There was a bit of a buzz about this Brisbane v Collingwood game. It had the feeling of a big game, and with news of it being a sell-out, it became a big game.
You had the Lions with a 3-1 start, Dayne Beams returning for his first game at the GABBA since deciding he wanted out of Queensland, and you had arguably the best midfielder in the game taking his place and coming off three consecutive 40+ disposal games.
And with all the hype, all the expectation, and the big crowd rocking up, the Pies gave the Lions a football lesson to win by ten goals.
Here’s The Mongrel’s good, bad and ugly.
He was the standout best on ground player.
In what was a very balanced, and unselfish Collingwood midfield performance, the run and carry of Adam Treloar was the obvious choice for three votes. He finished with 35 touches for the contest, to go with 12 score involvements and five clearances. When Treloar got his hands on the ball, things started happening.
It makes you wonder why Chris Fagan didn’t assign a run-with player to shut him down. Jarrod Berry was that player last season, but he looks to have moved away from the accountable role he played last season to win more of his own football this year. It’s a shame – the Lions could have used a genuine stopper.
I used to watch Treloar and think he was in a hurry a little too much. He needed a touch of Pendlebury about him… slow down, assess and deliver. Treloar was like the young bull last season, but with another year experience under his belt, maybe he is maturing? Maybe there is a bit of “old bull” about him now?
You know the story, right?
The young bull runs up to the old bull and they look down on a herd of cattle.
“Hey,” says the young bull. “Let’s run down there and have sex with one of those cows.”
The old bull turns to the young bull.
“No mate… let’s walk down… and have sex with them all.”
Tonight it looked like Treloar was starting to walk down the hill instead of running. Old Bull Pendlebury would be proud.
BRODIE GRUNDY V STEFAN MARTIN
I really rate Stef Martin. In a year where Grundy and Gawn were the top two rucks in the game, Martin’s excellent 2018 is often forgotten.
Knowing they were to lock horns in this match added another little wrinkle to the game for me. I wanted to see how Martin would fare against Grundy, particularly with the Collingwood star coming off a massive game in round four.
At half time, Martin had just one hit out to his name, and I was watching intently to see just how Grundy was able to keep Martin at bay and get his hand on the ball at basically every stoppage the two attended.
Martin is no Tim English – he packs some power and is a tough man to move when he doesn’t want to, yet Grundy’s continued ability to position himself to a) take the run of Martin out of his arsenal, and b) match Martin when the two went body to body, was exceptional.
But a funny thing was happening with Grundy winning all the taps – Martin started sharking a couple of the ensuing loose balls; so much so that he ended up with six clearances for the game. This was behind only Dayne Beams and Lachie Neale. Grundy usually dominates the clearances, and tonight he was held to a big, fat ZERO in that category.
Overall, you look at the game and some of Grundy’s tap work in the second half was sublime, but despite being beaten, Martin found small ways to contribute. You award this on points to Grundy, but it was by no means the knock out some will have you believe.
Fast becoming one of my favourite forwards to watch, Mihocek is a complete workhorse, and whilst many others will make the highlight packages, it’s Mihocek that is producing in a big way, and flying under the radar every week.
In the first quarter he seemed a bit fumbly, and put a couple of “easier” marks to ground, but the longer the game went, the more he imposed himself on the contest.
He is the ultimate aerobic beast – a running half forward that does the old “Nick Riewoldt” of leading up to half back and running his ass off to get back inside 50 and provide a target when required. The Pies are blessed with forward talent- from de Goey to Stephenson to Thomas to Elliott… any of them can kick a bag of goals, but I am not sure any of them can do what Mihocek does for the team.
His lead-up marks are integral to the success of the Magpies in 2019, and opposition coaches would be well-served in giving him the attention he is now commanding. Ignore him at your peril.
Was Howe beaten in a contest all night? If he was, I can’t remember it.
He completely blanketed the dangerous Daniel McStay in the first half, and although you won’t see his work as a standout on the stats sheet, Howe’s ability to close down on his opponent, and use his body to halve contests made a huge difference in the Collingwood backline.
His combination with Darcy Moore and Jordan Roughead completely dominated the aerial contests inside the Brisbane forward arc, to the point where Brisbane started to look completely inept whenever they went forward.
Look at Howe’s numbers – they’re as ordinary as you’ll find for someone of his ability. Nine possessions, two marks and three tackles. Pretty poor? Well, when you stack them up against those he played on, that’s where you start to see his value.
He played the sort of game tonight that is never reflected in newspaper column space, or panel show discussion, but he did exactly what Nathan Buckley would’ve wanted to see from him – provided a stellar defensive effort, and I reckon those are the sorts of efforts that are recognised when B&F votes are awarded.
THE FORWARD PRESSURE
I don’t have these numbers, but I’d love to see how many goals Collingwood kicked in the first half due to their forward pressure.
