Round 9 – Collingwood v Geelong: Sensational game! (Floreat Pica Society)

by Dave Nadel

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Wow. What a game!

 

Talking before the game, I mentioned the 2008 Geelong match to Peter. On that occasion we beat the Cats by 84 points in the only game that they lost before the Grand Final. I didn’t think that there was much chance of a 2008 experience in 2016, but you can always hope. In the end, Saturday’s match was not as big a victory as 2008 but in some ways it was more satisfying.

 

Last week we beat the Brisbane Lions by a huge amount after holding them scoreless for nearly two quarters. But most people weren’t sure that that meant we had turned the corner on our wretched start to the 2016 season. After all, Brisbane has only won one match and, like Collingwood, had some of their best players out injured.

 

Geelong on the other hand was being touted as the new flag favourites. A ridiculous amount of printer’s ink and commentator’s hot air was being expended to talk up Patty Dangerfield as a messiah who could single-handedly take Geelong from last year’s tenth position to the Premiership. Perhaps that was absurd, but clearly both Geelong and its home coming hero were playing very well and had won seven games to our three.

 

But when the siren rang the Pies started the Geelong game almost as they had commenced the Brisbane match. The Cats were denied use of the ball from the first bounce. It took a little longer to get the first score on the board, but once Jesse kicked the first goal six others followed. Pendlebury, Sidebottom, Treloar and Crisp dominated the midfield. Frost, Howe and in particular Reid, controlled the backline. Geelong scored three points for the quarter.

 

It wasn’t 2008 and the Cats lifted their game after quarter time. In the second quarter they scored three goals before we hit back with two including Pendles’ second for the match. Geelong could have been closer at half time had they been more accurate in front of goal. Dangerfield missed a sitter and I believe despite his fine running, marking and tackling the messiah is a little short on goals at his new club.

 

The Cats continued to challenge in the second half and the Pies continued to counter attack. Hawkins finally started to get on top of Jack Frost in the last quarter and our lead dropped to eight points. Then Grundy, Moore and Cox scored goals and suddenly Geelong wasn’t a threat anymore.

 

As Rohan Connolly observed in The Age today, Collingwood held off three attempts by Geelong to take control of the game. But the Pies regained control every time. In the context of this season that makes Saturday’s victory more significant than the 84 point win in eight years ago. It means that the young players and trades, some of whom are playing much earlier than expected because of injuries and loss of form of more senior players, have started to gel as a team. We have turned the corner!

 

Before I mention the three Horsbrough vote winners, I want to write about a few honourable mentions. These are listed in order of jumper number rather than importance of their contribution to the victory.

 

Brody Grundy. This would have to have been Grundy’s best game this season. I am still not totally convinced by his work as a knock ruckman but his game all over the field is very impressive

 

Adam Treloar. I would have liked to have given him a vote (several commentators did). He is clearly the best mid fielder to arrive at Collingwood since Steele Sidebottom, maybe even since Scott Pendlebury. I think his ball control is extraordinary.

 

Jesse White. I still don’t think he is in Collingwood’s best 22 but you couldn’t complain about his game against Geelong. Is it churlish of me to note that his best work was in the first quarter when the Cats were not providing much resistance?

 

Jarrod Blair. A lot of Pie fans both in the FPS, on Nick’s Collingwood Bulletin Board and near the seats where Peter, Jim and I sit, bag Blair as a player and criticise his contribution. I suggest they should check out Jarrod’s tackle in the match statistics.

 

Levi Greenwood. Comprehensively blanketed Joel Selwood. A very important contribution.

 

Ben Reid. Probably best on the ground in the first quarter. Less so later but still a fine game. If only he can stay injury free…

 

Jack Crisp. Back to last season’s form. Another important link player.

 

Darcy Moore. Two fine goals. Sometimes doesn’t know his limitations but as he gets older and more experienced those limitations will cease to exist.

 

Jack Frost. Played well for three quarters. In the end he was outmuscled by Tom Hawkins because he just isn’t quite big enough to hold the behemoth. The only bloke Collingwood has who is strong enough to play on Hawkins is Nathan Brown who is currently both injured and out of form.

 

Mason Cox. Fantastic performance from the Long Tall Texan. His second goal was a joy to behold. He received the ball from Treloar about 50 yards from goal, ran and bounced the ball and kicked on the run. It was the bounce that impressed me. Running and bouncing an oval ball is quite difficult if you haven’t been brought up playing with a Sherrin (or Faulkner) since childhood. It didn’t seem to present any problems at all to the big American.

And so to the Horsbrough votes.

 

3 votes Steele Sidebottom. Some players underperform on their milestone games. Not Rusty. 31 possessions and clearly best on ground.

 

2 votes Scott Pendlebury. Still obviously carrying an injury. Spent a couple of quite long periods on the bench – not that you would notice it from his statistics (26 possessions and 3 goals). You might however notice it from the fact that Geelong’s best passages of play seemed to coincide with Pendles’ absences from the field.

 

1 vote Jeremy Howe. One story around at trade time was that Howe wanted to leave Melbourne because Paul Roos insisted on playing him as a defender and Jeremy saw himself as a forward. It looks as if Roos was right. Howe plays his best football on the backline. Speccy marks that stop the other side from scoring are as important as speccy marks that score goals.

 

Floreat Pica

Dave

 

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Comments

  1. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Excellent report Dave. There was a feeling of optimism in the air after this fine effort by the Pies. The first quarter gave us a glimpse of the possibility and potential that lies ahead. Backline was as settled as I’ve seen it this year and Frost, Reid and Howe looked assured. However, it doesn’t hurt when the midfield wins its share of clearances.

    Crisp, Adams, Greenwood, De Goey and Varcoe all chipped in which unleashed, Pendles, Steele and the mightily impressive Treloar (Next Collingwood Skipper?)
    Also happy with Smith and Oxley’s efforts. Ruck still needs work, but I reckon Cox is a fast learner and gets first hand to the ball which is crucial. Blair played one of his better games for the year, but I don’t know if good tackling entitles him to a spot in our best 22. Next month or so will be important. Go Pies !!

  2. Great report Dave. What a pleasant surprise! We beat somebody in the top 4

    Is it churlish of you to say JW’s best work was in the first qtr? I think this could be applied to a number of players.

    Having a stable line-up always helps.
    Having few if any passengers always helps.
    Not incurring injuries always helps.

    I loved our “pressure”.

    I was tempted to award Cox 3 votes for his wonderful goal on the run, for his innate footy nous (great one percenters) & for the fact that he hasn’t photographed his genitals to share on social media.

    Smith is showing his bilateral skills & growing in confidence.

    I went to the Holden centre for the first quarter of the VFL where Cloke kicked 3. Some wag carrying a few beers making his way through the throng (say that quickly) noted: “That 32 can play” !

  3. Luke Reynolds says:

    Fantastic report Dave. Sidey and Pendles, how good are they! I also gave a vote to Howe, clearly playing back suits him, his decent ball use coming out of defence suits us. What an uplifting win.

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