Tough footy wins finals

Collingwood v West Coast

Semi-Finals 2012

COLLINGWOOD    3.4   4.5    8.10   10.13 (73)

WEST COAST         5.1    6.4   7.6      9.6 (60)

This, and other obvious statements are available thanks to one Brian Taylor of Channel 7. Collingwood, however, managed after a stutter last week to get the word tough truly defined to defeat West Coast by 13 points at the MCG. Dale Thomas provided the flair needed, booting 3 consecutive goals in the third to really swing the momentum.

Early play, however, suggested that the Eagles would move through to the third week. West Coast marched out to a four-goal lead in the second term as Collingwood struggled to enter their forward 50. Time and time again the Eagles would pick off an inside-50 and send it flying down the opposite wing.

One of the early successes for Collingwood was taken away with controversy. Shannon Hurn attempted to rush a behind but was not ruled, before Andrew Krakouer sharked the football to kick Collingwood’s first. However, the video replay led to a point being awarded after reviews decided the ball had crossed the line despite no conclusive camera angle.

Despite these early difficulties, Collingwood fought hard to rally. The midfield of Dane Swan, Scott Pendlebury and Dayne Beams used their skill to begin shifting the midfield momentum. However, it was the all-team, all-ground pressure that Collingwood put on the Eagles that saw them push back, with the Pies racking up tackle after tackle.

Finally, in the third term, the Eagles broke open. Thomas’ three goals gave Collingwood the breakthrough as they took the lead for the first time. West Coast tried to push back, but the continuation of the hard-tackling, high-pressure game of earlier meant that the Eagles could not find the space to really challenge again for the rest of the match.

Collingwood take on Sydney on Friday night at ANZ Stadium.


Collingwood: Thomas 3, Swan 2, O’Brien, Pendlebury, Jolly, Blair, Goldsack
West Coast: Hill 2, Darling 2, Kennedy, McGinnity, Kerr, Cox, Naitanui


Collingwood: Reid, Jolly, Pendlebury, Thomas, Swan, Johnson, Toovey
West Coast: Gaff, Kerr, Cox, Glass, Mackenzie, Priddis


65,483 at MCG

Disappointed Facebookers

About 38,000

Blues Bring Pies’ Streak to a Sharp Halt

Luckily, Sharrod Wellingham’s hairstyle remains intact.

COLLINGWOOD 1.5 4.9 6.12 8.14 (62)
3.1 7.4 8.11 12.13 (85)

It seemed like the scene was set for another typical Carlton night of late – things weren’t going to go their way.

At first, Michael Jamison looked in serious agony after being winded in a successfully attempted spoil within the first minute, then a short while later sole tall forward Shaun Hampson injured his knee seriously enough to be substituted out early.

Jamison didn’t just play out the game but had a big impact, attempting to drop digits off Travis Cloke’s asking price by keeping him to two goals. Hampson’s replacement, Brock McLean, ended up becoming one of the Blues’ best with 28 disposals – the second time in as many weeks he’d been subbed in within the first ten minutes of a match. Look for Brock to be on the field from the opening bounce in coming weeks.

Carlton’s intensity was massive, dominating the tackle count over what really appeared to be a Collingwood in second gear. The Blues led at every change.

Nick Duigan and Dennis Armfield – both playing as defensive forwards – kick-started the run despite the downfall of Hampson and (almost) Jamison. Andrew Collins booted the other with an impressive start.

Jarryd Blair and Alex Fasolo were very handy for Collingwood early on, as was Nick Maxwell, but Carlton as a unit were much more intense around the ball and reaped the rewards.

Despite that, Collingwood hung in pinching goals through players such as Jackson Paine who was later subbed out.

With that, they were able to capitalise on an inaccurate Carlton – who kicked 1.7 for the quarter – and were able to bring it back to three points midway through.

The Blues missed simple opportunities to really nail the Pies down until Chris Yarran gave it his all to make a shot from 35 out look as difficult as it possibly could, evading and weaving his way through multiple tackles to slot the most difficult chance they had.

Yarran and captain Chris Judd were both immense in the third. The former backed his pace and foot-skills and pulled it off a number of times, while Judd did the dirty work, winning his own ball and damaging Collingwood in the process.

