Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life – Rounds 1 and 2: Reports

Subject: AFL Rounds 1 and 2

 

Firstly, a very warm ‘Pies family’ welcome to Garbis and Scott, both from somewhere within Defence. Guys, this is just a bit of fun, within the Pies’ family. We welcome your views, criticisms and opinions on everything and anything relating to our great game and our great Club. Don’t be shy.

 

True Believers, what a way to start the season; not just us, many of last Season’s top teams – Richmond beat Carlton but was seriously outplayed for much of the middle Quarters (see more below), Port beat Melbourne in Melbourne, Hawthorn beat Adelaide in Adelaide, Footscray beat Sydney and Brisbane beat the reigning Premiers, West Coast. And the Giants are busy destroying Essendon. What is going on? For us, this was not fun. As I disclosed last week my family connections (my siblings are all seriously feral Geelong supporters) has me rate the success of a Season based on Wins over Geelong; and the Premiership, which, of course, can trump the former. Regardless, a pretty poor start, along with many others. Lucky there are another 22 Rounds until the Finals. Stay confident. Let’s not see ‘silly’ Facebook comments; really, after one game?

 

Round 1 – Geelong. Geelong 10.12.72 defeated Collingwood 9.11.65.

 

A poor performance, against an unimpressive Geelong. Okay, they chased harder and worked harder than us but it wasn’t really a particularly dominant display by them. We just looked ordinary; almost as if we didn’t want to be there. I hope the coaching staff sit everyone down and go through the game noting, by stopping the replay, just how badly many of our players were positioned at times. And how some of them actually stopped chasing. “Not happy, Jan”.

 

Match Report – https://www.afl.com.au/match-centre/2019/1/coll-v-geel#/round/CD_R201901402

 

Buck’s Interview – https://www.afl.com.au/video/2019-03-23/full-postmatch-magpies

 

Ground Report – The perspective you get at the game is significantly different to watching it on TV (particularly given some bias amongst the commentators). You can judge the players’ motivation and intensity, consider the game’s momentum and its shift during the game and you can participate in that most important signature chant, ‘Collingwoooooood‘ (when we are winning). As such, I routinely ask that those going to the game give us a Ground Report based on the experience. This can be very short or lengthy and can go direct to everyone (Reply to all) or via me. And, I know, it is much harder when we lose, so thank you in anticipation. As for Friday:

 

“Not much to say about the game at the G. Outplayed and outrun by the Cats. 

 

“The last time I was on such a sombre train to Hurstbridge (for those who don’t know Melbourne, you will find Pies’ fans on the Hurstbridge and Mernda lines before and after a game) was on the last Saturday in September. 

 


So, it was the first, not the last, game of the year but it was disappointing all the same. A scrappy game which never rose to any great heights it had all the mistakes of a pre-season game. It was great to have Elliott back, Beams showed glimpses, Treloar had 30+ possessions and Moore was great down back. 

 

But otherwise, we couldn’t kick straight, murdered the ball when we had it, and turned it over too often. 

 

We will play better than this, but we will need to as we have the Tigers next Thursday and the Eagles the following week. This should have been our 4 points. We can’t be 0-3.”

 

Many thanks, Elizabeth.

 

What was I looking for? A reminder, with some comments (numbers below):

 

  • Start quickly. Not achieved, though we didn’t start slowly either.
  • Dominate the Midfield – tag Selwood and turn the taps into Clearances (particularly at stoppages around the ground). Okay Greenwood missed selection but maybe because Selwood is getting old. He had 25 Disposals but at 52.0% efficiency (see below). Probably a good call. Dangerfield had 27 touches but at 59.3% efficiency. Ablett was better – 23 touches at 73.9% efficiency plus 2 Goals – very dangerous in the Forward Line. Taps into Clearances – see next section.
  • Continue to control our entry into the 50 with multiple, varied entry points. See below re Inside 50s and Marks inside 50.
  • Shut down their key Forwards and their small Forwards. Comment, as above.
  • Chase and tackle. Not really achieved. They did better.

