Round 23 – Collingwood v Essendon (Floreat Pica Society)

 

 

This was the game that would determine our finals chances. It is possible to win a flag from a position outside the top four (the Doggies did it as recently as 2016) but it is bloody difficult. The Pies needed to win a top four place to be confident of a chance at the flag. Before the match I assumed the deal was a Collingwood victory over Essendon on Friday night and a Brisbane victory over Richmond on the Sunday.

 

The run-up to the match was worrying. After several days of reports predicting De Goey and Moore would be available for the match it turned out the only Darcy Moore was available and during the match the question was posed whether Darcy really was ready. Then Sidebottom was injured in training in what can only be described as a balls-up. The good news was that Stephenson will be available when the finals start (and apparently played well in the VFL yesterday)

 

I was going to write a quarter by quarter description but my computer won’t play the replay that Jim sent me so instead I will give you some more general reflections. This was a match in which both teams were missing key players and to a large extent some of the replacements stepped up to provide an exciting match. For example, although Jack Madgen has improved with every game it is not hard to see that he is not the Pies best full back. Our best full back was playing at full forward on Friday night. Our second best full back hasn’t played since mid 2018, two knee recos ago. Fortunately Essendon also had its third choice playing at full forward, and though McKernan played very well and kicked a couple of goals, Magden vs McKernan looked to me like a VFL contest. Roughead played well in front of goal and as a relieving ruck but when we are playing finals teams with top class tall forwards like Riewoldt, Hawkins and possibly Kennedy it is Roughy I want to see opposing them not Madgen.

 

Our ball movement was terrific, often accurate and quite fast, though we are not as fast Essendon’s fastest players. Bluntly, at key moments our players never looked like catching McDonald-Tipungwuti, McKenna or Saad. Ultimately this didn’t matter because a lot of their other players were not capable of taking advantage of the opportunities that McDonald-Tipungwuti and McKenna in particularly created. We will, however, meet teams in the finals who have a whole roster of opportunists – like the Tigers and the Eagles for example.

 

On the positive side, Collingwood were pretty much in control for most of the match even though it didn’t feel like that in the stands and it certainly wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard virtually until the final quarter. However we were actually winning everywhere except in front of goals. The final score had Collingwood winning by eleven points, which actually meant eleven extra behinds (we kicked the same number of goals). A lot of those points should have been goals. The normally accurate “Billy” Elliot kicked 3.4 and at least two of the behinds should have been easy goals. Will Hoskin-Elliot didn’t kick a single goal and he is normally very accurate. Only Mihocek performed as expected. Six of the behinds were “rushed” but a couple of them were shots at goal that fell short.

 

 

Without revealing my Horsbrough votes, it has to be said that this was one of Grundy’s best games. I cannot believe that (according to the Sports supplement of the Sunday Age) the club is still delaying renewing his contract. Apparently they are offering a three year contract and Brodie wants five. FFS Grundy is the best ruckman we have had since Peter Moore, maybe since Len Thompson. He has said that he wants to be a one team player. Buckley has said that he wants Grundy to be a one team player. Just sign the bloke!!!

 

I won’t mention Varcoe’s brain snap (in an otherwise handy game) or Greenwood’s friendly fire. Frank has mentioned them in his DR report, which is where they belong. The two low lights I will mention are Moore’s hamstring soreness and Thomas hurting his knee in the final minutes. Thomas has (deservedly) won this years Horsbrough but in the last two or three weeks he has started to recover his form of last year. I thought he played well on Friday. It would unpleasantly ironic if he is injured and unavailable after finally earning his place in the team. In Moore’s case, as I implied above, you can’t help wondering whether he was brought back too early. Hopefully his hamstrings will recover over the bye.

 

I would also like to mention Noble’s performance. He may not yet be a vote winner but he is has certainly added pace and determination to the backline. A very wise mid-season draft choice. The Horsbrough votes will come from the following players, They are listed in alphabetical order rather than vote order. Taylor Adams, Jamie Elliot, Brodie Grundy, Chris Mayne, Brody Mihocek, Scott Pendlebury, Tom Phillips.

 

As I write this the Tigers and Lions match is still continuing. However it turns out that that result no longer matters to us. Thanks to the Hawks’ totally unexpected victory over the Weagles we are in the top four. Much as it hurts to say this, thank you Hawthorn and may we make good use of this windfall!

 

 

Comments

  1. george smith says

    I do not like Sly and Spook’s Collingwood Rant because of the constant negativity. But they did make a good point. Since 1953, the Magpies have been clear favourite going into the grand final on 3, possibly four occasions. For all our heroic but futile grand finals we have been either outsiders, 79, 80 et al, or even money – 66, 03, last year.

    One black day has set the pattern, 1970. But apart from the 2 premierships, there has not been another time when anyone, apart from Ray Gabelich, believed it was a cakewalk.

    To win this year, yet again, we will have to do a 1958 and defy history. Not for us the cruisiness of Hawthorn 88 or Richmond 74. Yes we can do it, but it will take a miracle of Ben Hur like proportions.

  2. George, now that the Crows are out of the picture, anyone but COLLINGWOOD.

  3. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Excellent report Dave,
    Just as we were about to give up hope they drag us back into the Flagzone.
    Wouldn’t risk playing Moore or Wells in a final. Could prove costly. Elliott and Mihocek were wonderful up forward. Adams back at his best makes an enormous difference to our creative mids.
    Bout time we had a change of fortune in 2019. Bring it on !!

  4. If members of the Floreat Pica society are looking for hope in September, my early crow last month provides it. https://www.footyalmanac.com.au/round-19-collingwood-v-richmond-revenge-served-cold/

    I have an uncanny knack of getting these predictions wrong!

  5. Question of the week. Apart from Magpies’ fans, why are Collingwood disliked so much? I have often wondered just why this is so.

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