They did this even while losing Kade Simpson to one of the nastier clashes you’ll see. Simpson went back with the flight with eyes only for the footy and was knocked near-senseless by a Sharrod Wellingham airborne hip-and-shoulder to the head. Wellingham, good on the night, will be very lucky to play in the coming weeks.

The Pies fought even with star midfielder Dale Thomas appearing to stub his toe in the turf in the third. He went down in agonising pain and played out the match, although he never looked 100% fit for the remainder of the game.

Yarran’s goal was the first in a stretch of four for the Blues, which in a low-scoring contest was pivotal in ensuring the 23-point win.


3 –  Chris Judd (Carl)
2 – 
Chris Yarran (Carl)
1 – 
Matthew Kreuzer (Carl)

Collingwood: Cloke 2, Paine 2, Goldsack, Sidebottom, Thomas, Wellingham
Carlton: Betts 4, Duigan 3, Walker 2, Armfield, Collins, Yarran

Collingwood: Swan, Blair, Thomas, Sidebottom,
Carlton: Judd, Yarran, Kreuzer, McLean, Robinson, Duigan

Collingwood: Thomas (right ankle), Williams (left shoulder)
Carlton: Hampson (right knee), Simpson (concussion)

Collingwood: Jackson Paine replaced by Ben Sinclair in third quarter
Carlton: Shaun Hampson replaced by Brock McLean in the first quarter

Reports: Sharrod Wellingham (Collingwood) for high contact with Kade Simpson (Carlton) in the third quarter.

Umpires: Donlon, Findlay, McInerney

Official crowd: 
75,755 at the MCG

Collingwood to show the Suns a total eclipse

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.

Gold Coast

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.

The Match-Up

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.

Final Word

Collingwood are just too strong for Gold Coast. Magpies by 67.


 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

Gold Coast
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

Pre-Season Drama Is Make-Or-Break

It’s the time of year again where supporters of all clubs are alert for any mention of training reports, but not only to keep track of their young stars’ development.

Although the months before the AFL season kicks off give teams the chance to fine tune tactics and develop general skills, every pre-season training session is make-or-break. We’ve seen the success Collingwood had in 2011 – despite not winning the premiership, Collingwood beat every team in the AFL other than Geelong – by making use of its Arizona training camp, but something as simple as one wrong turn during a routine tackling drill could spell the end before the season even begins.

Consider this; the 2012 premiership favourites Collingwood are having an excellent pre-season, going through the motions and eyeing a third consecutive Grand Final appearance. Two weeks before the NAB Cup is set to begin, Dane Swan tears his anterior cruciate ligament and put in bubble wrap until Round 17.

Later in the week at training, Dale Thomas and Scott Pendlebury collide in a mid-air contest. Thomas fractures his wrist in a missed attempt at spoiling the ball and Pendlebury gets a nasty knock to the back of the head. Suddenly, a promising season turns into no Swan for most of the year, no Thomas until roughly Round 4 and Scott Pendlebury misses the first three games of the NAB Cup/Challenge. Although Collingwood have excellent depth, losing three key players in one week is sure to have a negative effect.

On the other hand, the pre-season can expose a gentle giant ready to make a shock run at winning the premiership, akin to West Coast’s 2011 effort. In the space twelve months, the Eagles went from claiming the wooden spoon to playing of in a Preliminary Final. Going hand-in-hand with a good draft period, a lot of their success can be accredited to a solid pre-season.

The NAB Cup can be both an excellent catalyst towards a successful campaign or a huge stumbling block on the patch to the home and away season. Getting fitness into seasoned legs is always helpful, but as we’ve seen in the past, most clubs are more inclined to focus on training and keeping the majority of their stars wrapped in cotton wool during the pre-season competition.

Although the long wait between the final siren of the Grand Final and the first bounce in Round 1 of the next season is somewhat of a bore, there’s never a lack of drama. There may not be a whole lot to see, but every training session contributes to how the season will shape up for that team. In a competition that seems to get more competitive each season, one bad injury can be the difference between premiership glory and despair.