Preview Finals Week 1: Collingwood v Melbourne, Thursday 7 September, MCG, 7.20pm

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Mar 16, 2014
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Back when I was a kid, in 1988, I convinced my folks to buy me a finals “season ticket” or whatever they were called, where I got tickets to every final. Collingwood had a really good team. We had the double chance. We’d had a great season. My heroes were all there: Millane, Daicos, much of the 1990 premiership team. I don’t remember that much of the series. There was a streaker on the G one game and my dad passed me the binoculars: “Do you want a look?” he asked, and I felt like we were being very risqué. Naughty Dad. I remember travelling to Waverley when it was still going strong. Carlton beat us the first week and then Melbourne the second. I was shocked. Straight sets! To Melbourne, Good God! To the Demons! I hate them for that. I still feel the deep disappointment of that series. I could cry even now, especially for that younger me who had so many hopes and dreams. That was when I was the most passionate about football. Those players were really like Gods to me. They seemed eternal because I was too young to have seen them start or to see players retire. As far as I was concerned, there had never been another Collingwood team. Then Hawthorn smashed Melbourne in the Grand Final, which was a shocker. It was so tedious. Melbourne beat us for this? It makes me sick to think about it. We should have been there. The porcine Demons usurped our rightful place.

And now they’re back to ruin everything again.

Yes, we finished top of the ladder, but that has ended up being a poisoned chalice.

This game against Melbourne is the real Grand Final: whoever wins will take the Cup. There are two reasons for this: 1. The winner ends up on the soft side of the draw, facing one of the lesser teams in the Prelim. 2. The loser faces Carlton first and then Brisbane at the Gabba. That’s an exhausting, grinding, path which will see Brisbane get the loser in the end. Then Brisbane will come to the G and collapse like the flimsy pack of cards they are in front of the winner of Melbourne v Collingwood.

That’s how big this game is.

Then, there’s the annoying fact: we’re missing Nick Daicos, who is so important to our team. He’s our wild card. It’s the same as taking out Gawn or Petracca from Melbourne. He's just one week off playing. Gah! Football Gods! Have pity for my 1988 self!

So we’re facing a poisoned chalice. Can we drink and survive? Let’s look at the evidence:

First: the Demons have an elite clearance game. Gawn, Petracca, Oliver, Viney. Can we match it with them here with DeGoey, Mitchell, Adams, Pendlebury, Crisp and …. Cameron/Cox? It’ll need to be an elite performance to break even. My biggest worry is the ruck setup. Cox can compete in the taps with Gawn but not around the ground. Cameron can compete around the ground but not in the taps. (Ironic that the Grundy trade has ended up in a 3-way loss for everyone: for Grundy who’s in the VFL (should have taken a pay cut Brodie!), for Melbourne who traded and are paying him, for us in our ruck and clearance game (though this is somewhat balanced by McStay in the forward line). We need a huge performance from Cox and Cameron, who will both play, I think. If one of them was in good form we’d drop the other, but they’re both battling. We desperately need to break even in the centre square, but that’s going to be hard because we’ll mostly be roving to Gawn, who will win the taps. I’d be occasionally giving Elliot and McReery runs in there because they have pace and power. Then we need DeGoey to do to Melbourne what he did to Essendon – tear through the middle and out the front of the square. As matchups, I’d be looking at Crisp-Oliver, Mitchell/Adams-Viney. Our third player (Pendles, De Goey, others) then go head-to-head with Melbourne’s third: when it’s Petracca they have to mark him closely, when it isn’t they can run free.

Second: The Demons have a ruthless defensive structure. “I’m an arseh*le when I drink” May and “Like May I betrayed another team to come to Melbourne” Lever and “Hipster” Gawn pick off the long kicks down the line with the relentlessness of Chinese Water Torture. We’ve had a lot of trouble with this game plan. There are a few ways to deal with this: elite kicking at angles and then run to bypass the tall defenders. For this we need elite kickers in defence (Nick, where are you?). So, probably Howe plays back, maybe Pendlebury might need to spend some time there too. When we do go long, we need our rucks to compete, compete, fight, fight, and even win now and then – Cameron, take some marks damn it; Cox, take some marks not in junk time, damn it! McStay, this is what we swapped Grundy for damnit, you!

Third: Do we let Melbourne play with a free defender – Lever or May? I’m opposed to it, but I can see why you’d choose to have an extra around the clearance and rely on run. That’ll be a massive test though. No blazing away Adams!

