Collingwood have established themselves as a force. Last year’s stumble to the line and change of coach has re-invigorated a group that has been repeatedly cut down by injury: the signs are good and the confidence is high. After round three’s debacle against a rampaging Carlton, two months ago, all were questioning whether Buckley was up to the challenge, but in time such queries have eroded.
On the other side of the coin, Fremantle continue to struggle to get into gear. After a surprising victory against a more favoured Richmond in Melbourne, to then go limp the final term against the Bombers again smacks of a season where consistency is an issue.
Injury concerns aside, the Dockers are slowly getting the hang of the ‘Lyon’s Cage’ and look to set themselves up for a decent crack at making the Top Eight.
Why Should You Tune In?
Collingwood: Just tuning in to watch Collingwood is a delight in itself. When midfielders and part-time half forward flankers Dayne Beams and Steele Sidebottom go near the ball, everything seems to happen. Such a finally tuned midfield machine managed to break the shackles of the Eagles forward press last weekend and used a clear balance of skill and pace to work the ball forward.
In the absence of Scott Pendlebury, even the obscure talents of Marley Williams and Jamie Elliot have come to the forefront to provide a useful spark of pace and skill in the absence of Ben Johnson and Andrew Krakouer.
It also will be interesting to see how Collingwood go with playing that many youngsters. They seemed to handle that magnificently on last Saturday, but one must wonder when the tipping point is pushed too far. Irishman Caolan Mooney makes his way into the team which sees off the experienced Marty Clarke. Collingwood’s stars should and need to fire, because you wonder if they are quelled for long periods whether the kids have the experience to see off the hardened Dockers.
Fremantle: The Dockers are now caught in the warp of being one of the sides locked on 6 wins and 6 losses. With the worst percentage of the bunch, you’d assume Fremantle need to start pinching a few they shouldn’t to get their noses in front in the race to September. Fremantle have now knocked off two middle tier sides in the Saints and Tigers in Melbourne, completely rendering the interstate excuse redundant. Expect Freo to come at the Pies and a blowout is inexcusable, no matter how good Collingwood are in theory.
Futhermore, it is interesting to see how the Dockers tactically handle this game. After being criticized for not scoring enough, they’ve managed to work harder and move the ball faster in their last two games at home. The Crows and Bombers kicked 100+ plus, but the Dockers gave themselves chances against two highly fancied sides.
Should they employ the stoppers on Collingwood with numbers around the ball, they have every chance to at least breakeven. A rough, contested game might unsettle the Pies kids in the draining aftermath of their colossal encounter last week.
Fremantle still are without the X-Factor in Nat Fyfe and miss the enormous influence of Aaron Sandilands. If they don’t let the ball get wide too often, they can stay with Collingwood. The high end talent and gut running the Pies will decide this contest and may just ultimately be enough.
Pies by 30.
B:Heritier O’Brien, Nathan Brown, Marley Williams
HB:Nick Maxwell, Ben Reid, Alan Toovey
C:Simon Buckley, Dale Thomas, Jarryd Blair
HF: Alex Fasolo, Chris Dawes, Heath Shaw
F:Dayne Beams, Travis Cloke, Tyson Goldsack
Foll: Darren Jolly, Dane Swan, Steele Sidebottom
I/C:Sharrod Wellingham, Jamie Elliott, Caolan Mooney, Jackson Paine
Emg: Martin Clarke, Cameron Wood, Tom Young
In: Caolan Mooney, Jackson Paine
Out: Martin Clarke, Tom Young
New: Caolan Mooney (Ireland)
B:Nick Suban, Luke McPharlin, Adam McPhee
HB:Alex Silvagni, Michael Johnson, Tendai Mzungu
C:Michael Barlow, Ryan Crowley, David Mundy
HF:Garrick Ibbotson, Zachary Clarke, Christopher Mayne
F:Hayden Ballantyne, Matthew Pavlich, Lachie Neale
Foll: Jonathon Griffin, Matthew de Boer, Clancee Pearce
I/C:Greg Broughton, Dylan Roberton, Jayden Pitt, Nick Lower
Emg: Michael Walters, Thomas Sheridan, Lee Spurr
In: Hayden Ballantyne, Dylan Roberton
Out: Jesse Crichton, Hayden Crozier (Illness)