AFL Round 1 – Collingwood v Fremantle: Humbled Pies (Floreat Pica Society)

Written by Paul Taylor for the Floreat Pica Society

A serious reality check!

After a ferocious first quarter in which we led the tackle count and slightly on the scoreboard we were swamped by the class of the Dockers in the final three quarters. The gulf in class, experience and hard running was particularly telling and makes me wonder if the doomsayers predicting our demise this season are on the money.


The early signs were very promising for us however. Our pressure was enormous and reminded me of the glory days of 2010 and early 2011. Pendlebury was slipping away from Crowley, Beams was getting a lot of the footy and Luke Ball was industrious and playing like a man possessed. Both Grundy and Witts were holding big Sandilands at bay. If we had taken our chances early we may have gone into the first break with a greater lead. Unfortunately Ball, Sidebottom and Young couldn’t kick crucial goals. A very bright note down back was Langdon. He showed a poise well beyond his years.


Things deteriorated very quickly in the second quarter however and didn’t improve much for the following quarters. Disaster might be too harsh a word, but it was certainly very disappointing. Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the second and third quarters was the ease in which the Dockers carried the ball from one end to the other to score. Their onballers in Fyfe, Mundy, Barlow and Hill were too strong and ran in numbers through the middle. Fortunately, Pavlich and Mayne missed easy shots that would have pushed the score out beyond the 70 points we finally lost by. The size and running power of the Dockers was impressive. They seemed to out number us around the ball whenever it was in dispute. Fyfe in particular was huge. He is simply a gun and matches Pendlebury for class.


The ease in which teams have scored against us has been a feature of the pre-season and it looks like a worrying trend for us. But credit must go to the Dockers for their second and third quarters. They look every bit the team that wished to right the wrongs that befell them on the last weekend of September last year. I think people forget that if not for some wasteful kicking for goal by Ballantyne and Fyfe they could easily have been premiers.


It is hard to know what to make of the pies. We looked impotent up forward. Yet again, poor Clokey was left to battle three out against the opposition backs. We seriously missed White and potentially Reid. Both would have required the attention of key defenders and help straighten our forays forward. At times during the game it appeared as if we were reverting back to the safety of the boundary line as we crept around the wings. The overlap and breaking of the press with handball which was a feature of the pre season was hardly seen. Perhaps this had as much to do with the Dockers pressure as our reluctance to adopt a more daring approach.


Our back six is our biggest worry I think. Langdon was a big positive and Sinclair showed courage and dash. But Maxy, Marty Clarke and even Nathan Brown struggled. Marty is simply not up to it-he looks noting like the player that burst onto the scene six years ago. Toovey as expected tried hard and will no doubt get better but he tired as the match progressed. Frost I think is definitely worth persisting with. He makes some ball handling errors but he is fearless and should really be taking the third forward. The heat needs to be applied to Keefe to getting him going. If he or Brown can’t take the key defensive posts then we are in trouble. Marley Williams and Paul Seedsman would add a lot of dash to our back six, particularly now that Heath Shaw has moved to Sydney. However I don’t think that we will see much of them for a while. In Marley’s case it could be for the rest of the year. Scharenberg, our number 1 pick will be a great halfback but we should be happy if he plays a couple of games towards the end of the year.


Our midfield and rucks are okay. We need to persist with Grundy and Witts. Both just need more game time to become influential players. But we lack players like Hill from Fremantle who can carry the ball and break the lines-particularly if Lumumba plays back. Young has shown the capacity to do this but I worry that he may need great players around him to really see this from him. Freeman, our second player picked in the draft will offer great run but he will also need time. It is worth noting that our players with the highest possessions in the game were Beams, Pendlebury, Swan and Ball. And we still got smashed by seventy points!


Perhaps the greatest thing we can take from this game is the it is only game 1 of a long season. We will get better but as pies supporters we may need to brace ourselves for the fact that this will be a year in transition.



  1. Very depressing.
    I mean how good the Dockers looked. Who cares about Collingwood.

  2. Steve Fahey. says

    Great report Paul, you are (sadly) spot on in my view.

    A wise man once told me to never over-interpret Round 1 results, but the gulf between the teams was scary. As we did last season before Reid went forward, we looked equally predictable as impotent when Travis faced off against 2-4 opponents and we just kept kicking it to him, other than a brief period in the third quarter when he may have been playing a different role, possibly as a decoy target.

    Our kick-ins from their behinds were as incompetent as they have been in the post-Leon period. At one stage we had Maxy kicking out, with relief from Ball. Our options are limited but not that limited. Surely when we are playing Freo the instruction to the kicker is, if they have to kick to a contest to avoid Sandilands at all costs, and for Grundy or Witts to try to run him as far as possible from where we want to kick it and only use Grundy or Witts as a target if Sandilands doesn’t go with them.

    The main interest for me in the last quarter was whether we could replicate our famous/infamous score of 4.17 that we recorded against a Ross-Lyon coached Saints in Round 3, 2010 at the same venue before the miracle that was the rest of that season. I was searching desperately for any positive signs or omens, and I don’t exaggerate when I use the word desperately. Clinton Young’s goal meant that we ended up with the marginally better 5.16.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Good summary Paul what is bewildering is that Collingwood seem to have plan A kick it to Cloke no matter where he is or how many players are standing him Plan B and C etc see above Hopefully White and possibly playing Reid up forward will remedy the infatuation re Cloke . Maxwell has been a brilliant leader but his place just as a player is open to question . M Clarke has been no where near the player he was the 2nd time round . While we will have to wait 10 or so years to make a judgement call over Scharenburg v Aish with apparently Buckley over ruling Rendell it is a massive decision
    Thanks Paul

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