Round 19 – Collingwood v Richmond: Two flag fortunes, completely different tales

Premierships are fickle things.


They tease you. For years they will keep a wide distance from your favourite team (unless you’re Hawthorn), refusing to come near you and grant you your pipedream of seeing a Premiership. It’ll be for bigger and better clubs, with a lucky mix of talent and experience. Grand Final days will be entertaining and not filled with nerves and stress.


This’ll continue for a few years at the least. When it finally turns, finals may start. You’ll faithfully watch, riding every emotion and hoping for steady improvement. If you magically shoot up into a Grand Final, then it’s like a dream. But it can also be a nightmare when your one shot at glory falls agonisingly short, and then your hopes for a flag the following year are steadily squashed. After Collingwood’s demise to Richmond, I began to wonder whether the Pies were beginning to miss their shot at that flag we came oh so close to vanquishing last year.


Beating Richmond in the preliminary final gave Collingwood a rare shot at the flag whilst in top form. But the resulting loss was a killer, and with some new additions and a clean injury slate 2019 looked like the year to redeem ourselves. The first half of the season held true. Collingwood won plenty of games without looking too stressed. But after the bye everything came crashing down. Darcy Moore and plenty others fell injured once again. Players fell out of form. Suspensions hit hard. Through all of this, the confidence of a well-oiled machine began to falter. This was shown on Friday, as Richmond capitalised to once-again regain their foothold in Premiership contentions.


From the first bounce it was obvious Richmond had learnt from their past two encounters with the Pies. Both times the Pies had beaten them at their run and gun game, denying them the corridor and then counter-attacking with a ferocious midfield and a dangerous forward line. De Goey, Cox, Grundy and Sidebottom were all thorns in the Tigers’ armour. But on a wet winters’ night Cox had been taken out of the equation due to poor form and a greasy ball. Grundy and Sidebottom both weren’t at the peak of their powers, while De Goey’s match-breaking talent was required in the midfield, meaning his amazing work wasn’t finished off by a stagnant forward line.


Despite Cotchin’s hamstring injury, the Tigers raced away to an early lead. Riewoldt and Lynch looked dangerous from the get-go – both were developing synergy and confidence every week. Dusty relished Greenwood’s absence, roaming free in the middle and proving too strong for the likes of Treloar and Pendlebury. Adams’ late out alongside Sier meant there was no bull in the centre circle, and Dusty claimed the gong as the clearance terror. Prestia ably helped him, while Chol and Soldo worked over Grundy in a cruel scissor-grip. Lambert chipped in with his standard couple of goals and handy touches.


The Tigers blew the Pies apart, once threatening to record an 80-point win. With a 50-point lead during the second term, Collingwood rallied because they simply had to. In a game that defined top four spots, the Magpies knew a drastic loss could render them unable to rise to the double-chance spots for the rest of the season. The loss of Roughead proved huge – his concussion meant the freshly returned Scharenberg had to combat Riewoldt and Lynch. This proved too much, especially when Lynch was running riot and Riewoldt was happily assisting him at every turn.


A late Crocker goal threatened to herald a Magpie turnaround, but the third term was met with steely resolve by the yellow and black. Their defence worked seamlessly – Grimes had slotted into Rance’s role with aplomb while Broad and Astbury covered the tall bases easily. The midfield continued to flex their muscles over a Collingwood brigade lacking rotations or diversity. De Goey was the only sinew holding on to the game, kicking a solid goal that threatened to cut the margin. But one man can’t beat a team, and the Richmond system exposed Collingwood defensively once more for a well-crafted goal. When on, the Tiger chain of handballs is an awkward thing of beauty.


The last quarter was killed off quickly. A smooth couple of goals shut the door and a couple of late Mihocek goals didn’t dampen the Tiger party up the Punt Road End. They move into the fourth and perch ominously as flag favourites. With Geelong and West Coast both struggling to build form, Richmond have all of their injured players back sans Cotchin and are playing in a very 2017 way. Collingwood has been removed of most of their good players thanks to a torrid injury run that has been building since 2013. They will still play a part in the finals when personnel returns, but for now they face a dog fight to scrap together some wins in order to gain some confidence and a decent ladder position.


For one, the Premiership cup is back in their sights, tempting the Tiger army as they jangle with nerves about what the next few months may bring. For the other, the black and white army sit in frustration, wondering whether the shiny silver thing in the distance is about to become but a speck on the dismal horizon.


COLLINGWOOD           1.2   3.6    5.10   9.12 (66)
RICHMOND                5.4   9.7    11.12   14.14 (98)


 Mihocek 2, Pendlebury 2, Crocker, De Goey, Elliott, Thomas, Treloar
Richmond: Lynch 5, Lambert 2, Martin 2, Bolton, Chol, Riewoldt, Soldo, Stack


 De Goey, Crisp, Howe, Pendlebury, Treloar
Richmond: Martin, Lynch, Prestia, Vlastuin, Bolton, Grimes, Riewoldt

Fans’ Best on Ground in partnership with Google: Dustin Martin


: Adams (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Crocker, Roughead (concussion)
Richmond: Cotchin (hamstring) 


Reports: Nil


Umpires: Stephens, Nicholls, Mollison


Official crowd: 78,722 at the MCG


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE



To find out more about Almanac memberships CLICK HERE



Leave a Comment