Where & When: MCG, Sunday June 3rd, 4.40pm
Last Time: Collingwood 19.15. (129) d Gold Coast 11.9.75, round 18, 2011 at Metricon Stadium
TV: Fox Footy, 4.30pm
Radio: SEN, ABC774, 3AW, MMM
Odds: Collingwood $1.01, Gold Coast $17, Line Gold Coast +69.5
Collingwood are slowly but steadily building to premiership contention. The Pies defeated Adelaide in a scrappy encounter at AAMI Stadium last week, which despite their defensive problems proved to be a stellar win. This week, the bookies installed them as favourites for the premiership for the first time since the pre-season. The train should keep steadily rolling on with a win against the Suns.
Yet Gold Coast will be wanting to prove themselves. Despite being in front at the main break last week against Port Adelaide, they once again failed to put up a contest in the second half. The Suns defeating Collingwood is almost certainly too big a task, but challenging them and delivering a quality four-quarter performance should be the objective.
Why should you tune in?
The question of whether Travis Cloke can play into some form must be asked. Both he and Chris Dawes had shockers against Adelaide, not providing much of a threat against the Crows. A less-experienced backline like the Suns’ should give them much more of an opportunity to play, but they do still need to deliver.
It’s also a chance for the stopgap Collingwood defence to show that they deserve to hold their spots, with Chris Tarrant, Heath Shaw and Ben Johnson still to return this year. A shutdown effort will be the ask.
Gary Ablett Jnr. Do I need to say more? I suppose I should. The best player in the game is always a reason to tune into the Suns. Beyond him, though, some of the kids are great to watch. The likes of Aaron Hall and Kyal Horsley are excitement machines that deserve more credit than they’re getting.
Furthermore, it’ll be interesting to see how Tom Hickey goes in the ruck with Zac Smith being rested. Smith is certainly the long-term #1 for the Suns, but the #2 spot is up for grabs.
Midfield Marvels: Pendlebury, Sidebottom, Wellingham and Thomas v Ablett, Rischitelli, Prestia and Hunt
While Collingwood arguably have two superstars among their key mids, the power football of Karmichael Hunt provides a different threat to what most sides offer. Hunt is one of (if not) the premier pack-crasher in the AFL right now, and his particular skill-set allows Ablett to play more of an outside distribution role at times. It’ll be a great one to watch.
Collingwood are just too strong for Gold Coast. Magpies by 67.
B: Heritier O’Brien, Nathan Brown, Marley Williams
HB: Alan Toovey, Nick Maxwell, Martin Clarke
C: Simon Buckley, Dale Thomas, Jarryd Blair
HF: Alex Fasolo, Chris Dawes, Ben Sinclair
F: Dayne Beams, Travis Cloke, Tyson Goldsack
Foll: Darren Jolly, Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom
Int: Alan Didak, Sharrod Wellingham, Tom Young, Jamie Elliot
B: Matt Shaw, Matthew Warnock, Danny Stanley
HB: Sam Iles, Rory Thompson, Joel Wilkinson
C: Michael Rischitelli, Karmichael Hunt, Alex Sexton
HF: Harley Bennell, Tom Lynch, Andrew McQualter
F: Campbell Brown, Sam Day, Luke Russell
Foll: Tom Hickey, Dion Prestia, Gary Ablett
Int: Alik Magin, Josh Caddy, Aaron Hall, Kyal Horsley