Round 1 – Collingwood v Western Bulldogs: Floreat Pica Society match review

 

Collingwood v Western Bulldogs.

 

Round 1, MCG, Friday March 19th, 2021.

 

G’day to the esteemed FPS membership, greetings from Thailand.

 

Given the groundswell of FPS opining immediately following this game, I have had plenty of material to chew on. I solemnly declare that there will be no sugar coating in this, the first match report of 2021.

 

In keeping with tradition, I commence the report with a short focus on a word that first comes to mind in the post game reflections.

 

Today’s word is Blunderbuss.

 

A handgun of fancy wood & metal work from the 1700s, the word has Dutch origins, and pirates seemed to like them, but I’m going to bypass all of that and get straight to the point… Sadly, our beloved Pies, including many of our senior brigade, were riding the blunder bus for pretty much the entirety of Friday night’s game. More on this below.

 

Q1: The game commenced at a furious pace in front of a noisy appreciative crowd. The Dogs are looking sharp & slick early and ruthlessly keeping possession. Three Punt Road goals were on the board quickly, and the all at sea Pies could not get their hands on the ball. The commentators would comment later that for most of the first half, the Pies were desperately trying to slow the game down, to take some of the heat out of the Dogs game. Possession would be heavily on the Dogs side of the ledger for the whole night. Eventually, late in Q1, a superb coast to coast play involving Pendles, De Goey and Cox gave us a major from the goal square. But no further momentum could be gained and the score worm remained flat for the remainder of the first quarter. Just before the bell, JT steals Elliot’s second grab at the ball and kicks a point. Both Elliott and Durea are seen giving JT an earful.

 

Q2: Pendles is nabbed by the likely Mullet of the year award winner and clearly drops the ball. Why he looked surprised I will never know. Free kick, goal to the Dogs. DeGoey gets involved again and we get the ball down to Billy Elliott who threads a beauty from the boundary line. Dogs by 12. Again, no momentum can be gained and we give away a shocker with JT getting on the blunderbuss by running too close to McNeil as he is lining up from 55.  Fortunately balance is immediately restored as Keath takes a few illegal sidesteps while on the mark, which brings Checkers to within range. A superb goal from 55m. Dogs by 12 again. The new ‘on the mark’ rules are going to take a month or two to get used to, as players are not used to being told to stand completely still. Vandemeer kicks one off his shin to extend the lead and then Jack Crisp steps up for the best goal of the night, seconds before the halftime bell. The chain was a bit like a play from last year, Treloar to Adams to Pendles to Crisp. The camera pans to the coaches box, as it always does after a goal right before half time, expecting some raw emotion, but Beveridge takes a deep breath and keeps his cool. Dogs by 11 points at half time.

 

Q3: The third quarter featured more waste than a Broadmeadows landfill site. So many opportunities, spoiled by skill errors. Spilt marks and players delivering half volleys upfield. Naughton threads one from 55 for the Dogs, and soon after it’s our turn. Darcy Moore, clearly our best player, storms out of the back line, delivers a long bomb to Ruscoe for one of his three kicks for the night, who gets it down to an unattended Checkers. A great goal. Why can’t we do this, say 20 times in a game?  Again, no momentum, and we give one back, with three Dogs players raffling the ball from 15m out, Maynard trying to cover all three. JT has the ball knocked from his hands at CHF, which I consider sloppy. Every forward worth his salt knows that if you see a player coming at you, if you have the time, you put your arse between the backman and the incoming ball. JT left himself exposed, the ball spills, 20 Pies players are out of position, the ball goes back down for an easy mark & goal to English. We take a four goal deficit into 3Q time. WHE and Noble join the front row of the bus in this quarter.

