Round 14 Preview – Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life

Greetings to all True Believers, and the others.

Firstly a very warm welcome to Dee.  She joined Defence Force Recruiting on Monday and was identified as a Pies’ supporter in very short order.  Enjoy.

Still feeling good after last week?  I am.  I was really impressed with the application across the paddock.  Some ‘clean-up’ in our possessions is necessary (and will be essential this week) but probably fairly reflected the intensity of the game (as measured by Disposal Efficiency and Tackles).

According to The Age’s Brad Elborough, http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/next-three-matches-crucial-to-collingwoods-top-four-hopes-20150626-ghy8dc.html, the Pies need to win their next three matches and, potentially win eight of their last nine games to get back into, and stay in, the Top 4.  I hope we do, like I hope we win every week.  This may sound a bit funny, but I am largely unconcerned whether we stay in the Top 4.  If we are playing as well as we can, with our full List, I have little doubt we can win from the bottom half of the Ladder.  How’s that for confidence?  My 50:1 bet on the Pies to win the Flag is still looking okay.  I’m a bit sorry I didn’t put a bit more on; pay off the mortgage, etc.  With a couple of exceptions (Quarters, rather than games), our performance this year has been solid, and has been improving.  As noted by Ian, last week’s effort against Freo was a ‘four-quarter’ effort; perhaps the first we’ve seen this Season.  The continuing solid team results in the Twos, with some outstanding individual performances, simply backs this up.  There’s a bunch of people putting their hands up, wanting to step-up.

This week?  Friday, 3 July, at the G, against the reigning Premiers, Hawthorn.  Bounce at 7.50 pm.

Us & Them.  Technically this is Fourth versus Fifth.  They are the favourites: betting $3.80 to $1.27; a substantial difference.  And we all know that, in reality, the Hawks are the Favourites for the Flag, particularly following Richmond’s demolition of Sydney last week.

Them?  The Hawks are 8:4.  Their losses were to Sydney (Round 8 by 4 points), GWS (Round 6 by 10 points), Port (Round 4 by 8 points) and Essendon (Round 2 (yes, a long time ago) by 2 points).  They have won their last four games. I have great respect for the Hawks’ Midfield, including the whole group, and their Forwards.  Ceglar and Hale have demonstrated a very solid partnership in the ruck and Hodge, Shiels and Mitchell (yes, he of the ‘needle’ fame) has been amongst their Best each week.  Roughead is always dangerous, but their Smalls (Puopolo, Gunston and Hill and Smith (from the Wings)) have been getting goals and are a real danger.  And Rioli wasn’t even playing last weekend.  What does this mean for us?  Once again a focus on the Midfield is essential, particularly the ruck – see someone else’s assessment of Witts (Number 4) –  http://www.afl.com.au/news/2015-06-28/six-things-we-learned-from-round-13.  For our Backs we need to make sure we are not “too slow”.  Over their past four matches (all wins) no Hawk has kicked more than four goals in any game, while 18 different players have goaled.  I think there are good grounds for having a look at our Back 6 and maybe inserting some speed to better match the Hawks’ Forwards.  See below for suggestions.  Trav versus Lake should be worth watching.  Brown versus Roughead too?

The Hawks’ game last week resulted in a confident thumping of Essendon.  However, it took them half the game (perhaps even nearly three Quarters, if you want to be accurate) to establish their dominance.  Up to that point they were pretty evenly matched.  Similarly, the week before, Adelaide held them / pushed them for three Quarters.  Hawthorn, even now, are not unbeatable.

I have a Hawks’ supporting colleague, who has contributed previously (last year).  His comments:

“A Brown and Gold view of tomorrow night’s game…..Its 4 v 5, Friday night at G, what more could Hawks and Pies supporters want for what looms as an important game for both teams and their top 4 aspirations.

  • Ins:   Cyril Rioli should return to the side to add some spark and forward pressure as well as a rotation through the midfield.
  • Outs:   James Frawley is an out (needs to get new shoulders!)

 

Final team selections may see more ins and outs, these are the obvious ones though.