Fourth: Can our forward line stand up and what does it look like? Do we play Elliot as a small full-forward? He’s in elite form, assuming his glute doesn’t hamper him, and will cause all sorts of problems. Then McStay, Mihocek, resting rucks can alternate with Elliot and maybe drift higher up the ground to take May and Lever away. McReery probably will play on "Slippery fish" Salem, who is their elite kicker and decision maker from defence. He has to be shut down.

Fifth: What about our defence? Here’s my best guess: Howe plays on "Look at my hair" Fritch, since he has the pace and the aerial capability. Maynard plays on "Bricklayer" Petracca since he has the size, the power, the competitiveness. Quaynor takes "Horizontal violent assault" Pickett. Murphy on "Pretty boy" Van Rooyan – two young guns to battle it out. Moore then will take the incoming "I must be 50" Tom McDonald (kicked 5 in the VFL) and try to zone off him. We desperately need out intercept game to get back to its best, and that means Moore, Howe, Murphy and Quaynor all have to play their part.

Game styles: So all in all, we have the clearance, contest, defence and stoppage-based Melbourne, like a wild boar charging in the woods, thick, powerful, feral, a dangerous rodent that should be put down. And we have the graceful, movement-based, speed on the ball, speed over the ground, Collingwood who are like, well, like a Magpie flying elegant and powerful through the trees. It’s a clash of styles, though in the modern game there are also certain essential commonalities. Defence and forward-half games are essential to any premiership team. Last time, we could barely get the ball out of Melbourne’s forward line. But somehow we still were sort-of competitive.

This time they’re in better form and shape. We’re missing our trump card, N Daicos. We were tired last time, this time we’ll be up for the fight.

Selection:

Out: Frampton, McRae, Lipinksi (or WHE or Markov?)

In: Moore, McReery, Murphy

The Washup

The Pies by 1 point, as they crawl over the line to make up for the Demons of 1988. Put down the feral wild pig, Magpies! Let’s have crackling for dinner!
 
I feel like people are putting way too much stock in that King's Birthday game and completely ignoring/forgetting that Melbourne have only beaten us like, twice in 7 or 8 years

Maybe go back and have a look at the King's Birthday game again and look at who wasn't playing and also remember half the side was seriously unwell.

I'm not saying this guarantees we'll win, I'm just saying I don't worry as much about Melbourne as most seem to. Despite all their strengths/weapons we just seem to beat them pretty consistently.

Just one of those match up things I guess
 

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I feel like people are putting way too much stock in that King's Birthday game and completely ignoring/forgetting that Melbourne have only beaten us like, twice in 7 or 8 years

Maybe go back and have a look at the King's Birthday game again and look at who wasn't playing and also remember half the side was seriously unwell.

I'm not saying this guarantees we'll win, I'm just saying I don't worry as much about Melbourne as most seem to. Despite all their strengths/weapons we just seem to beat them pretty consistently.

Just one of those match up things I guess
This is too positive for yourself, what have you done with the real COD.
 
10 days out seems a smidge early for the matchday thread? I would have thought a changes thread could continue into early next week…
It is not match day, it is a Preview thread. No reason why changes can't be discussed here.
 
Melbourne are a good team with a strong midfield which if allowed to dominate the clearances will tear apart our zone defence. They comprehensively stopped the Swans 6 game winning streak. It's probably the team I'd least like to meet in a final.
I’d take Melb over bris even in Melb. bris are a much better overall team than Melb IMO.
 
This is too positive for yourself, what have you done with the real COD.

I feel like the people who say/think this look for negativity in others

Which I guess is a projecting thing maybe.

Go look at most/all my posting for most of last year right through to as recently as a few months back. Absolutely tonnes of positivity and confidence.

I have never changed how I post. I call it as I see it. I was literally one of the only people to call us making finals in 2018 at the end of 2017 and even went as far as to say I rated our list above Richmond's (play for player). We finished 13th in 2017.
 
My thoughts:

In: Moore, Murphy, McCreery
Out: McCrae, Frampton, and either Ginnivan or Markov

Cox won't be dropped as his tap work in the ruck has been really good the last two weeks. Makes our midfield look way better. Markov I feel is the unlucky one, with Ginnivan to be sub.

What does anyone think about Hill as the sub? Bring him on once the tired legs start to sink in and he can really use his best asset.

Petracca and Viney tore us a new one last time. Fritsch will almost certainly kick 3 or 4 goals again. What I'm most worried about is if we can't either shut the ball down or force a turnover when we rush the ball carrier and it gets to the outside of a contest we will get sliced up.
 
