How to beat Goliath: five ways Collingwood can topple the Tigers


It’s been heard before. Certain ways to beat Richmond can be said, listed. Yet nothing has really seemed to trouble the Tigers in Victoria throughout the 2018 season.


They have rolled on as a juggernaut, unable to be stopped even when experiencing bad days. However, if they are to be stopped, Collingwood are one of the only teams capable of inflicting damage upon the unassailable game plan of the Tigers. And here’s how they’ll have to do it.


Stay desperate. Stay with them.


Richmond aren’t the type of team who blow others away within the first quarter. This can be good but it means that they steadily apply waves of pressure until the opposition crumbles. It’s what allowed them to break free in all of the 2017 finals series, as they managed to go on a second-half spree in each game to solidify a Premiership. Part of this is based on fitness. Collingwood have had two tough games, yet this may have hardened them and kept their match fitness to an optimum. Therefore, they must do what they have done in their previous encounters with Richmond and stay with them, even ahead of them if possible. If they can do this and remain fit and energetic, then who knows what a final quarter in front of 100,000 may bring when the Tigers are coming off one game in four weeks.


Don’t let Richmond kick red-time goals.


In the previous two encounters between the teams, quarters were relatively even, bar the final terms in both games. However, Richmond were able to maintain their lead and stay a couple of goals ahead due to their ability to hit the scoreboard late in quarters. Casting the mind back to the latest Richmond v Collingwood game, Dusty’s late goal before half time shifted the momentum away from the Pies and ensured that they would never see the lead again for the remainder of the game. If the Magpies are to cause a large-scale boilover, they have to stop these late goals in the last five minutes of play, or else they’ll be down at the end of quarters regardless of how well they play during the guts of the term.


Use the ball smartly when entering forward 50.


With the likes of Rance, Astbury, Grimes and co roaming the Richmond back half, it has never been more important for Collingwood to use their slingshot running game to cleanly pass these barriers while attacking. Glimpses of it were shown against GWS, where the hard leading of De Goey broke open the forward 50 and allowed for easy shots at goal. But this has to be done by Hoskin-Elliot, Cox and Mihocek as well in order to prevent Rance and Astbury from coming in as a third man. High balls down the line are killers, and the Pies, through the wise heads of Pendlebury and Sidebottom, have to lower the eyes and hit targets forward of centre if they are going to kick a score large enough to win the game.


Cut off Jack’s leading room


Coleman Medallist Jack Riewoldt is indispensable for the functioning of Richmond’s forward line. The reason why they score so heavily with just one tall forward is because he is so damn good at what he does. His leading is key in creating space for his livewire small forwards. If you can flood Riewoldt’s leading space and cut off his runs, then it also blocks the likes of Rioli, Higgins and Castagna from finding room to crumb balls and kick easy goals. It all starts with Jack. A hard task for the likes of Goldsack, yet he needs the help of midfielders and his fellow defenders to prevent Riewoldt from selflessly creating goals for his teammates.


Pressure them the whole time – especially their midfield.


Grundy is huge in dictating how the Pies will go. He will most likely beat Nankervis in the hit-outs. Therefore, Collingwood’s dominant midfield must win the clearances and give their forwards first use of the footy before the Tigers can kick in to gear. Scoreboard pressure is key in finals, and winning the ball at the coalface and gaining territory goes a long way to securing this. However, Grundy must also cover big Toby around the ground, and make sure that his intercept marking is limited. Also, Greenwood is going to need to pressure Dusty all night. If he is forced to go forward with the suspect leg problem, then the intercept efforts of Howe will need to stop him from getting goals. If Dusty is down in form and score output, then the midfield can be pressured to swing the momentum towards Collingwood’s way.



  1. Sean, do you, does anyone recall the last time Collingwood beat Richmond in a final ?

    I’ve followed the footy since 1969. The two sides clashed in the preliminary final that year, with a 26 point Richmond win, on the way to the flag, but i can’t recall it.

    I recall 1971 when Richmond won the first semi final encounter by 45 points, after only leading by 2 points coming into the final term.

    1973 the two sides met in the preliminary final. At half time Collingwood lead by 36 points, only to be over run, going down by 7 points. Richmond’s master stroke was to bring on captain Royce Hart at half time. Hart,though not 100% fit, sparked a revival, as Richmond went into the grand final, where they beat Carlton. Collingwood,who finished the home and away season top of the table, went out in straight sets.

    1975 the two sides met in the elimination final. In a slippery, muddy clash the Richmond holding on by 4 points, ending Collingwood’s season.

    The last encounter was the famous 1980 grand final. We all know the end result.

    Anyhow this information is totally esoteric, having no bearing on this week ends match. I’m looking forward to two great rivals, real clubs with organic link sto their supporters, turning on an epic.

    May the best team win.


  2. David Henricus says

    A terrific analysis Sean. There is no doubt the pies will win if Buckley defers to you on match day!
    Nevertheless, Richmond will only apply one strategy, the same one that has worked for 22 games at the G!

  3. Yep, good analysis. Collingwood has the tools to beat Richmond – beat them in the midfield, starve them of the footy, be patient and use their tall timber to pick their way through Richmond’s flood. Above all, handle the ball cleanly. We have seen teams do it for periods this year and some for whole games (Adelaide in Adelaide). Collingwood is capable.

  4. Glen
    1st semi final 1937 – Collingwood 18.12 def Richmond 10.9
    Yep – 81 years!!

  5. Ta Stainless.

    Now the next task; find some one who remembers the game !


  6. Sean, you were so right. Your Pies won.

    I need to offer a public apology for a serious error i submitted on September 18. In reply to your posting i had forgot to mention Richmond beat Collingwood in the 1972 Qualifying Final. How did i forget that ?!?

    Any how after 81 years Collingwood finally beat Richmond in a final. Good luck next week.


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