Round 17 – Western Bulldogs v Collingwood: Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life


True Believers, (nearly) all.  Do not lose hope.

Back in Australia (slightly cooler here than Thailand).


This Week: The Western Bulldogs at Etihad, again.  Sunday, 26 July; bounce: 1.10pm.  Will someone tell me where the year has gone – nearly August, already!?!?



Them:  They’ve had a bit of a potted season but produced four successive Wins before their narrow loss to Geelong last week.  I don’t know any Dogs’ supporters so can’t ‘invite’ a contribution on their behalf.  Sitting at 6th with 9:6, they would be reasonably sure of making the Finals, with the following in front of them: Essendon, Port (in Melbourne), Melbourne, WCE (in Perth), North and Brisbane (in Brisbane).  Players to watch for, as reflected in their Best over the last 10 weeks or so, include Dalhaus and Wood (Forward Pockets), Wallis and Stringer (Half Forward Line), Murphy (Half Back Line) and the Boyds (two of them; all over); plus, of course, that most famous of Pies’ names, Picken – who has been played in the Centre and as a Rover.  Notably, and perhaps usefully given a number of factors, their Centre and Midfield players don’t appear as a strength, nor their direct ‘corridor’ positions.  Meaning for us?  Dominate the Centre and use the ‘corridor’?


Us: Our month of challenges is now over.  Really?  The result over the month?  Good performances (apart from half a Quarter against the Eagles – in the end 32 scoring shots to 21; lucky they couldn’t kick straight?); but no points. Trav is injured (as is Elliott) and we are now outside the Eight by half a game.

What’s in front of us? Seven matches to go, then the Finals, including the Dogs, Melbourne, Carlton, Sydney (in Sydney), Richmond , Geelong and Essendon – doesn’t get any easier does it? We should be planning to win every one of these games, including against Sydney (need Reid back to play on his brother, by then), though would not consider any one of them as easy, including Melbourne (okay, maybe Carlton) [and Essendon, surely? – Ed.].  Have faith. I believe that if we are in the Eight, even in the bottom half, we can win the Premiership. Over this last month we have shown that we could have won every game. Interestingly, 6th (them) versus 9th (us) on the Ladder you would expect them to be favourites; not so, with respective percentages of 105.8% (them) against ours of 117.8%, we are the quite substantial favourites as shown by the betting ($2.35 vs $1.60).  Go figure?

Key issues – Trav’s injury on top of Elliott’s, and the resultant crisis in our Forward Line, and the speed in the Backline.

I haven’t seen too much evidence that Trav ‘s kicking has improved markedly following his psychological counselling; but maybe it could have been a lot worse (What is a psychologist going to say when you’d bet your house on his kick from 60m at an acute angle but wouldn’t from 15m out, directly in front?).  Frankly, I would drop White, even in Trav and Elliott’s absence (I’d probably have suggested Elliott have a rest in the VFL side for a week or two, too).  Almost for the first time, we are under some pressure to delve more deeply into our Two’s side.  This is not the same as last year.  Our depth is a major strength and has not (yet) been stretched to breaking point (like last year).  Who to bring in?  Adams – no; one more to go. Karnezis (Of course you’d suggest that, I hear you say) and Moore, both into the Forward Line, Scharenberg into the Backs (though they are pretty solid with Marley back; maybe Tooves needs a rest?), Sam Dwyer and Jonathon Marsh wherever they might fit; not sure Goldy will get back just yet.

We need to be able to take greatest advantage of a potential domination in the Centre with Witts there, and Grundy around the ground, maybe with Moore relieving occasionally.  We need to actively pursue duplication of options in the approach to the goal – options leading apart with active crumbers around each.  In the Backs we need to be able to shut down their Pockets (listed above) with sufficient speed.  What else, oh, yes, ferocity; for the whole game.  Your thoughts?



Dave Natoli’s preview will be on the Pies’ website later in the week.  Always worth a read and the Pies v Bulldogs ‘by the numbers’ at Collingwood FC 

Picks: Pies by 38.  BOG – Greenwood.  Karnezis – 5; Moore 3.  Your picks?

Weather: Etihad; roof shut?  Who cares?

TV: No Free to Air.  Find a friend with Fox; from 1.00pm (No FTA for the following week against Melbourne either, nor Round 21 against Richmond; rest okay).



‘Eddie Watch’ – very quiet.  Can one of our Melbourne members let us know what Eddie is up to (yes, I saw his suggestion that the Pies recruit Cristiano Ronaldo)?  I get concerned when he is quiet;

Our VFL side – Note the best players (again). Reid back this week, maybe?

Drugs – Does anyone know when Thomas and Keeffe will know their future?

Umpires & multiculturalism – While most of us consider the sponsorship of the Umps by OPSM a delightful irony, Round 19 will emphasise our multiculturalism

Gender balance: Some years back our daughter, Genevieve, played for the ACT Women’s U18 representative side and was off to the MCG to play in the combined NSW/ACT side until a head-clash broke her nose. And our son, Sebastian, early on played in a team that included girls, one of whom was Jonathan Brown’s (ex-Brisbane Lions) niece. And she could kick too!  To balance our gender equity go to:;


Joffa:  Worth a read (of the article; I haven’t read his book (yet)).



Anyone going to the game?  Anyone going to get to Victoria Park for some of the Two’s game – starts earlier.


For the Canberrans, don’t forget the GWS / Geelong game on Saturday, bounce at 1.45.  Support ‘the AFL into Canberra’.  Some of us are even GWS members.  Could be a good game.



Go Pies!



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