It is not match day, it is a Preview thread. No reason why changes can't be discussed here.
Wasn’t really my point, but it will be the match thread. My point was rather why bother with a changes thread if the preview one is posted 3 days later with a two week lead in… Closing this one til next week isn’t changing anything, but leaving both open and splitting discussion seems odd.
 
Back when I was a kid, in 1988, I convinced my folks to buy me a finals “season ticket” or whatever they were called, where I got tickets to every final. Collingwood had a really good team. We had the double chance. We’d had a great season. My heroes were all there: Millane, Daicos, much of the 1990 premiership team. I don’t remember that much of the series. There was a streaker on the G one game and my dad passed me the binoculars: “Do you want a look?” he asked, and I felt like we were being very risqué. Naughty Dad. I remember travelling to Waverley when it was still going strong. Carlton beat us the first week and then Melbourne the second. I was shocked. Straight sets! To Melbourne, Good God! To the Demons! I hate them for that. I still feel the deep disappointment of that series. I could cry even now, especially for that younger me who had so many hopes and dreams. That was when I was the most passionate about football. Those players were really like Gods to me. They seemed eternal because I was too young to have seen them start or to see players retire. As far as I was concerned, there had never been another Collingwood team. Then Hawthorn smashed Melbourne in the Grand Final, which was a shocker. It was so tedious. Melbourne beat us for this? It makes me sick to think about it. We should have been there. The porcine Demons usurped our rightful place.

And now they’re back to ruin everything again.

Yes, we finished top of the ladder, but that has ended up being a poisoned chalice.

This game against Melbourne is the real Grand Final: whoever wins will take the Cup. There are two reasons for this: 1. The winner ends up on the soft side of the draw, facing one of the lesser teams in the Prelim. 2. The loser faces Carlton first and then Brisbane at the Gabba. That’s an exhausting, grinding, path which will see Brisbane get the loser in the end. Then Brisbane will come to the G and collapse like the flimsy pack of cards they are in front of the winner of Melbourne v Collingwood.

That’s how big this game is.

Then, there’s the annoying fact: we’re missing Nick Daicos, who is so important to our team. He’s our wild card. It’s the same as taking out Gawn or Petracca from Melbourne. He's just one week off playing. Gah! Football Gods! Have pity for my 1988 self!

So we’re facing a poisoned chalice. Can we drink and survive? Let’s look at the evidence:

First: the Demons have an elite clearance game. Gawn, Petracca, Oliver, Viney. Can we match it with them here with DeGoey, Mitchell, Adams, Pendlebury, Crisp and …. Cameron/Cox? It’ll need to be an elite performance to break even. My biggest worry is the ruck setup. Cox can compete in the taps with Gawn but not around the ground. Cameron can compete around the ground but not in the taps. (Ironic that the Grundy trade has ended up in a 3-way loss for everyone: for Grundy who’s in the VFL (should have taken a pay cut Brodie!), for Melbourne who traded and are paying him, for us in our ruck and clearance game (though this is somewhat balanced by McStay in the forward line). We need a huge performance from Cox and Cameron, who will both play, I think. If one of them was in good form we’d drop the other, but they’re both battling. We desperately need to break even in the centre square, but that’s going to be hard because we’ll mostly be roving to Gawn, who will win the taps. I’d be occasionally giving Elliot and McReery runs in there because they have pace and power. Then we need DeGoey to do to Melbourne what he did to Essendon – tear through the middle and out the front of the square. As matchups, I’d be looking at Crisp-Oliver, Mitchell/Adams-Viney. Our third player (Pendles, De Goey, others) then go head-to-head with Melbourne’s third: when it’s Petracca they have to mark him closely, when it isn’t they can run free.

Second: The Demons have a ruthless defensive structure. “I’m an arseh*le when I drink” May and “Like May I betrayed another team to come to Melbourne” Lever and “Hipster” Gawn pick off the long kicks down the line with the relentlessness of Chinese Water Torture. We’ve had a lot of trouble with this game plan. There are a few ways to deal with this: elite kicking at angles and then run to bypass the tall defenders. For this we need elite kickers in defence (Nick, where are you?). So, probably Howe plays back, maybe Pendlebury might need to spend some time there too. When we do go long, we need our rucks to compete, compete, fight, fight, and even win now and then – Cameron, take some marks damn it; Cox, take some marks not in junk time, damn it! McStay, this is what we swapped Grundy for damnit, you!

Third: Do we let Melbourne play with a free defender – Lever or May? I’m opposed to it, but I can see why you’d choose to have an extra around the clearance and rely on run. That’ll be a massive test though. No blazing away Adams!

