NAB Cup Practice Oops Grand Final Match Geelong v Collingwood by Carolyn Straford

I went to the NAB cup grand final full of optimism and a little confused. Being a Hawthorn supporter I had no allegiance although I went with two Collingwood fans. However I do admit secretly to having a soft spot for Collingwood, (I may be the only Hawthorn supporter that does). My excuse is that I’m surrounded by Collingwood fans at home, at work and by some close friends as well, and, I was persuaded as a seven year old to switch allegiances to Collingwood by an uncle but switched back when Hawthorn won the premiership in 1976….Whew, I’m glad I’ve got that off my chest, I was young and naïve and probably easily influenced, in short “loyalty challenged”. I should emphasise the fact that I moved on many, many years ago and over the past ten years have been a paid up Hawthorn member.

As I told my physiotherapist in passing conversation I felt I was going to the game with a view to watching it through the eyes of a recruiter. Yes, I was worrying about my Supercoach team already. Collingwoods form looked good and there had been much talk of an impending Premiership or at least the potential for one, whether that be now or later in the year, so I was expecting a good game. I had a sort of aural deja vu and reminded myself later that something similar had been talked up at Hawthorn not that many years ago and oh how quickly that went pear-shaped.

The first quarter began with Ottens and Bryan in the ruck and Geelong managed to score three behinds really quickly. Were they continuing on in the same vein as last years Grand Final? It appeared to be a tightly fought, man on man contest but Geelong was retrieving the ball from the packs more easily. When Collingwood gained possession they ran it very quickly and convincingly out of the middle. They were looking impressive. Chris Bryan then kicked a nine pointer for the Pies and Hunt was taken off on a stretcher with what was to be a season ending injury. Geelongs kicking in front of goal was still not looking good.

The second quarter was the game breaker and Geelong piled on six unanswered goals to Collingwoods one point. I wondered whether the stats would back me up but it appeared as if Geelong were achieving more of their goals from on the run rather than set shots. Ablett, Selwood, and Bartel were all working hard, which was not unusual and their collective Supercoach prices were justified. I’ll probably be waiting until later in the season to pick them up. Geelong were applying enough pressure to force mistake after mistake by Collingwood. The third quarter seemed just as bad for the Pies but as Supercoach recruiter I took notice of young Dayne Beams who kicked a goal and put his body on the line, a good sign. Collingwood persisted in hand-balling in their defensive fifty allowing the Cats to keep applying forward pressure and more often than not the Pies would cough it up. It actually took more than 10 minutes into the third quarter before Collingwood goaled. Their last one came in the first quarter.

In the hunt for a cheaper forward I had opted for John Anthony who had looked promising kicking seven goals in a previous NAB cup game but he was fairly quiet on this occasion but I decided to stick with him. A number of other important Collingwood players were fairly quiet as well, including Didak and Davis. Overall Collingwood were unable to keep the ball in their forward fifty and couldn’t apply enough pressure forward or back. Meanwhile Geelong were just so clean in their receives and disposal and consistently pushed Collingwood into going wide down the ground. Collingwood were so completely out-played by Geelong that I was seeing that potential Premiership of any sort disappearing in a puff of smoke, but I had high hopes for my Supercoach team.

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