Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life: What might have been

True Believers, that was disappointing weekend – a loss to Richmond, the girls in the Magpies netball side lost and another VFL practice match of questionable significance except they lost by a substantial margin.


Firstly, let me introduce a pair of True Believers – Ali and Katrin. Both are most welcome.  Enjoy!


And, from a personal perspective, thank you for the condolences and sympathy on the Pies’ results, so far, from the other side of the world. It is always appreciated.


Last Weekend?


Magpies Netball:


Round 7 – 2 April versus the Melbourne Vixens. Another close Loss for the girls: 56 to 60.  Go to try, ladiesDid anyone go?




Tigers, last week. Tigers 14.15.99 defeated us 11.14.80. This may sound surprising for a Pies supporter – “I don’t mind (too much) being beaten by a better side” (My best example: GF against Brisbane in 2002 – ask Krista; she was horrified at my ‘equanimity’).  The problem I have is when we don’t perform to the best of our ability – Bucks said it all: “Too much was left to too few“. And the ‘killer’ – at times during the game we saw just how good we could be – there were some fantastic periods of play that almost took my breath away. The fact that we couldn’t keep those going all game and/or exploit them is where the problems lie.


Match Review. Go to and and Buck’s view at


Best: Broadly concur; Grundy, Hewitt-Evans, Pendles, Treloar and Adams were identified.  I would have stuck Goldsack (see below) in behind Grundy and probably moved Treloar up a couple of places (in spite of his Disposal Efficiency (DE); see below).


Some observations:

  • I loved the job Goldsack did on Jack; what a great, flexible team-resource he is. I wasn’t sure where he had gone in the final quarter, but Jack could have been significantly more damaging. I loved Howe’s mark – it reflects his willingness to compete in the packs rather than just ‘punching’. And I loved Grundy’s tap / grab / run / kick / goal (and Treloar’s death-knell same) not that either of them reflected well on ‘the team’.
  • Most of the statistics were fairly even, except for Clearances, as I’ve noted previously, linked with Hit Outs (HO). Richmond won the Clearances 40 to our 37 – “that’s close“, I hear you say. But, when compared to the HO numbers: we won the HO 21 to 49. Broken down by Centre bounce and Stoppage around the ground, the numbers tell a different story: Richmond lost the Centre 12 to 15 (yes, reasonably close), but won around the ground 28 to 22 (not close). These figures would be even more significant if we were able to look at specific periods, both good and bad, but they demonstrate one of the major contributors to Richmond’s momentum around the ground.
  • Less than positives: We had a goal kicked against us marked by Richmond on a ‘kick-in’ – not good enough.  We had a goal kicked against us from the top of the square for a ruck infringement (Grigg / Maynard – blocking the designated ruck) when Grundy was off (I presume) – C’mon, that was unacceptable? Can someone tell me who the alternate ruck actually was?
  • Fundamentally, we were ‘pressured’ out of the game. Congratulations to Richmond; it was a very fine effort by them, and fully expected of them (at least by me). In the face of our pressure (not insignificant), they had eight players with DE over 80%; four of these over 90%; we had three over 80% with none over 90%. Fas had the ‘Shocker from Hell’ game – his final DE was 36.4% which was a significant improvement on his 0.0% DE, into the second half. Many others weren’t too far ahead of him.  Even Treloar’s DE was 65.7%. If you compare his (35 Disposals @ 65.7%) and Martin’s (25 Disposals @ 89% DE) significance, you find they are actually very close (Effective Disposal statistics: 22.9 vs 20.0). And, in relation to this, I thought we lacked coaching flexibility – I was disappointed with the freedom given to Martin throughout the game, and especially to Cotchin in the Final Quarter, when he cut us apart.  Options that should have been considered, perhaps even tried, could have included ‘run-with’ taskings. I thought our Forward smalls were sufficiently under-utilised that they might have actually enjoyed this.
  • Oh yeah, our kicking sucked. Who is the ‘Kicking Coach’ at the Club now?
  • Another ‘single-event’ turning point in the game (or two), how about the free kick to Richmond for the wrong ruck just in front of our goal – late in the game (I didn’t note exactly when and can’t remember now) – a lost opportunity and lost momentum. Or another, Richmond’s mark on our kick-in and subsequent goal (prompted some comments at my TV – fortunately, at that point I was on my own).

Where to next? I don’t see too many problems with our mids (again, I’d be interested to know who our ‘second-ruck’ is, particularly if Grundy was to be hurt) and our backs seem to be working out (and again I’d like to see the extra man there), but our forwards?  Lots of Inside 50s are nothing more than ‘up and under’ hope kicks. We have to do better, maybe try other people (see VFL reporting, below) and approaches (Imagination – Do you have any ideas? See below.


Now I know some of you were there. Ground Reports pls?                                                             .


VFL. Another practice match, this time against against Richmond at Punt Road Oval.  Did anyone get to both games? Report – Best included Scharenberg (back) and Crocker (forward), plus Thomas (mid) and Dunn (back). I’m still watching Keeffe. Cox was injured, went off but came back onto the field.



This week?

Magpies Netball


Round 8 – Magpies vs West Coast Fever; Friday, 7 April; tip-off at 7.30pm at Hisense Arena, Melbourne. Game coverage via Telstra. Go girls.




