Round 11 – Collingwood v Port Adelaide: Pies were for eating and Port is for drinking

by Paul O’Connell

It was a horrible way to spend a Sunday afternoon. After 3 encouraging weeks, the Pies went right back to early season habits, and had what I would say was their worst performance of the year to date. Yes the Pies were really eaten up and Port will be really drinking up.

 

After a good first 10 minutes and being a couple of goals ahead, the team structure and methods just fell apart. A couple of bad Frost moments and our ineffective “zone defence” or whatever it is called, saw Port enjoy a succession of “over the top”/”out the back” easy running goals from close in. How can this keep happening? When Cox goaled after the quarter time siren after finally getting a manhandling free, I was amazed to see we were only 11 points down. But all my confidence was gone after their run of 5 relatively easy goals.

 

We had a lot of the play in the 2nd quarter, but were let down by a series of behinds. Whilst some of the shots were not difficult, given the players involved there was no surprise with the results. Bad kicking is bad football. The only one I thought would go through was the snap by Sidey. To make matters even worse, Smith had a Daicosian goal of the year disallowed, despite replays failing to convince me the ball had gone out of bounds. Port scored several more easy goals as we failed to change our defensive methods. Howe going down with a knee did not help as he and Reid were by far our best defenders in the first quarter. One passage of play in the 2nd quarter summarised our day – Blair ran through the centre and looked ready to handball to a team mate in good position. Realising it was Cox, he decided not to give it off and kicked it himself – along the ground. Cox’s running mark with arms outstretched below his knees was a highlight. Once again he converted after the siren, this time with a good long shot. In the 1st half I kept yelling at him to attempt marks with both hands. From this point onward he did, and took some good marks after half time. He continues to develop and was far from our worst player.

 

Our 3rd quarter was really disappointing. When Pendles kicked our first score after half time, a behind, I noted that nearly 10 minutes had transpired. We finally changed our approach to defence with blokes running back a few times, but it made little difference. We suddenly decided to play rapid fire handball “ring a ring a rosie” a couple of times in the centre which naturally resulted in turnovers. The Port midfielders kept accurately feeding their small/medium forwards (Wingard, Neade, Young & Impey) who just killed us. Once again we lost the quarter and the lead kept building. No after siren heroics from Cox this time.

 

The last quarter was much of the same. Port continued to kick end to end goals, and as I heard later ended up kicking 7 goals from inside the goal square. Cloke had no impact and missed his 2 goal chances, and in the last quarter appeared to dodge a contest. It is hard to judge from high up 100+ metres away, but maybe he was worried about bumping. When close to goal both he and Cox were consistently double teamed. But we kept kicking to them and they were always spoilt.

 

I really wonder how long the club and the members will put up with this rubbish. Bucks is half way through his 5th year. Too many skilled players have walked out or been kicked out (Heater, Daisy, H, Beams). It is a tragedy that none of these played 200 games for the club. I know it is history now, but it needs to be said on a day like today.

 

I don’t doubt the effort or wish to blame players, but the game plan (if we actually have one) just does not work given we have so many players who consistently kick poorly, are one-sided, and don’t have the confidence to take risks. Also, we appeared to make no change to our approach despite the damp conditions. I love stats but they mean nothing when there are other reasons why 2 teams are so far apart on the only stat that really counts – the score.

 

Votes for the Josh Mahoney Medal

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3 to Pendles. Yes he got caught a couple of times and mis-kicked a bit, but he had plenty of it and is so durable and consistent.

 

2 to Reid. Great to see him string some games together. Without him we would have lost by 15 goals.

 

I’m struggling with the 1 vote. Maybe Treloar, Howe, Grundy, Sidey, Sinkers?

Ok I’ll go with Grundy as I love his endeavour, he had plenty of taps, got a bit of the ball and goaled after a one hander.

 

I attended the game with TAFKATBM and his clan. They walked out half way through the last quarter (which is very rare), and I felt like going with them, before deciding to stay til the bitter end.

 

I’m struggling to end with Go Pies! So will end with Go Pies!

 

Cheers

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