 

Numbers?

 

  • Hit outs – 41 (us – mainly Grundy) / 27 (them). This is healthy advantage, but see next.
  • Clearances  – 35 / 40. So, what we have is the advantage in the Hit outs has been lost. While the Centre numbers are about the same (11 / 10) the Clearances at stoppages around the ground are poor (24 / 30). There is a serious need for our ‘best Midfield in the competition’ to start demonstrating that.
  • Inside 50s – 48 / 58. This can be misleading because huge ‘up and unders’ also count. But wait, what’s next?
  • Marks inside 50 – 7 / 14. So Geelong had twice as many marks from which they could reasonably shoot at Goal than us. It’s lucky we weren’t beaten by a massive margin.

 

And a couple of statistics reflecting team effort:

 

  • Contested possessions – 137 / 145.
  • Tackles – 49 / 63.

 

Frees (a favourite of John (the Geelong supporter)) – 21 / 24. My recollection was that we were way ahead of Geelong at Half Time so they got a significant boost in the 2nd Half. Actually I thought the umpiring was okay, apart from Howe’s disallowed mark.

 

Individual Performance?

 

It is easy to selectively  misread the numbers. Disposals are touches and ‘many touches’ are good, right? Treloar had 34 touches, but his efficiency was awful – 61.8% so about one third of his touches did not actually contribute to the team effort. Clangers are a further category which records when a Disposal goes directly to an opponent (like Howe’s kick-in in the dying minute, to unfortunately (and unfairly; he played okay more generally) pick one). But neither Treloar nor Howe were on their own. Sidebottom had 26 at 73.1%; Mayne – 22 at 72.7%; Crisp – 26 at 65.4%. Pendles (24 at 83.3%) and Moore (16 at 81.3%) were amongst the best. In some ways the Efficiency reflects the pressure from the opponents, but not always. Our waste in Q2 was quite extraordinary and reflected, very simply, poor decision-making. How to fix it? I don’t know but a bit more communications between players, maybe advising that someone with the ball “is hot” might help. I love the way Varcoe ‘threatens’ his opponents, but watch the end of the tackle – the umpire is still watching.

 

There is the important need to play ‘adventurous footy’, to take risks. This is what makes our game so spectacular, what we love. Bucks highlights in his post-Match interview that sloppy play resulting inevitably in turnovers was a consequence of poor cohesion amongst the players and poor decision-making. He acknowledged this flowed from the pre-Season and undertook to pursue the ‘game on our terms’ (see below). His term “profligacy” described the lack of exploitation in Q2.

 

Best? Broadly concur (Treloar, Moore, Pendles, Phillips, Elliott, Sidebottom) but might add Crisp and Mayne. Roughead and Aish also contributed. There’s a lot missing, aren’t there.

 

The Game?

 

My view of the game was that Geelong defined ‘the game’, that we let t?hem largely (with exceptions) get away with it. We need to define our Game Plan and stick to it (see Bucks comments on the game). I agree.

 

The exceptions were periods of unadulterated brilliance when the end to end passage out of the Backline towards the Goal was ‘perfect’; the close-in passage of the ball between players was breathtaking. But, then, some extraordinary things happened in the Forward line and the good work was lost. I thought the Backs did well both defending and as the start of the drive forward. The connection up the field also worked but the reception Forward was ordinary. The Game Plan needs to reflect every part of the process. I think I’ve covered the Midfield above. The Forwards? Well, Billy’s back; the rest I’m not sure what to say.

 

Geelong worked harder than us, they chased and tackled harder and they maximised their opportunities; and some of their ‘newbies’ are going to be useful. But mostly, the game was pretty boring and, ultimately, we Lost. Bugger. As Elizabeth highlighted, it’s 4 points that went missing.

 

Round 2 – Richmond.