 

Key Match Ups for the Hawks:

  • Lake v Cloke: This will be a key matchup for the Hawks as they look to shut down, a player who in my opinion is in the top 3 key forwards in the AFL.  Cloke has the ability to take the game by the scruff of the neck and take it away from the Hawks.  Look for Gibson to roll off his opponent and provide support.
  • Duryea v Elliott:  Dureya has been a revelation this season as the small defender and should get the job on the dangerous Elliott.  Duryea was fantastic last week against the Dons and will be looking for another big performance.
  • Shiels v Pendlebury:  Shiels should get the job on the Pies skipper.  Shiels is good shutdown player that can win his own ball as well, so Pendlebury will need to be wary of dropping off the young Hawk as it may hurt the Pies.
  • Ceglar v Grundy:  If Grundy is selected to play, this a huge match up for Hawthorn.  In my opinion, Grundy is the best young ruckman going around in the AFL at the moment.  Ceglar will need to match his work rate and athleticism around the ground if the ruck dual is to be won.

 

It’s a big week for…….:

 

 

Jarryd Roughead:  The big Hawk’s scoreboard presence has been down in recent weeks and he will no doubt be looking to kick a bag against the Pies.  He has been played higher up the ground in the last couple of weeks which may have contributed to his lower scoreboard presence, so if he does push up the ground, the Pies will need to be aware of his ability to clear the ball from the contest and push the Hawks into attack.

 

 

Final Say

 

  • After a slow start to the season, the reigning Premiers have now won 4 on the bounce and looking a 5th straight win.
  • This should be a big test for the Hawks who are in the middle of a tough block of games (Fremantle and Sydney to come in 2 of the next 3 weeks).  The Pies were impressive in the west against the Dockers and should be confident going into this game.  It will be important for Hawthorn to get into the speed of the contest from the outset and match the intensity that the young Pies should bring.
  • As in recent weeks against Adelaide and Essendon, the Pies will need to avoid that 6 or 7 minutes in a quarter where the Hawks have piled on goals and effectively ended the game as a contest.
  • The Hawks younger brigade of Hartung and Hill have provided outstanding run and carry on the outside of the contest this season and the Pies will need to find the key match ups to go with them.
  • All in all, should be a great game of footy to watch, it’s the reigning Premiers looking to flex their muscle and cement a top four spot against a young and upcoming team looking to prove to the AFL world that they belong in not only the top 8, but the top 4.

 

My tip (albeit with a brown and gold shade) is Hawthorn by 27 points.”

 

Back to me.  Thanks, Jason.

Us?  This game will be about ‘clean possession’ and getting off to a good start – the Hawks have shown their susceptibility early on; as have we.  Neither side will want to be ‘chasing’ a lead.  While it is hard to change a successful (or nearly successful) team, Hawthorn is a step up, even from Freo, the Ladder leader.  I hope Grundy will be back – he is now reportedly ‘braceless’.  I still think the idea of a two-person HF Line has merit – Trav and Grundy – both ‘power Forwards’.  I think the duo of Witts and Grundy alternating ruck duties also has huge potential. I note the late advice that Reid will not be picked as he hasn’t completed 4 Quarters in a VFL game yet, and Goldsack is injured.  Maybe it would be worth Greenwood’s early return into the Midfield; we could also, potentially, see Moore make his debut; plus, maybe, Karnezis (both kicked three last week)? Scharenberg has also been amongst the Best for the last few weeks as an effective (and mobile) Back.  Who to ‘rest’?  In addition to Goldsack, Jesse White – he really did pretty poorly last week (including ‘that’ sitter) and Tooves; maybe de Goey and Blair amongst the Smalls? Do those numbers and positions match – the intention is to bolster our ruck and Midfield, put some greater ‘speed’ into the Backline and more reliable ‘goal attack’ up front?  And, I nearly forgot, ferocity.  Your thoughts?

Previews:

 

Teams.  Tonight, after 6.00pm on http://www.collingwoodfc.com.au/.

 

My picks?  Pies by 17.  BOG – Greenwood; Goals: Moore – 4.

 

Weather.  Back home to the G.  13 deg; possible showers; light winds.  Long sleeves?  Does anyone still wear them?

 

  1. 7mate from 7.30pm.

 

Other:

 

Attendance?  Is anyone going to the game – back in Melbourne?  Reports pls?  Thanks to all those who made comments on last week’s game.  Always welcome.

 

Footy Almanac.  And don’t forget this get lodged on the Footy Almanac site at https://www.footyalmanac.com.au/.  And you can comment there too.

Krista and I are off overseas for a couple of weeks this weekend and am not sure how my access to computers and the games will be.  So, wait and see.  But let’s see an exchange of views before and after the games.  I’ll be back in time to watch the Weagles game (I hope).

Go Pies.

Cam

 

Cam. Hooke

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