Round 13 – Collingwood v North Melbourne: We are Back …..and so is the long tall Texan (Floreat Pica Society)

Some pre-game comments.

 

At last, Collingwood is playing a match after a reasonable break rather than four or five days between games. And even better, we are playing on a neutral ground, rather than having to play (for example) the two Perth teams in Perth.

 

We are however on a hiding to nothing. North are second last, they have almost as many injuries as we do and a much poorer list. Even when we lost Pendles and Sidey we still had a pretty good choice of midfielders. When the Roos lost Ziebell and Cunnington, they were left with the ageing Shaun Higgins and not much else in their midfield. So we are expected to win. If we do, it does not necessarily prove that we can beat good teams like Port Adelaide or West Coast if we meet them again in the Finals. If we lose it proves that we are no good.

 

Some indication of our season is that when we selected Appleby and Greenwood for their first games this year, it meant that we have played 39 players….at the end of Round 13! I haven’t done a full count for all seasons since we moved to a 22 match fixture, but my impression is that most years we play between 30 and 35 players over 22 matches. Of the remaining eight players that we have not used, two of them (Langford and Beams) are unavailable because of physical and mental injuries, five have yet to play their first game and I don’t know why Nathan Murphy hasn’t got a game yet, but if he is fit, the odds are they will play him, too.

 

The game

 

Earlier in the season our match plan seemed to be to be quick out of the blocks, start like a rocket, kick a lot of goals in the first quarter and establish dominance over our opponent. Some players, Stevo, in particular, seemed to think that they were only on the field to score in the first quarter, but it worked for some of the early games.

 

In the last few weeks this strategy has been turned on its head. Now we start slowly, give our opponents a head start and hope to catch them before the final siren. That is how we started against North. Lots of turnovers, lots of fumbles. One goal to North’s two, and North looked capable of scoring more. Maynard, Moore and Noble were keeping us in the game while we underperformed in the Inside 50s. One ray of sunshine was Greenwood’s return after missing the whole season. He came back as aggressive and forceful as ever.

 

The second quarter was better. We scored three goals to their one. Most of our scoring and most of our revival was in the second half of the second quarter. Sidebottom off the ground to Elliot, Elliot to Thomas for his second goal of the season. It was a beautiful goal but I would rather have Stephenson in the team. He kicks more goals playing poorly than Thomas does playing well. The next goal was from a beautiful goal by Daicos, kicked under pressure because it was obvious that he would be crunched after he kicked the ball as he duly was.

 

The last goal of the quarter was the most important of all. Big Mason Cox, who had done nothing up to that point, marked and goaled. It seemed to get him going. For the rest of the match he gave goal assists, led North’s best defender (Chris’s brother Robbie) away from the action and brought the ball down to our small forwards and midfielders. Mason at his best can do a lot more than Cameron and is less injury prone than Reid. Please Bucks, play him for the rest of the season.

 

North took a brief lead after the half time break following a goal by Simpkin. Then Pendlebury took over, supported by Adams, Sidebottom and Crisp. Pendles had eleven possessions and kicked a goal in the third quarter. It was a Captain’s game and it lifted the whole team. Flynn Appleby, who had played his previous handful of games as a defender emerged as a promising forward, although he will need to improve his accuracy. He could easily have had three goals. Trey Ruscoe also got in the act with two goals in the second half.

 

In the end it was a good victory, but with Carlton and Brisbane coming up in the next two weeks we need to get back to our fast starts. If we give the Lions a quarter and a half start we won’t catch them.

 

A note on a few players.

 

In the first game of the season (against the Bulldogs) I gave Jack Magden three Danny Roach votes.  He has been steadily improving in the last few weeks. I thought that he really contributed to the Pies’ victory in this match. Having said that, he will still probably lose his place when Jeremy Howe comes back. Still it is nice to have some really good depth players.

 

Trey Ruscoe’s goals really lifted my spirits. Not because they were great goals but because young Trey got so much pleasure from kicking them. He reminded me of Daisy Thomas’ first couple of seasons. Ruscoe will probably never be as good as Daisy was in his early years but, like the young Daisy he displays pure joy and surprise at his achievements.

 

Josh Daicos has definitely arrived. He is now kicking at least one goal every match and most of them are beauties.

 

 

The Horsbroughs – Five into three won’t go

 

There are five players that deserve Horsbrough votes. However Paul Harkin has argued very strongly against fractional votes and I can see his point so here are the options.

 

Braydon Maynard. Was our best player in the first half and kept us in the game when North was better in attack than we were.

Steele Sidebottom Linked the midfield with forward line. Multi skilled player who we are really going to miss over the next few weeks. Good luck with the birth of your child Sidey and I hope we can provide some finals games for you to come back to.

Scott Pendlebury. Turned the game around in the third quarter. We wouldn’t have won without his third quarter effort.

Taylor Adams. As usual he had more possessions then any other Magpie. Kicked a fine goal and also provided leadership. Surely he will captain the club after Pendles retires.

Darcy Moore. Brilliant in defence, as usual. I think he is our best Centre Half Back since the great Billy Picken. One day he may follow his Dad and win a Brownlow.

 

3 votes Darcy Moore

2 votes Scott Pendlebury

1 vote Braydon Maynard

With sincere apologies to Sidey and Adams,

 

 

For more from the Floreat Pica Society, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. John Butler says

    Dave, it feels nice to contemplate a Collingwood v Carlton game in August that actually has relevancy to the finals. It has been a while.

    Cheers

  2. Dave Nadel says

    My feelings also, John.
    Cheers.

  3. Jim Kesselschmidt says

    Well written Dave. I think the long stemmed yellow rose straightens us up but can he please hold onto his marks.
    There is some Joy about watching young Ruscoe celebrate his goals reminded me a bit of Fasolo.

    While I like the prospect of playing Carlton I don’t when we are so injury depleted.

    Greenwood was a welcome return & I look forward to his hardness against the opposition. The second game back from injury can often be harder than the first.

    Crisp and Maynard are a pleasure to watch as is Moore and Pendlebury’s return in his second game back is wonderful.

    I’m not sure if it’s enough to beat the Carrrrrrlton this week but like you I’ll be barracking hard from the vantage point and comfort of our sofa

  4. Jim Kesselschmidt says

    Dave does “Texas Hold’em” apply to Mason Cox?

  5. Danielle Hakim says

    Hey Dave :)
    Super Happy to see my main man Maynard (that’s a nice bit of alliteration) making it into the votes.
    Game against the Blues cannot be lost. Need to throw everything including the kitchen sink at em.

  6. Dave Nadel says

    Jim, I wish I was confident that our favourite Texan can hold ’em, However even with the occasional dropped mark he is clearly our best option at full forward. I expect Cameron to make way for Checkers this week.

    Hi Dani, Nice to start reading your articles again.I really enjoyed your piece on the North match. I am sorry that you did not get a position as a journalist because you are a fine writer. My son, who is a few years younger than you, completed a Masters of Journalism earlier this year. He gets about one freelance article a month published but is basically supporting himself as a cleaner. It is not a good decade for journalists.

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