Round 16 – Collingwood v Essendon: Frustration builds (by Paul Fahey on behalf of the Floreat Pica Society)


Well… a lot has been said already about the game so I’m not sure where to head with this report. So as a wise lady once said: “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start!”


Driving to the ground I heard the news that Howe was injured in a running session on the morning of the game(?) so was out, not a great start! We started well, however, and should have been further in front after 5 or so minutes – our ball movement was slick and effective and Essendon was unable to pressure us effectively or get their hands on the footy. Reid forward looked ok, Elliott looked dangerous and Fasolo was looking the way Fas does! The ball had not entered our backline at all – but then it did and the mistakes began! Poor kicking, failure to look QUICKLY for options and poor decision making gifted Essendon back into the game. Essendon kicked the next seven and the game was effectively over! Watching the game I was desperate to see some strategic moves however resorted to watching the two kids next to me playing UNO on their iPads to satisfy my thirst for strategic play!


Five goals down at half time yet only one less inside 50 suggested a problem with our delivery in or our structure. Today I would suggest we were guilty of both!  Again, we looked slow and indecisive out of the back line allowing the opposition to get into our offensive half to outnumber our forwards. We butchered the ball and continually handballed to players under pressure which would then mean we had to take the ball backwards significantly and further slow the game down. Speaking of forward structure – I just didn’t get it today! At centre bounces we were starting with 6 backs on 6 forwards, 4 players on the wings against their 2, and 4 players forward against 6? It meant if they won the ball from the centre it was one on one when they went forward, yet if we won it we were outnumbered? The loose players on the wings were rarely engaged and gave us no advantage at all? Then there is Mason Cox. He has to play at the moment but if he is forward I would think he has to play deep and we have to allow him to be one on one – neither of these things happened on Saturday.


The third quarter saw some fight from the team as we got to a surprising three goals down and looked like we could possible steal the game but (and it hurts me to say this) Essendon were too good and ran out comfortable winners. Highlights were few with the odd piece of good ball movement being met with frustration from the fans more than delight as it shows what we are capable of but deliver it too infrequently. With Howe out we had to rely on Langdon to take the obligatory speccie down back.


Where to from here? The season is done so we have to get some positives from it – a couple of games into young players (Brown, Daicos, Kirby etc), the rest of the season into some “borderline” players (Broomhead, Cox,Smith, Thomas etc) so decisions can be made, and I think we even need to play Mayne as we have him on contract for the next seventeen years so need him to be effective. As for Bucks, I confess that I love him – in the best two players I have seen play for our club, has been a stand out man in the way that he has handled himself over the last five years and he genuinely loves the club. In coaching, all the planets have to align for you to have success – list management, injuries, support, game plan and luck. Unfortunately the planets have not aligned as he (and we) would have liked and in a performance based industry I think he sees the future as well as anyone.


Just a point before I sign off on Taylor Adams (I’m really just writing to try and put off thinking about the votes) – he does butcher the ball but I think he needs to be coached into using it better. He continually tries to drill it and he is not that type of player. I remember when Swanny first started – opposition teams would let him kick the ball as he was a turnover king. He then learnt to really chip the ball effectively and became one of our better skilled players. I’m not saying that Adams is in the same league as Swanny but I am a big believer that you can teach a player to kick better, it is very difficult to teach a player to get the ball. Adams is tough, runs hard and is a team player – teach him to dispose of the ball better and he will be a beauty! Maybe in the short term he replaces Greenwood as the grunt and tag man in the middle?


Anyway enough for the editorial, the votes for the Jerka Jenkin Medal.


3 Votes:

Jamie Elliott

Thought he was lively all day and presented well. A class player who has been missed over the last 18 months. Like a diving judge I have applied a degree of difficulty score for playing in our forward line that has lifted him to our best player in my eyes.


2 Votes:

Scott Pendlebury

Not his best game but just battles hard, looks a level above most of our blokes with his skills and got a fair bit of the ball.


1 vote:

Tyson Goldsack

Having his best season to date – did well playing on a player who was 8 inches taller than him and ran his guts out covering their forwards with our “zone defence” when they skittered through the middle out of defence.


Maybe an honorary mention to Lynden Dunn who was the only other player I considered – a great kick of the ball and kept his opponent quiet.


Will be a long end of the season – can’t wait for the AFLX to start, surely we are a chance to win that!


Floreat Pica.

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