Round 6 – Collingwood v Hawthorn: If Atu doesn’t get you, Quaynor must


Collingwood v Hawthorn

7:50pm, Friday July 10

Sydney Showground Stadium



When Collingwood fell to the Dons last Friday, you could feel Alastair Clarkson’s grin widening. Despite wielding an ageing list that was past its premiership prime, Clarko has managed to out-manoeuvre the Pies in the last few seasons.



With the Pies losing star power in Jordan De Goey and the emerging Josh Daicos, black and white hearts dropped when they saw their upcoming date with the Hawks. Playing at the Giants’ Stadium, where we had lost a fortnight ago, completed a holy trinity of reasons to head into Friday night’s clash with a queasy feeling in the stomach.



But Nathan Buckley wasn’t going to fold easily against Hawthorn. The Magpies had gone from heroes to controversial bad boys who were drastically out of form in the short space of two matches. Unlike his more pessimistic fans, Bucks knew that what falls drastically can also rebound swiftly.



To kickstart the mid-season renaissance, Collingwood gambled. Father-son extraordinaire Will Kelly was picked as an athletic tall forward option that could twirl past McEvoy and Sicily. His selection paid off in the opening minutes when a crushing tackle on Tom Mitchell caused the ball to bobble into his hands – the lanky young gun waltzed inside the arc and threaded a major with his first kick in the AFL. His night would end in the pain and gut-wrenching, peel-eyes-away-but-can’t-stop-watching horror that a dislocated elbow and fractured arm can cause. It was a tragic end to a lively first game. It doesn’t take a brave punter to suggest Kelly will be a primary part of Collingwood’s future forward line.



But where Buckley really earnt his salt was with Atu Bosenavulagi. A late inclusion for the injured Daicos, the number 77 pick in the 2018 draft exceeded expectations. Small and lively, Bosenavulagi constantly found himself in the middle of goal-scoring plays. He held the innate sense of playing on and keeping the play dangerous, while his little steps out of danger caused Bruce McAvaney to consider using the ‘d’ word to describe him.



The last of Collingwood’s new holy trinity came in the returning Isaac Quaynor. He wasn’t a debutant (he played two games halfway through 2019) but a forgotten high draft pick in the Collingwood fold. Buckley threw him onto his natural half-back flank; the 20-year-old cut swathes through Hawthorn’s older defence by taking the game on and using his strong legs to advantage. In a Western Sydney night characterised by spurts of rain and dewy grass, the three inclusions added the sparkle required to claim the four points.



These three did more than just find their footing on the AFL stage; their youth and dare inspired out-of-form teammates into action. Will Hoskin-Elliott all of a sudden became a valuable conduit through half-forward. Brody Mihocek was fuelled to becoming a reliable target for his younger contemporaries, booting the second goal of the game following a lovely free-running play down the wing. Rupert Wills brought the rough-around-the-edges toughness that modern midfielders usually have beaten out of their games. It’s refreshing to see a genuine tackling bull in the centre square, not only a lean and skills-based type. Jaeger O’Meara and his Hawthorn teammates weren’t thrilled by his hulking presence.



Clarkson’s men found solace in rare periods. An Isaac Smith goal in the latter stages of the first quarter gave hope for a comeback. No such response came.



Hawthorn were despondent from the moment Jon Patton went down with yet another injury. Their structure was thrown out – McEvoy was forced forward, and Mihocek benefited with four wonderful goals.



The best part about Collingwood’s night was that the heavy lifting wasn’t left to older hands. Pendlebury wasn’t required to dominate, neither were Adams or Grundy. Instead, Wills scared Hawthorn away from winning clearances. Treloar continued his steady comeback from injury, yet still struggled to constantly hit targets. Darcy Moore dominated Jack Gunston and the entire brown and gold forward line all night, taking intercept marks and hitting targets with a grin on his face.



Jaidyn Stephenson was thrown into the middle and down back to develop his game – it didn’t hurt the team, and it can only help round the number one’s skills. Jamie Elliott had a full four quarters in the midfield, and he shone. His small yet muscular frame gave him plenty of chances to bustle out of packs, his knack around goal meant he knew how to release players.



In a grinding win, the highlight was a flurry of attacking plays by the black and white youngsters. One such foray began with Quaynor intercepting a ground ball. Corralled by Hawthorn midfielders, he sized up the scenario and tore up the modern coaching manual when he stepped inside the corridor and took off. A one-two with Grundy saw him fly past stagnant Hawks, knocked back off balance by the gust of wind Quaynor’s assertive run created. Before Clarkson could call for a measured structure set up behind the ball, Quaynor’s powerful kick cleared all zones, and brought Hoskin-Elliott’s athleticism into the game. His kick found a hard-working Mihocek, who bent through one of his four majors.



It was by no means a statement win for the Magpies. If anything, it removed heat off of their backs and threw it onto Clarkson’s. But for diehard black and white fans, it was the under-the-radar, heart-warming victory that instils a sheen of internal confidence. The main reason is the inclusion of two running kids who made the Pies structure shift and zing with X-factor. Whenever older hands fail you, brash youth will always put a smile on your face.




COLLINGWOOD     5.1     6.5     7.8     8.11     (59)
HAWTHORN           1.0     2.1     2.2     3.9     (27)


 Mihocek 4, Hoskin-Elliott 2, Kelly, Cox
Hawthorn: Smith, McEvoy, Gunston


 Moore, Mihocek, Elliott, Treloar, Quaynor, Wills, Bosenavulagi
Hawthorn: Sicily, Mitchell, Smith, Morrison



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.


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  1. Frank Taylor says

    Nice work Sean
    I saw IQ’s 1st game (against the Hawks, July 2019) and was might-erly impressed. Reminded me of Maxwell/Clement/Langdon. Has skill and vision and can keep his feet a la Luke Ball. Gunna be a star.
    Yep, beautifully summed up, well done.

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