 

Q4: The Bont gives us a nice gift by outmarking Checkers (what exactly is he doing at Full Back?) and then misses a sitter. Pendles roves superbly from a pack in the forward pocket, runs the boundary line, hands off to Elliott, goal. Is this the long awaited comeback? No. Unbelievably, Jeremy Howe takes a seat on the blunderbus and lets an easy ball slip through his hands, to several salivating Dogs waiting at the back of the pack. To be fair, Darcy may have spoilt him, but this was surely a standard Jeremy Howe breakfast.  Next on the bus is another star, Jamie Elliot, who elects to hold the ball instead of giving it off to Mason Cox and is himself swallowed up by Keath. A certain goal turns into another foray back into Dogville. Three minutes to go, DeGoey smoothly sails through the middle, delivers down to Cox for a set-shot goal. We are 16 points down, and that’s the last score of the night. Camera pans to a relieved Adam Treloar.

 

How to make sense of this loss? The skill errors by seasoned players really looked poor. Yes, the Dogs are fast and hard at the ball, but even when our players had time on their hands, errors still came. Those kinds of errors can have a psychological effect on the younger players pulling on the guernsey.  Cox not enough marks. Henry needs to learn from Maynard how to tackle. Grundy & Adams nowhere near their best. WHE, Ruscoe and JT all looked slow, indecisive and very ordinary. Looking at the top ten possession getters for the game, nine were Dogs, with Pendles coming in at no. 10. In total, 465 possessions to 316, and yet we lost by less than three goals.

 

Clearly, the Dogs were harder at the ball, and as a result, won many contests easily.  Other stats which appear positive, but only leave more questions; Contested marks, Pies won 17 to 15, and incredibly, hit outs; 46-19. Some big questions hang over our ruck to midfielders delivery. I mentioned the word momentum several times. The Pies were unable to score consecutive goals for the entire night. In recent years, we seem to be the team that gets on the suffering side of shifts in momentum, rather than the side enforcing it. Reminiscing about that game against the Crows where we slammed on 11 in a row…it pops up on my YouTube feed occasionally. Also worth noting, last year, we thumped the Dogs by 52 points in round one.

 

There was one moment in the game where Treloar coughed one up to Thomas and the ball went forward to WHE, with time, space, and plenty of Black & White to choose from. A certain goal, surely. WHE somehow manages to kick the ball to nobody in particular, the Dogs swoop and it swings back to the other end. The coach holds his head in his hands. It summed up the night.

 

Votes;

 

3. Darcy Moore; Good decision making, fast work out of the back line, towering intercept marks. If not for him it would have been a 40 point loss, for sure.

 

2. Pendles; had a lot of the ball and was his usual creative self. If he could cut his blunder count in half by next week, we’ll probably be in a winning position, and his young charges will be back in awe of their skipper.

 

1. Very hard to find anyone for this, but I’m giving it to Maynard for his 21 possessions, hard running, hard tackling and setting an example to the younger brigade. Sadly, Frank had much more material to work with on the DRs than I did for the Horsbrough votes.

 

 

Like everyone, I was really hoping to be reporting on a win.

 

Let’s hope we can restore our ship with a solid win over the Auld Enemy this Thursday.

 

Cheers to all,

 

The Bangkok Correspondent.

 

Paul A. McKay

 

 

 

COLLINGWOOD                      1.2       4.6       5.7       7.11 (53)
WESTERN BULLDOGS             3.2       6.5       9.7       10.9 (69)

 

GOALS
Collingwood:
 Mihocek 2, Elliott 2, Cox 2, Crisp
Western Bulldogs: Vandermeer 2, Naughton 2, Smith 2, Bruce, McNeil, English, Martin

 

BEST
Collingwood:
 Pendlebury, Moore, Maynard, Crisp, Mihocek
Western Bulldogs: Smith, Bontempelli, Macrae, Daniel, Hunter, Martin

 

INJURIES
Collingwood:
 Nil
Western Bulldogs: Nil

 

Collingwood: C.Brown (unused)
Western Bulldogs: West (unused)

 

 

Crowd: 46,051 at the MCG

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