Round 2 – Collingwood v Richmond: Pies make Tigers April fools

Pies make Tigers April fools

By Michael Labiris for the Floreat Pica Society.

 

They say a week is a long time in football, but so is six days. Making the familiar stroll past Punt Road oval for our Round 2 clash against the Tigers, there was a palpable sense of anticipation in the air. Was it the uncharacteristically balmy Autumn night? Or perhaps the collective amnesia of Magpie supporters, who, having perished all memories of last week’s interstate disaster, were blissfully awaiting the “real” first game of the season.

 

What started as a scrappy affair – with good effort displayed, but a skill level not befitting two top 8 hopefuls – turned out to be a cliffhanger contest. But while 40,000 or so jubilant Collingwood fans left the ground with our first win of the season, it is clear that Buckley and his men still have a lot of work to do to find their best form and get back here in September.

 

We took our seats behind the goals at the top of the Southern Stand. It turned out to be the end where most of the footy was played, particularly in the first quarter. Right from the opening bounce, it was clear this was a different Magpie side to last week. Blair and Treloar were providing good forward pressure early, and for the first 10 or so minutes the ball was mostly locked in our half, due to a nice set up behind the ball – welcome back Ben Reid. However, we struggled to pick the right option going inside 50. Our first goal came from a D50 stoppage, Ramsay bursting out to spear it to Cloke, who kicked long for Fasolo to run onto the loose ball and dribble it through. Our second went to Moore, plucking a nice mark over Rance, but the Tigers squared the ledger with goals to Lambert and the debutant Short (177cm) who was left unmarked inside 50 and nailed a long set shot with his first kick. Tigers seem to be breaking a lot of tackles, and the stats say we only had 6 effective tackles for the quarter! Pendles is finding a lot of it behind the ball and using it well in traffic.

 

The second quarter starts with let offs from Cotchin and Lambert, after an undisciplined Grundy shepherd. Gault takes a nice mark 45 out but hesitates to pass to Cloke in a mismatch, then doesn’t want to kick for goal. Later in the quarter the ball is kicked forward and Gault has the sit, but he doesn’t fly for it, and I can’t help but think what would Howe have done there. The ball rebounds and Riewoldt gets on the end of it, but his well-struck kick hits the woodwork, as does a later shot from Vickery – these misses are keeping us in it. We get in front through a nice rebound goal to Jordy, but an incorrect free to Short finally gives the Tigers their third. Halftime and it is 3 apiece, the Tigers leading by 5 points in a low tempo affair. Reid and Oxley are having an impact, setting up well and taking some nice marks. I haven’t really noticed Aish yet, although the stats say he’s had 6 handballs. Gault has just 2 touches.

 

The game starts to come to life in the second half. Pendles is playing in the backline, but can’t stop a nice snap goal by Martin. However, three quick goals to Fas, Langdon (his maiden thanks to Reid’s raking left boot) and Brodie get the crowd involved, and give us a 9 point lead (which would be our biggest of the match). Another errant Marley kick out allows Lloyd to snap truly and it seems as if the Tigers have been taking “don’t argue” classes from Dusty – there are fend offs all over the field, our tackles just aren’t sticking. One tackle that does stick is from Aish, who I notice for the first time late in the quarter. Langdon on a wing drifts forward again and should have had his second. The skipper is probably our best for the quarter, but Ramsay, Reid and Sinclair are also good, playing tight on their men then rebounding aggressively from defense. Moore is giving us a target and bringing the ball to ground. We maintain the 5 point deficit at the last break.
Well last quarter, what can we do? Treloar wants to do something, breaking away from the centre for Cloke to tumble one through on his right (maybe he should change?). Better players are lifting, and when Lambert kicks his second, the Tigers are back in front. Cloke gets another chance but this time uses his left and misses. Yet a freak pick up, spin and goal from Fas gives us back the lead. Not to be outdone, Riewoldt flies for a specky over his counterpart number 8, and drills it. The intensity is definitely lifting, but it’s the Tigers who are executing their skills better – nice grabs to Riewoldt and Vickery extend the margin to 16 points half way through the last.
The Tigers have the clearance advantage with Hampson giving them first use, Rance is all over Cloke, and Houli is rebounding at will. Richmond are controlling the game, but Fasolo pounces to spoil an attempted Rance switch. Treloar rips the ball out and Aish dribbles a goal with his first kick of the game! But we still need 2 more… no, make that 3, when Frost is unable to get a fist to it and Riewoldt goals again. That effort seems to help the Richmond fans find their voice, and they are booing Treloar more loudly now. A few Collingwood supporters are going home at the 21 minute mark. Is it game over?

 

But wait, we are not out of it yet! Great mark by Pendlebury on the wing and a strong leading mark by Fas. Goal! But the crowd is subdued. Is there time? I thought there was meant to be a countdown clock, where is it?!

 

Treloar is lifting but under pressure he turns it over in the middle of the ground. Just when it looks like an easy Richmond mark, Sinclair comes off his man to spoil. Down our end and there’s a ruck infringement! Gault is in a similar position as in the second quarter, a bit closer. His kick is straight, but it’s touched on the line. A handy point perhaps? 29 minutes on the clock and the Pies are playing on through the corridor, kicked forward and Fas has his SIXTH courtesy of a Rance hold, and it’s 5 points again! We couldn’t, could we?!

 

The last 2 minutes of the game are nail-biting. Fas being held by Rance again, no free, but that’s deliberate! Moore’s kick to the top of the square showed composure and discipline, and it falls to Grundy who throws it to boot, and it’s through! Richmond got the last clearance, but there were only 4 seconds left and siren sounds. A thrilling 1-point win to remember.

 

We almost can’t believe it as we sing the song. We definitely pinched victory from the jaws of defeat tonight. We were able to lock the ball in our forward half at times, but struggled to create scoring chains. It was Richmond who looked like the better team, winning contested possession and clearance, but couldn’t take their chances. They had several posters and near misses, whereas a lot of ours seemed to sneak through the big sticks. It was just our night I guess.

 

As for the votes:
3 Votes – Fasolo – who else? 6 goals and looked dangerous throughout. Best game I have seen him play. Maybe he should land on his head every week!
I couldn’t separate the next three so I have given them 1 vote each (if that’s allowed!):
1 Vote – Reid – Our backline looked much more organized than last week. He marshaled the troops, zoned off and kicked the ball beautifully. 8 marks.
1 Vote – Sinclair – Was very solid defensively and used the ball extremely well at 94% efficiency, including some decisive kicks inside the corridor.
1 Vote – Pendlebury – influential early and despite being below his best, he was courageous to play under some duress.

 

Honourable mentions:
Treloar – “Adz” adds a lot with his break away pace and strength inside the contest, although he turned it over a bit tonight. Could be a “Dangerfield” type player in a couple of years. 32 touches.
Grundy – a match-winning goal and great effort to win some crucial hitouts in the last quarter. Love his competitiveness.
Adams – worked hard all night and kicked the ball better than I have seen from him before. 7 tackles.

 

Next week:
We play the Saints on Saturday afternoon, who are in reasonable form. They are a young team with healthy competition for spots in their 22.
I would expect a few changes. Gault needs a reasonable spell in the magoos to get some confidence back. Macaffer struggled to find it again and sadly seems to be past it, although I hope he can turn it around. Crisp, de Goey and Aish were all quiet tonight, but showed glimpses and will get more chances. If Howe is fit, I’d like him to see what he can do, and I hope Toovey is selected to help sure up the defence. I cant help but think there is only room for one of Brown/Frost in our best 22, the elder being ahead at this stage.
Go pies!

 

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