Round 17 – Western Bulldogs v Collingwood (Floreat Pica Sociey): Five straight spells despair/joy for Pies

written by Dave Nadel for the Floreat Pica Society 

In some ways this game begins last week when Jamie Elliot missed the Weagles match through injury and Cloke limped off the field with a torn calf muscle in the first quarter. Cloke’s injury was unforeseeable and Elliott’s was discovered at very short notice so the inability of the Pies to cover their lack of firepower against West Coast was excusable, but better was expected for the Bulldogs’ match.

 

The response at the selection table on Thursday and Friday was not encouraging. Collingwood announced four new players in its squad; Tyson Goldsack, Darcy Moore, Sam Dwyer and Patrick Karnezis. The club website described this as the selection as “four forwards” which I thought was pushing it as Goldsack was playing in defence before his injury and in recent years has been far more effective as a defender than as a forward. To my horror on Friday afternoon Goldsack as a replacement for Cloke was the only change to the previous week’s (losing) team. In the papers and on the net Goldie was listed as full forward!

 

Fortunately, somebody must have had second thoughts on Saturday when Seedsman was withdrawn in favour of Moore. Seedsman would not have been my first choice for withdrawal but Moore had to play. As it turned out he was the Pies’ only credible forward against the Bulldogs.

 

The game started well with Pendlebury scoring in the first minute. Varcoe and Grundy between them nearly made it two in a row in the second minute but then the Bulldogs got in the act. Collingwood was actually winning in the ruck, but were losing the clearances. Witts and especially Grundy had good games but so did almost all of the Bullies’ midfielders. By quarter time the Bulldogs were leading the Pies five goals to three. Many Collingwood players had played quite well, Varcoe, Pendlebury, Swan and Langdon had played extremely well, but the Maggies did not look good up forward. Fasolo had not managed to touch the ball even once.

 

The game was mostly a good spectacle. Collingwood was beaten but not humiliated and always seemed to be in with a chance until the final few minutes. Both sides played with a high level of determination that was not always matched with the same level of skill. This is because both sides included a lot of young players who will improve in the next few years. Sunday’s game was for a place in the Eight. Next year, when the Bulldogs’ regain Liberatore and Tom Boyd develops and we have Adams, Broomhead and Elliott back in the team and hopefully Scharenberg and Freeman finally playing, these two teams may well be competing for a place in the Four. By 2017 who knows how high the stakes will be when Collingwood plays the Western Bulldogs.

 

Collingwood’s biggest problems were in front of goals (ours and theirs). Our midfielders often just simply kicked the ball long to the forward line, which is a good tactic when you have Travis Cloke, the best pack mark in the competition down there. It is less effective when your first choice forward is the disappointing J. White. Towards the end of the match Darcy Moore started taking contested marks and that certainly helped.

 

At the other end of the ground Marley Williams (and Tom Langdon) were playing well but so were the Bulldogs’ forwards. Far too often Marley had to attempt to mark or spoil against the much taller Stringer and Crameri which raises a couple of questions about the awareness and positioning of our tall defenders.

 

I have praised the young players of both sides but I was also pretty impressed by the three oldest players on the ground, Bob Murphy and Matthew Boyd for them and Dane Swan for us. Which leads me to the Horsbroughs.

 

3 votes. Dane Swan. Terrific first half, but also played well in the second half. If Swan has lost a yard of pace it is not noticeable from the stands.

 

2 votes. Steele Sidebottom. I thought he started slowly and made a few questionable decisions in the first half but the longer the game went on the more dominant he became. By the last quarter he was pretty close to best on the ground.

 

1 vote Darcy Moore. Five goals straight in his third game speaks for itself. He doesn’t look all that much like his Dad but he has clearly inherited his ability. Dare we hope that when Cloke comes back White is dropped and we have Cloke and Moore as our key attack.

 

Honourable mentions to Langdon (in particular), Williams, Varcoe and Grundy.

 

One final comment. Young Darcy Moore wasn’t the only son of a 1970s Collingwood champion on the field. The other one, Billy Picken’s son Liam, was playing (very well) for the Bulldogs as he has for about a decade because the Pies didn’t want him. Let’s hope we wont be making similar comments in a few years time over James Stewart and Jake Kelly.

 

Comments

  1. Dave you mention Billy Picken has a son , Liam playing for the Bulldogs. Was there another Picken a few years ago at Brisbane ? Regardless if there are one or two Picken’s who’ve played AFL during the last decade, why didn’t your team or Sydney, snaffle them, under the father son rule ?

    Glen!

  2. E.regnans says:

    Great stuff Dave.
    Many insightful observations.

    I wonder a bit about this “looking to the future” idea.
    It’s necessary, of course, but isn’t every other club also doing that?
    And who knows what else the future may bring (serious injury to Pendlebury? to Swan? go Grundy?)?

    I’ve not seen a minute of play since a few moments of the Port loss over there.
    And nothing live since the North comeback.
    But I like this side.
    Who knows what 2015 will bring in the end? It’s still only July.

  3. Dave Nadel says:

    Glen. Marcus Picken who was also a son of Billy’s spent four years at Brisbane and another year on the Bulldogs’ list when he failed to be selected for the seniors. Collingwood could have drafted either or both of Billy’s boys (Sydney wasn’t eligible, Billy only played 28 games for them). I don’t know why Collingwood rejected Marcus but I believe they thought that Liam lacked his Dad’s build and phenomenal marking skills. That was probably true but what was more relevant was that Liam shared his father’s commitment, courage and concentration.

    The thing that always impressed me about Billy during the late seventies and early eighties was the fact that he was always amongst Collingwood’s best in all those Grand Finals that we lost. Even in the debacle of 1980 Billy was close to our best player. From what I have seen and read about Liam’s career, first at Williamstown and then at the Bulldogs, he has the same never say die attitude as his Dad. I wish that he was wearing black and white.

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