Round 19 – Collingwood v Adelaide: Would you believe… (Floreat Pica Society)

 

Floreat Pica Society Report
Round 19 vs Adelaide, MCG July 30, 2017

Dave Nadel

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We could have beaten the top side. We should have beaten the top side. Instead we got a draw.

 

I had few expectations before the match. At the start of the season when FPS members submitted their timelines I had tipped the Crows to win the flag and despite a few hiccups very little had happened during the first eighteen matches to change my mind. Other teams can match Adelaide’s midfield and several teams have better defences but Adelaide has far and away the best forward set-up of 2017. In the end the way to win Aussie Rules games is to kick a higher score than your opponents.

 

Adelaide went into the game without Eddie Betts, the small best forward in the competition, but they still had Cameron, Walker, Jenkins, McGovern and Lynch. Meanwhile Collingwood went into the game with its usual policy of playing too few tall key position players. This week Reid was playing at Centre Half Forward so Tyson Goldsack was going to line up against Josh Jenkins to whom he concedes seven centimetres in height and fifteen kilograms in weight. In earlier games Reid has played on the backline while Alex Fasolo or Will Hoskins had been listed at Centre Half Forward. Mason Cox, Lachlan Keefe and Henry Schade have held down key positions in the Seconds reasonably well without apparently being considered for senior selection.

 

Adelaide was missing Brad Crouch but that was more than matched by the Pies’ loss of Scott Pendlebury.

 

The game started as expected with Greenwood scoring a point followed by Adelaide’s Lynch scoring a goal. Then the momentum changed. Instead of Collingwood winning the knockouts only to turn the ball over to the opposition, Adelaide were turning the ball over at the centre clearances and Collingwood were scoring as a result. Ben Reid and the much maligned Jarryd Blair scored goals. Taylor Adams scored two – the turnover king was benefitting from Crow turnovers. Adelaide’s only other goal for the quarter came from Magpie reject Paul Seedsman. Collingwood had a four goal to two lead at quarter time. Howe had 11 possessions for the quarter, Sidebottom 9, Wells and Treloar 8 and every one of Wells’ positions had been significant. On the other side the Crows’ Josh Jenkins was yet to touch the ball. The slighter Goldsack was beating the big bloke.

 

The second quarter continued where the first ended with Will Hoskin-Elliott goaling in the first thirty seconds. Adelaide’s Tex Walker kicked a goal four minutes into the quarter but after that it was all Collingwood as Josh Thomas, Taylor Adams, Daniel Wells and ‘Billy’ Elliott all scored. The Pies’ backline was in control, Jeremy Howe in particular but also Matt Scharenberg and Tom Langdon. Collingwood was moving the ball forward with efficiency and authority. Grundy was doing well in the ruck although his opponent, Sam Jacobs, was one of Adelaide’s better players. Jenkins of The Crows finally got a possession giving him one for the half.

 

The first three minutes of the third quarter seemed to be more of the same with goals to Darcy Moore and Adam Treloar. Moore had had a very good first half, possibly his best of the season.

 

And then things changed. Suddenly Adelaide remembered that they were supposed to be the competition leaders. The Crows started to get to the ball first and to move it around the ground with a surety that they had lacked in the first half. Equally as importantly they started to win in the air and hold their marks. The previously absent Jenkins had eight possessions including several marks and two goals for the third quarter. Mitch McGovern kicked three for the quarter but his best was yet to come.

 

Adelaide’s remaining Crouch (Matt) started to match Adams and Sidebottom (if not Wells) for the number and quality of his possessions. Collingwood responded to the Crows’ improvement by returning to over possession and turnover game that has blighted much of the 2017 season. By three quarter time Adelaide were less than three goals behind.

 

The Crows kicked two more goals at the start of the last quarter, the second by Jenkins as a result of a particularly egregious turnover from Brayden Maynard. Then Collingwood’s resistance stiffened and in three minutes they had kicked three goals (Reid, Blair and Wells) to get the lead back to over four goals in front. It should have been enough, but it wasn’t. The last few minutes were the season writ large. Collingwood turned the ball over and kicked points while Adelaide kicked goals.

 

Two minutes from the end the Pies were six points ahead and the situation was still salvageable. Then Craig Kelly’s son Jake (who would be a Collingwood player if our recruiting staff had better judgement) marked unopposed in the forward line. He kicked towards a pack of players in front of goal. The obvious thing for Collingwood’s defenders to do was to punch the ball away from the Adelaide forwards. Instead they all flew for the mark and were outmarked by McGovern. The siren rang and McGovern took the last kick of the day to draw the match.

 

I suspect that Collingwood will treat this draw as a loss and go on to sack coaches, players and other club officials while Adelaide will treat the draw as a narrow escape, learn from it and probably win the 2007. Things could have been very different if Ben Reid had punched the ball away from McGovern!

 

Collingwood 15.13.103
Adelaide 16.7.103

Comments

  1. Dave Nadel says:

    A couple of corrections. I was not claiming Eddie Betts as the best forward in the comp. The sentence should have read “best small forward”. I am actually suggesting that Adelaide will probably win the 2017 flag not the 2007 – I think Geelong did that ten years ago. I need to improve the standard of my proof reading.

  2. Dave Brown says:

    Good write-up Dave, I was very interested to see a Magpie fans’ perspective. Thought Scharenberg was very good and still wonder why he hasn’t played more firsts football. Kelly is turning into an excellent player for the Crows – the swingman defender every team needs that can play tall and small. Watching that McGovern mark, Sam Jacobs for a large part prevented the spoil as he kept Grundy below the contest and took out another player’s (Reid’s?) hands, but they were definitely marking hands. Amazing finish

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Glass half-empty or half-full Dave? I don’t know how I would have felt after that if I was in your shoes.

  4. I don’t think there was a lot more Reid could have done to punch the ball – the pack was a mess of bodies like when Leo Barry took that famous flag-winning mark. That McGovern was able to skirt around freely and jump from the side was the issue.

    No, actually the issue was Langdon’s mind numbing kick to Jake Kelly that saw the ball come back in the first place.

  5. Dave Nadel says:

    I think you are being unfair to Langdon, JD. If you look at the last two minutes of the match, which is still available on the AFL website, you can see Langdon kicking the ball forward to where a group of players await the ball. There were four Pies and three Crows in a position to compete for the ball, but only Kelly flew for the mark. Moore and De Goey were at least as close to the ball but did not contest. The problem was not Langdon’s kick. The problem was the slow reactions of two of our young players.

    Swish – two days later I am still not sure of my response, That’s why I had so much trouble writing the report. On the one hand I am encouraged by Collingwood’s performance for a half and five minutes playing against a better performing more experienced side with a lot more to play for, that suggests better prospects for next year. On the other hand the panicky and amateurish performance when Adelaide got a run on is very worrying and raises questions about the quality of the coaching.

  6. I’ve seen the last bit a few times Dave (i.e. a few times too many) – Langdon should have aimed his kick towards the boundary, not 30m inboard. Had he done that the chances of at least killing the ball out of bounds (and killing the game) would have been infinitely higher. I do agree the Collingwood players under it should have done more but they were also on the boundary side of the non-contest, where they probably anticipated the kick to go.

    Alternatively, I can’t believe no teammate could find space on the fat side for a short pass to maintain possession.

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