find out more about Almanac memberships CLICK HERE



  1. Thoughtful analysis Cam. Most of the neutrals I have spoken to thought it was a cracking game to watch. I thought the umpiring was overly technical, but as always the interstate team suffers from the crowd “noise of affirmation”. Grundy is a terrific ruckman but he needs a better chop out from a genuine 2nd ruckman. Eagles double teaming neutered the effectiveness of his taps once he started to tire in the second quarter. Same as the GF. He got his hand to it first – but no silver service to your mids – who struggle when not spoon fed. Treloar?? I forgave him the GF because of his long injury absence but he looked ordinary on Saturday. FTB?
    Where you stand depends on where you sit. See you in September.


    Thanks for the comment. Always welcome.
    Regarding the “cracking game” assessment, this may sound funny, but I don’t disagree. The game was almost like a Final, which we always expect to be hard, not pretty, I don’t think either side would have considered that they played to their potential and it’s a long way to the Finals.
    Yes. We’re being ‘sharked’ in the Midfield.
    Typo in the VFL reference – they were three goals up at 3Q time. Fat fingers.

Leave a Comment