Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life: Does the NAB Challenge have finals?

G’day to all.  True believers;


Last week:  Hawthorn vs Collingwood, NAB Challenge, 26 Feb 2015. This match Report comes courtesy of Travis King.

While only a practice match against a very young Hawks’ side, winning is always better than the alternative, particularly when you have also picked a very young side (15 players aged 22 or under). An interesting divergence of views is  becoming apparent between some of our fellow group members and the media reporting – Varcoe BOG?  Grundy on the best list?  Time will tell.

Pretty much everyone agreed, however, that there were some good signs for the future – White did well, needs to to stay in; Karnezis did okay, probably need to do more to stay there; Grundy was okay around the ground, less so in the ruck competitions, and Gault and De Goey both “showed some”.  Pretty much everyone agreed that the performance was based on a broad contribution by everyone.  I thought it was good that we ran away with it in the Second Half (10 goals to four and a half); and Bucks was happy (always a good sign).

Should we get excited?  Perhaps not too much. And I certainly don’t predict a premiership based on one practice match; regardless of it being against the current Premiers, but I do note “the Pies are undefeated this season, so far”.  For more on this train of thought, this story from News Limited is worth a look. Actually I do predict a “Pies premiership” this year, like I do every year, just because I can (as a Pies supporter) – 210 days to the GF (plus or minus a few).  Actually I don’t really trust the ‘pre-season comp’ much after our pretty disastrous AFL season in 2011, after having won the pre-season that year.

Next outing:  Sunday, 15 March in Bendigo. Pies versus Carlton.  What do you think they’ll do with the team?  What would you do?  I think the continued rotations are a good idea and would expect some of the seniors to return (Pendles, Trav, Swanny?).  Witts? It depends on his injury. I’d try and keep ‘the newbies’ in, so some of the older players who played last week are in for a rest – Sidebottom, White, Goldsack, Elliott and Fasolo out.

Each of them ‘produced’ at the game and their rest will open up spots for others to come in – Trav for White, Pendles (or Swanny, probably not both) for Sidebottom, someone into the Backline for Goldie and a couple of small Forward positions.  The emphasis remains on the ‘one on one’ competitions, getting a bit of a flow-through connectivity up the ground and pressure, pressure, pressure.  The plan here should be to try to get most of the List “up and running” a bit, heading towards settling a majority of positions towards the end of pre-season (21 March) leading towards our first competition game against Brisbane on 4 April.

What are you looking for?  How about a couple of ideas – Karnezis and Trav not filling the same corridor; Witts and Grundy alternating in the ruck, perhaps one in the middle (Witts) and the two of them sharing around the ground? Pendles managing the Midfield with Varcoe and De Goey working as a team with the talls and a Backline with Browny in charge “talking”.  Who in the Backline can we put into the ‘second-man-up’ role done so well in the past by Maxy?  And a second-look at Greenwood, Crisp and Dwyer?

TV:  Fox from 4.30pm.  No Foxtel? Find a friend with Fox.



More Know Your Club from the Pies website: What is a ‘Skill Acquisition Coordinator’?  Actually, who is a better question?

Some Eddie Watch courtesy of The Herald Sun. Go Eddie!

I’m not going to continue Harry Watch this year (following his departure) but thought it useful to highlight his first run as a Dee (with thanks to the Melbourne FC website).  Chris Dawes is still suspended, I think.

The AFL announced a Gay pride match earlier this week.


Wester Bulldogs v the Pies at Etihad on Sunday, 21 March. Bounce at 7.10pm. Anyone going?  Fox from 7.00pm.   

QN: Does the NAB Challenge have finals or is it just a series of practice games?  Do you know?  How can you win it?


I’m taking a long-weekend.


Happy Birthday, Canberra.


  1. Matthew Sherwood says

    True believers,

    Cam, yet another great summary. Perhaps you should send an average one, just to remind us his good these are!

    A couple of points; I think we should blood as many young players in the NAB Cup while having guys like Greenwood, Varcoe and Crisp get used to being in the mighty black and white.

    I can’t stop watching the replay. Don’t know if it’s the excitement of seeing the youth or the joy of (finally) beating Hawthorn (although not in a premiership match). I think we have the potential to be a top four side this year, but interestingly no one on fox footy saw us in the top eight this year. Below radar? Too young? Injury curse? Hopefully it’s the first two. Remember we came 11th with the injury year from hell, so a bit of mean reversion should see us well and truly within the eight. If they don’t see us in the finals yet, I think be quiet and have them focus on Adelaide, Freo, Eagles, Port etc while we keep winning and cementing our spot.

    Team taking shape; forwards of Trav, White, Gault, Elliot, Fasolo and the ‘K man’. Centre of De Goey, Pendles, Swan, Greenwood, Varcoe and backs of Frost, Brownie, Goldsack, with Grundy and Witts rotating in the ruck, with two wing men and there is the starting 18. Somehow we have to find room for Darcy Moore… Now that’s a nice problem to have and the opposite of last year when were struggling to find 18 bodies to put on the field.

    Have to say I loved Harry, but am glad he’s gone as I think he ended up being poison for the culture of the playing group and the club.

    Looking forward to taking on Carlton and hearing our real national anthem being played after a win.

    ‘Good old Collingwood forever……….’.

  2. georgesmith says

    ” pretty disastrous AFL season in 2011, after having won the pre-season that year???”
    in Tim Brooke Taylor voice from the Goodies after Graham or Bill said something outrageous!

    Only our third most successful season in 25 years! we only lost 3 games, we were a grand Finalist, we topped the ladder and we won the NAB Cup. OK it’s a Grammy to an Oscar, but it’s a prize for coming first.

  3. Cam Hooke says

    Thank you very much to Mr Smith. He is, of course, absolutely correct. For a summary of the 2011 season go to

    His comment does reinforce my question earlier in the year as to what each of us sees as constituting “SUCCESS”. 2011 was undoubtedly a success in the broadest sense, but as Mr Smith noted that didn’t include the “Oscar”. I questioned myself as to why my personal recollection of 2011 is so adverse. Well, with a sister and three brothers who are staunch (and feral) Geelong supporters (plus having lived in Geelong for eight year) our three losses to Geelong that year, including the GF, would be a “a challenge” to me. I, sort of, have added Geelong to our standard ‘enemies’ of Carlton and Essendon. Both Richmond and Melbourne have ‘dropped off’ in recent years.

    Is it enough to make the GF? Your views?

    My thanks to Smith for his input, again. And, yes, I do remember the Goodies.

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