Round 9 – Collingwood v North Melbourne: A remarkable comeback in the important Indigenous Round



What do we think of Indigenous Round? Is it important to celebrate our Indigenous Culture? Of course it is! If indigenous Australians were not encouraged to play our great game we would never have been exposed to the brilliance of many players including Cyril Rioli, Adam Goodes, Lance Franklin and Shaun Burgoyne. These players are arguably some of the best in the competition. Indigenous Round is important for our game as it is a way, of thanking these fantastic players for making our game just a little bit better then it may have been without them.

Okay, now to the game.

A much-anticipated game, North Melbourne was slight favourites heading into the game. Collingwood had made just the one change, Tim Broomhead facing the VFL again and Alan Toovey replacing him after managing to overcome a knee injury. The Kangaroos had brought back Ben Brown after recovering from a knee injury like Toovey and Kayne Turner was given another chance to show his skill at the expense of Ben Jacobs and Mason Wood. Andrew Swallow had been under an injury cloud all week and was pulled out of the match due to a broken thumb. North Melbourne, arguably have underperformed this year. While they have beaten sides in the middle of the ladder, many elite teams including Fremantle, Hawthorn and Adelaide in Round 1 have smashed them. Collingwood, on the other hand, were taking a record of 5-3 and sitting comfortably in fifth spot. However, all of their wins have been against ordinary sides. Victories had come against the Gold Coast, Carlton (we all know how they are travelling at the moment), Essendon, St Kilda and Brisbane. The substitutes for the match were exciting youngsters Jordan de Goey and Kayne Turner. Who was going to win this 8-point clash?

The siren to start the game blared as the umpire threw the ball up. This was bizarre as umpires bounce the ball before the game, not throw it up. However, this was due to poor weather conditions so it did make sense. Both Ben Brown and Jamie Elliott missed chances within the first 5 minutes and the pressure was on. Intense play from both sides meant that it was hard to get any easy touches but former Blue Jarrad Waite converted as the Kangas got the first goal of the game. Jarrod Witts replied before Drew Petrie and Sam Gibson missed. Ex-Tiger Robin Nahas roved well to kick the Roos second but the highlight of the quarter was Shaun Higgins buzzer-beater goal that gave the Kangaroos a 20-point lead at the first break.

The Maggies were going to need to tighten up in the second term if they were going to reduce the deficit and it didn’t start well with Nahas and North Melbourne ruckman Todd Goldstein kicking truly. Alex Fasolo enlightened the pies after being awarded a free kick for pinging Michael Firrito holding the ball. However, much to the Pies dismay, North Melbourne kicked back-to-back goals again before Brodie Grundy reduced the margin to 32 points. North then piled on 2 of the next 3 goals and took a 39-point lead into the main break.

Collingwood needed to improve in the second half if they were to have any chance of wining this match. What area did they need to improve to reduce this margin and put pressure back onto North Melbourne? Collingwood’s disposal efficiency was where they needed to improve. They had gone at a mere 55% in the first half, compared to North Melbourne’s 75% and Dane Swan was the main culprit. Swan had fought well with 17 disposals however he was going at only 18% efficiency. Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury kicked the opening goal of the second half and 8 Collingwood goals followed. Adam Oxley had been subbed off for Jordan de Goey and shortly after Kayne Turner was injected into the game for Luke McDonald. Jack Crisp’s inspiring goal on the run was a highlight of the quarter as it sparked Collingwood’s comeback. The momentum had totally changed as Jamie Elliott’s third sailed through to level the scores. Collingwood’s nine goals to zip had set up for an intriguing final quarter. Collingwood, amazingly had taken a 14-point lead into the final term? Who was going to win the seesaw battle?

The fourth quarter began with more intensity and Elliott kicked his fourth within a few minutes. Then Nahas’ third went straight through the big sticks. Lindsay Thomas kicked his first of the day before Jarrad Waite channelled his inner FA Cup Soccer Style. As the ball was kicked to the top of the square, Ben Brown brought the ball to ground. The ball looked like it was going to be rushed before Jarrad Waite wandered in and half-volleyed the ball for a goal. Two points the difference! With Waite’s soccer, North Melbourne had kicked three goals within three minutes from three inside 50’s. Drew Petrie then kicked truly to put the Roos in front again! With not long left to go, heavy rain began to pour, this game was now a mega arm wrestle! Dane Swan drifted forward and out marked his opponent as he put the Pies back in front! Dane Swan, whose disposal efficiency was 18% at half time, at the 23-minute mark of the final quarter, had 7 touches at 86% efficiency. I told you he had to lift! Robbie Tarrant then dropped an absolute sitter that resulted in a Jarryd Blair goal. Pies by 10! Oh no! With 30 seconds remaining the banal C-O-L-L-I-N-G-W-O-O-D chant rings out through the MCG. Collingwood win the game as Jarryd Blair gets a junk time goal with the Pies winning by 17 points! North Melbourne had given up a 39-point winning margin to lose by 17 points. Interesting to watch Brad Scott’s press conference now…


Written By Dylan Bolch 31/5/15





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