A Big Claim: What’s my first big claim as a consequence of our first two games? We were good enough to have won both games! And we’re good enough to beat Sydney in Sydney. What that says about the season and the competition is quite extraordinary. Check the results and the ladder, so far: Sydney sitting at 15th, Giants at 9th, Port on top with Richmond 3rd. To be honest, I don’t have a clue what is going on; do you? I turned on the TV and watched Buddy kick three goals in as many minutes (well, one was before a break; two after) and thought Footscray were dead in the water – nope; saw Geelong way behind at the last change and was astonished to find they’d won, by the narrowest of margins. It is a very interesting competition.


Our Game? Round 3 – Friday, 7 April; Sydney vs Collingwood at the SCG (yep, that itty, bitty little ground – Centre to Goal – a kick and a half); bounce: 7.50pm. Another ‘blockbuster’?


Teams. Likely out Thursday night. Go to




Sydney. Sydney are zero from 2 against the Bulldogs at Etihad last weekend (by 23 points) and to Port the week before (by 28 points) – 76.8%. They are sitting 15th on the ladder.  But they still have the most expensive footballer in the league on the team; and he showed why he’s worth every penny on Friday very nearly rescuing Sydney, it would have been undeservedly, from another defeat. But it didn’t happen.


Things & people to watch for? Tippett is out, injured reducing their ruck stocks. Maybe Sinclair or Cameron to assist Naismith?  Sydney’s key is their forward line – Buddy and Reid – how to fix? Close marking and keep the ball away from them? Watch the MRP for a decision on Jones – picking on our boy, Trav (‘rough conduct’ – really? on Trav?). Others – Parker (rover) and Hannebery (centre) are both dangerous and both appear amongst the Best so far this season.  Also watch Kennedy at ruck rover and (their) Grundy at FB. Can anyone tell me if their Grundy and ours are related?


Implications? ‘Aim for the stars’ – should we defeat Sydney their next games following are WC and GWS – they could very easily be ‘nil from 5’ and seriously thinking about 2018.  Buddy and Reid are critical – shut down or avoid. Their mids are not up to our standard and we should exploit that. But we need to watch our entry into the 50.




A longer turnaround; a day longer than Sydney’s.


15th versus 11th, for what that’s worth after two Rounds. We are 11th with a percentage of 83.4%; according to the Ladder we should be favourites.


Mids. An outstanding performance by our mids last week except, I think, Richmond’s were better. A little thing – we need to tie in our replacement rucks so everyone knows what is going on. Also watch for the deliberate ‘rushed behind’ without pressure – not us; but WB (Picken, I think).


Backs? Who to shut down Buddy with? And Reid? Need strong, fast and mobile opponent – maybe Ramsay, though Goldsack did a great job on Jack last week – wear him like a glove? Maybe Reid on Reid. Other Defence – add the ‘extra man’ to provide ‘third man up’ capability – Scharenberg? But who to drop? I thought the kick-ins were better – yes, there was a disaster – a goal from a mark on kick-in. Still needs work.


Forwards? We wasted our opportunities hugely last week when we were dominating the game (as per the previous week). Focus on both parts of the entry to the 50: the delivery and the collection. Both are critical. I see this as our principal failing at the moment.


Changes? Varcoe back? Who else in? Elliott is a possibility, subject to his training this week. I’d like to see Varcoe vice Crisp; Keeffe vice White; Scharenberg vice Mayne and Crocker vice Fas? And Darcy is only there still because he attracts a key defender (or two) – I was very pleased to see him much further up the field against Richmond. Your thoughts – is it like the Australian Cricket Team – harder to get out of it, than to be selected?


We can win this one, tooGo Pies. And our future? Well, after we defeat Sydney we face up to St Kilda and Essendon (on Anzac Day); I would call neither ‘easy-beats’.



Weather? Possible shower (hey, it is Melbourne) with a temperature range from 21 to 13 degrees. Rain is forecast early in the week, so the surface is likely to be wet and the ball slippery – consider sleeved jumpers and boot stops.


Game Previews:



My PicksPies by 28 points. Treloar BOG – 27 touches at 83.4% DE and 3 goals; Other goals to Moore – 3.  Crowd: 45 000 (I don’t remember how many the SCG holds, but it should be full). Best competition: Reid on Reid – a draw – Apparently, there is no love lost between the brothers, though they were pretty civilized about it after the siren.


TV?  Free to Air on 7mate live from 7.30pm.


VFL. Next practice match (and the last) versus North Ballarat on Saturday, 8 April at the Holden Centre; bounce: 12.00pm. The VFL season starts against Coburg on Saturday, 15 April at Piranha Park; bounce 2.40pm. Keep watching, noting that the VFL environment is not always a place to fairly assess individual’s potential at the AFL level – it is, of course, better than nothing regarding achieving some ‘match fitness’ / “getting some games under the belt” and letting us have a ‘a look’.


Other Things:

  • ‘Eddie Watch’. All quiet.  Concerning.

ReportingC’mon ‘Reply to All’ – all views are welcome. Anyone visiting grandchildren in Sydney? Which two CGS teachers are attending the game to celebrate the start of the school holidays – Reports pls?  Others?


Footy Almanac. Remember our little brief gets lodged on-line at the Footy Almanac site at


Go Pies.





  1. Chris Mayne??? I’ve heard he is on a 3 year big money contract. Collingwood must have really needed the money.
    Wells is injury prone, but at least he can play.
    Nathan Brown was brilliant for St Kilda against my Eagles on Saturday after losing the plot as a premiership player at the Magpies.
    Something’s rotten at the Lexus/Holden Centre????

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