ESSENDON 4.3 7.3 9.7 10.12 (72)
COLLINGWOOD 5.5 7.11 10.17 14.20 (104)
Travis Cloke has signed… with someone.
That’s the best conclusion I can come to. Travis Cloke was everywhere. Cloke took 16 marks, contributed 7 inside-50s and kicked 5.4 to put Collingwood into the top 4 with the double chance for the finals. The return is timely, as Cloke’s form has been questioned in the finals lead-up in relation particularly to his contract status.
However, Cloke was not the only dominant one. Dane Swan racked up 42 disposals running both ways, excelling all over the park. Dayne Beams and Scott Pendlebury also racked it up with over 30 touches each. Alex Fasolo was incredibly efficient, with his 22 midfield disposals running at 100% effectiveness. The performance from key players was a good sign for Collingwood leading into finals action, especially following the stuttering performances in recent weeks.
Up against a shattered Essendon outfit it was going to be tough for Collingwood to struggle. The Dons had Tom Bellchambers withdraw late with a rolled ankle, meaning that David Hille had to take most of the ruckwork and hurting the forward structure. This was damaged further through the Cloke threat, as Michael Hurley had to be rotated back to defence to man up on Cloke and try to stop him, a task which failed dramatically due to the dominance of the Collingwood forward.
Although Essendon pushed hard through the midfield, with Brent Stanton and Jobe Watson both doing their hardest as both midfields went all-out, creating their own threats and inside 50s. But it simply was not enough; Collingwood were just too good.
Collingwood take on Hawthorn in week one of the finals next Friday night, while the off-season begins for Essendon.
Essendon: O’Brien 2, Zaharakis 2, Crameri, Monfries, Hurley, Myers, Watson, Heppell
Collingwood: Cloke 5, Fasolo 2, Beams, Goldsack, Paine, Swan, Krakouer, Shaw, O’Brien
Essendon: Watson, Stanton, Zaharakis, Heppell, Hille, Hurley
Collingwood: Swan, Cloke, Beams, Fasolo, Pendlebury, Thomas, Jolly
56,491 at the MCG