Round 15 – Collingwood v Fremantle: Late season reset almost works (Floreat Pica Society)

 

When I originally volunteered to write the Fremantle match report it was with the knowledge that Fremantle do not play well outside of Western Australia and that the Dockers game might be my best chance of watching another Magpie victory this year, at least until the Hawthorn game in Round 21.

 

 

Since then, Bucks has retired from Collingwood and Robert Harvey was appointed to act as coach for the remainder of the season. Often the first match under an acting coach sees the team get a new lease of life and claim victory in a game that they were not expected to win. As it turned out Collingwood’s unexpected victory was the previous match when we farewelled Buckley with a win against the top side. Which was as it should have been.

 

 

I was however interested to see if Harvey would change Bucks’ game plan. I think he did, and even though we lost I think it was a change for the better. Over the last two seasons Collingwood became even more defensive than we had been under Malthouse and in Buckley’s early years. This year and last year Collingwood moved the ball slowly out of the backline and far too often our forwards were well covered by the time the ball arrived. In my opinion (which I know some other FPS members do not share) we were almost always one tall forward short. When we had three tall forwards, the third was Quentin Lynch and later Jesse White who opposing teams did not rate and so the key forwards were double teamed. This destroyed Travis Cloke in his final seasons.

 

 

Judging by his first game, Harvey wants fast ball movement with tall forwards in attack and fast-moving smalls at their feet. You could put it another way. Bucks liked defensive forwards and attacking defenders. Harvey seems to like all of his players to attack.

 

 

That being said, it is not clear that this game plan will totally work with inexperienced young players. Quite often the ball arrived too fast for the receiving players. There were an awful lot of good moves that ended in turnovers. Noble and Quayner played well but also had more turnovers than usual. Then again so did Jack Crisp, who is not young or inexperienced. Jack had 30 possessions, more than any other Magpie, but achieved less than he has in matches where he has had fewer, but more accurate disposals.

 

 

This was also a difficult match to implement the new game plan, because quite a few of our players lacked match practice. Adams took at least a quarter to return to his normal fluency. Between injury and cancelled VFL games Cox has played very little football since he was dropped after Round 4 and I think this is a better explanation of Cox’s performance than the view of some supporters that he is not good enough. I notice in today’s copy of The Age that Harvey implies that he is going to persist with Cox and I agree with his decision.

 

 

Then suddenly in the last quarter it all started to work. Suddenly the boys were holding their marks, not fumbling their handballs and the ball was being moved rapidly across the whole field. We kicked five goals and briefly got our noses in front. It didn’t last and the Dockers kicked the final two goals but I went away feeling that we were heading in the right direction.

 

 

The only reservation that I have, is that if we are going to change our game style then we need it to continue for more than nine games. We have ten first year players on our list (if you include the two rookies and the two mid-season draftees). There is no point in schooling them to play attacking football if we are then going to appoint Ross Lyon as head coach next year.

 

 

Horsbrough Medal votes:

 

(3) Brayden Maynard

I know this is controversial because Maynard’s reaction to one of the worst umpiring decisions I have seen this year was inappropriate and the fifty-metre penalty it drew possibly cost us the game, but without Maynard’s performance in defence and initiating attacks we wouldn’t have been in a position to win the game anyway. In the absence of Howe and now Moore, Maynard has become pivotal in our defence.

 

 

(2) Chris Mayne

I thought Chris Mayne’s performance against his old side was terrific, particularly in the first two quarters when Fremantle were playing very well and placing our team under pressure.

 

 

(1) Will Hoskin-Elliott

I could just as easily chosen Grundy, Adams or Pendlebury, who all played well but I like the way WH-E has turned his game around from his awful start to the season.

 

 

 

COLLINGWOOD     2.2    4.4    7.6     12.7    (79)
FREMANTLE            3.3    7.5   10.6    14.7    (91)

 

GOALS
Collingwood: Bianco, Grundy, Thomas 2, C.Brown, Cameron, Elliott, Hoskin-Elliott, Mihocek, Sidebottom
Fremantle: Lobb, Schultz 3, Henry, Bewley 2, Switkowski, Treacy, Brayshaw, Crowden

 

BEST
Collingwood: Adams, Sidebottom, Maynard, Pendlebury, Crisp, Grundy
Fremantle: Mundy, Brayshaw, Ryan, Darcy, Henry, Switkowski

 

Crowd: 11,570

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Good on you Dave.
    Though I’m sure everything you wrote was insightful and apposite, the most interesting thing about it was that a piece written by a Collingwood supporter about Collingwood’s performance in a game was almost identical to most of the reporting about games between Melbourne clubs and Fremantle by journalists who should be reporting on both teams.

  2. David Nadel says

    That is because it was written for Floreat Pica Society members who are all Collingwood supporters and then republished in the Almanac. ALL FPS match reports are written for Collingwood supporters. If I wanted my report to be read by supporters of both teams (in this case Fremantle) I would have written it directly for the Footy Almanac as I used to do in the days when the Almanac produced annual fans record of the season rather than the Premiers’ Almanac as they have been doing since 2016,

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