Fourth: Can our forward line stand up and what does it look like? Do we play Elliot as a small full-forward? He’s in elite form, assuming his glute doesn’t hamper him, and will cause all sorts of problems. Then McStay, Mihocek, resting rucks can alternate with Elliot and maybe drift higher up the ground to take May and Lever away. McReery probably will play on "Slippery fish" Salem, who is their elite kicker and decision maker from defence. He has to be shut down.

Fifth: What about our defence? Here’s my best guess: Howe plays on "Look at my hair" Fritch, since he has the pace and the aerial capability. Maynard plays on "Bricklayer" Petracca since he has the size, the power, the competitiveness. Quaynor takes "Horizontal violent assault" Pickett. Murphy on "Pretty boy" Van Rooyan – two young guns to battle it out. Moore then will take the incoming "I must be 50" Tom McDonald (kicked 5 in the VFL) and try to zone off him. We desperately need out intercept game to get back to its best, and that means Moore, Howe, Murphy and Quaynor all have to play their part.

Game styles: So all in all, we have the clearance, contest, defence and stoppage-based Melbourne, like a wild boar charging in the woods, thick, powerful, feral, a dangerous rodent that should be put down. And we have the graceful, movement-based, speed on the ball, speed over the ground, Collingwood who are like, well, like a Magpie flying elegant and powerful through the trees. It’s a clash of styles, though in the modern game there are also certain essential commonalities. Defence and forward-half games are essential to any premiership team. Last time, we could barely get the ball out of Melbourne’s forward line. But somehow we still were sort-of competitive.

This time they’re in better form and shape. We’re missing our trump card, N Daicos. We were tired last time, this time we’ll be up for the fight.

Selection:

Out: Frampton, McRae, Lipinksi (or WHE or Markov?)

In: Moore, McReery, Murphy

The Washup

The Pies by 1 point, as they crawl over the line to make up for the Demons of 1988. Put down the feral wild pig, Magpies! Let’s have crackling for dinner!

Beautiful OP, one of your best, although I expect them to get better each week of the finals. Just like the Pies.

You forgot the sixth reason why we will win: Fly’s secret plan. We don’t know what it is yet, but we’ll see it in action next week. He’s too clever not to have something up his sleeve. He was also ‘formed’ in the cauldron of finals. Fly will bring it.
 
Wasn’t really my point, but it will be the match thread. My point was rather why bother with a changes thread if the preview one is posted 3 days later with a two week lead in… Closing this one til next week isn’t changing anything, but leaving both open and splitting discussion seems odd.
Finnishpie kindly volunteered to do the preview threads for the season.

When he submits it I do not see a problem with closing the other thread. If someone has posted in the other thread, no reason that they can't post (same) again in this thread.

Has been happening all year, not sure what seems odd about it.
 

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I feel like the people who say/think this look for negativity in others

Which I guess is a projecting thing maybe.

Go look at most/all my posting for most of last year right through to as recently as a few months back. Absolutely tonnes of positivity and confidence.

I have never changed how I post. I call it as I see it. I was literally one of the only people to call us making finals in 2018 at the end of 2017 and even went as far as to say I rated our list above Richmond's (play for player). We finished 13th in 2017.
Don’t mind me, I’m just having a bit of a lend.

I actual think there’s a fair bit of validity in what you say.
 
To win this flag we’d always have to go through Melbourne at some point.

I’d rather it now than later in the series.

I’m keen to see guys like Adams and how he goes against their bulls. It could be his best chance to win one.

We also played them last time with an impotent forward line, we’ve bolstered it this time around.

The stakes are huge, I can’t wait.
 
Finnishpie kindly volunteered to do the preview threads for the season.

When he submits it I do not see a problem with closing the other thread. If someone has posted in the other thread, no reason that they can't post (same) again in this thread.

Has been happening all year, not sure what seems odd about it.
Might want to check the timing of those that have been happening all year chief. I don’t remember many coming through 10 days pre-match?..
 
Last year we were barely getting over the line against some pretty mediocre teams for the last 7 weeks of the season. Then we turned it up to 11 for finals, and just barely missed out on a grand final appearance.

I’m fully expecting the same increase in intensity this year. Melbourne won’t know what hit them.
 
In the last 3 games since Petty went down Melbourne have scored 56, 87 & 77 points. Mellsham kicked 5 goals in the last two rounds. The absence of these two will be a big advantage for us.
This is why I’d rather play Melb. Their forward line of their Achilles heal. Bris are good across all lines. Melb have an elite defence, mid, but a b grade forward line, Pickett is woefully out of form.
 
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