 

The Game. Thursday, 28 March at the G; bounce 7.20pm.

 

Them. Premiers two years ago and our opponent in the ‘game of the season’ – last year’s Preliminary Final (Need a morale boost? Go to https://www.afl.com.au/match-centre/2018/26/rich-v-coll)) Richmond remain a serious contender. They disposed of Carlton last week in fairly unimpressive fashion – particularly in Q2 and Q3. Of course, they lifted a few gears and ran over the top of Carlton when they needed to. From last year’s PF and last week’s game, who to watch for:

 

  • Martin – FF;
  • Cotchin – Centre;
  • Riewoldt – FP;
  • Lynch – FP. Recruited from Brisbane; we were interested in him late last year. Richmond’s win comes with a challenge: How do three stars work together in the Forward Line?
  • Nankervis – Ruck;
  • Lambert – Ruck Rover (I can’t remember what the new specific Follower term is);
  • Houli – CHB; and
  • Higgins – HF.

Who not to watch for? Rance, injured, a serious loss to Richmond. Not too many teams boast a multiple representative All Australian Full Back.

 

How will Richmond play? Last week demonstrated a fairly relaxed approach to the game, getting a good start then easing off until an improvement was needed. Perhaps, as we demonstrated last year a seriously good start is essential. Who to put on Cotchin? Tagger – maybe Sidebottom. The most important thing – work out the Game Plan and implement it for four quarters.

 

Us. I’m not in favour of multiple changes on the basis of one game, so selections from training. Things to pursue:

 

  • Start quickly – critical against this side;
  • Dominate the Midfield – tag Cotchin and turn the taps into Clearances (particularly at stoppages around the ground);
  • Control our entry into the 50 with multiple, varied entry points – the Forwards need to offer alternatives. Use Cox as one of a number of Forward alternatives, not as a single target – at least he seems to be being protected this year?
  • Shut down their key Forwards and their small Forwards – the challenge for the Back 6; and
  • Chase and tackle – do better than last Friday.

We need the points. We have the capability and the Game Plan – let’s use it.

 

  1. TV. Yep, free to air on Channel 7, from 7.00pm.

 

Weather. Maximum of 26 degrees during the day, broken cloud cover, little chance of rain. Expect it to be dry and still. But, of course, it is Melbourne.

 

My prediction. I predict a Pies Win (don’t I always) by 17 points. Elliott, Stephenson and De Goey each get two Goals; Cox has six Goal Assists. BOG Beams with 36 disposals. Crowd – 93,000. What do you think?

 

Anyone going? Thanks to those who attended the first game and reported to us all. I am still waiting for a couple of Reports pls?

 

Other Teams

 

Collingwood has a total of six teams:

  • AFL.
  • AFLW
  • VFL
  • VFLW
  • VWFL
  • Netball

 

I am not going to cover each of the other teams. They are well addressed on the Pies’ website.

 

Other Canberra Sports. As I’m no longer in Canberra, I’m not going to address these either, except for the Giants’ games (see below).

 

Giants – Canberra games, for Canberra residents’ (plus maybe people who live in the surrounds) diary:

  • Fremantle – R5 – 20 April;
  • St Kilda – R7 – 4 May; and
  • Hawthorn – R21 – 9 August.

 

Other:

 

  • New Rules. The 6:6:6 rule does seem to benefit us – we seem to be about even in Clearances from the Centre but are lagging hugely at stoppages around the ground. Other things no comment.
  • Eddie Watch. All quiet, which is always concerning.
  • Ex – Pie. Marsh. Didn’t get selected with St Kilda. Watch and see.
  • Footy Almanac. This epistle is also published in the Footy Almanac (without the email addresses of course). It can prompt some external discussion. Go to https://www.footyalmanac.com.au/. If you are interested in a bit of history, type “Hooke” into the search engine and a few years of reporting will appear.

True Believers, believe, enjoy.

 

Go Pies.

 

Cam

 

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