It seemed as though whenever the Lions opted to go short inside defensive 50, it all unravelled. The biggest culprit was probably Alex Witherden, who has a beautiful, long kick on him. Yet there we was, botching 25 metre passes inside the defensive 50 arc.
Those kicks may be deemed safe at times, but when the Pies are pressing up, as they were in the first three quarters, someone needed to take control of that defensive half and take on the responsibility of hitting long targets – that man should’ve been either Witherden or Rich.
It turned out to be neither.
What we got instead was mad scrambles thirty metres out from goal as chip kicks and handballs were either chopped off, or deflected. By the time the Lions started to realise the Pies were all about forward 50 pressure they were four goals behind. The dye had been cast, and the Pies were on their way.
You often hear about players being courageous, and taking risky kicks, but tonight, due to the nature of the manic Collingwood forward pressure, it looked to me as though playing it safe with short kicks was the biggest risk of all.
STEPHENSON UP FORWARD
Whilst I understand trialling players in different roles to see what they’re capable of, I was scratching my head (not due to lice, I swear) when I watched Jaidyn Stephenson running around rather aimlessly at half back throughout the first three weeks. He kicked 38 goals in 2018, and the group think was that he was only going to get better.
Maybe Bucks had him in some multi to be under that amount this season, and started him across half back to ensure a good collect, but in round five, it’s time to start getting your team settled and Stephenson was back doing what he does up forward, and doing it well.
He had 18 touches in this one, kicked two goals, and importantly, was directly responsible for three more goals with goal assists. His ability to read the ball in flight quickly, combined with his leg speed enabled him to be first to a heap of contests, with seven of his nine marks coming inside the 50 metre arc.
Stephenson is a weapon around goals, and I am relieved to see him back at that end of the ground. Realistically, I don’t see the Pies making it to the last day in September without Stephenson being a menace in the forward half of the ground.
I was worried about this.
If we combine the first half from last week with the first half from tonight, there is four quarters in the last two weeks that Jarryd Lyons has been the worst Brisbane player on the park.
To half time in this one, he had four touches to his name, and his much-praised ball-winning ability was nowhere to be seen. The issue isn’t just that he was beaten by his direct opponent – the Pies didn’t go with a tag on him at all. He was just beaten to the punch at every single stoppage, and did not have the second and third efforts that the Collingwood mids had.
He finished with 13 disposals, two clearances and two tackles. He was second to the ball, and ill-equipped, or unwilling to lay a good, hard, punishing tackle, Lyons was basically a witch’s hat for the Magpie mids to step around.
It was a big question mark when Gold Coast simply allowed him to walk out AFTER the trade period, and perhaps we’re starting to see why? In an earlier column, after Lyons had performed well, I said I’d be reserving my judgment on him until mid-season, and I will. Hopefully he can bounce back, but as of this week, his last two weeks have displayed a trajectory that simply cannot continue.
Last season he had 30+ possessions three times. Two of them were in the first three weeks. As soon as teams start putting time into him, he disappears.
He was beaten by every person he stood next to today. And he was beaten soundly.
The gauntlet is now thrown at the feet of Lyons. Neale was the big recruit, but Lyons was highly placed in clearances per game in 2018. His recruitment was the cherry on top of a successful off-season. But as he failed miserably for the second week in a row, it makes you wonder if the Suns knew something no one else did?
I’ve heard those associated with the Lions talk about how they need him to stand up for their team to be successful in 2019, but if tonight was any indication, they may need to start looking elsewhere for hope.
McStay was horrible. Even after being sent into the defensive half, he could not get into the game. He finished with just three effective disposals and looked completely out of his depth. He failed to provide any sort of option up forward, which had the ripple effect of increasing the pressure on Eric Hipwood, who at least started well.
McStay may need to fire if the Lions are to make noise in 2019. He had four goals in the previous two weeks, but he was a complete non-factor out there tonight. Ugly… ugly game from him.
THE BRISBANE MIDFIELD
I was going to do this individually, but as I commenced, I realised that I simply could not find a winner in the entire Lions midfield unit. It was an inept performance by a group that was lauded as one on the rise.
I already gave Jarryd Lyons the whack he deserves, and I believe the only Brisbane mid who even went close to upholding his end of the bargain was Jarrod Berry. You could make the case for Hugh McLuggage as well, but he tends to do the flashy stuff you remember and doesn’t get enough of the ball at other times to remain a weapon.
Berry had 24 at 79%, Neale had 24 at 70%, McLuggage had 21 at 71%, and Dayne Zorko was a non-factor with 17 touches at 58%.
Rhys Mathieson gets a pass only because he was hurt, but prior to that, he was pretty quiet as well.
In Brisbane’s biggest home and away game in years, the midfield stars did not come out to play.
That’s what all the people say.
You’re riding high in April, and you’re shot down in May.
Well, shit… it’s not even May, but Lincoln McCarthy’s only contribution of merit was kneeing James Aish in the head when he flew for a mark and pretended that he touched it.
He had 12 touches for the game and Champion Data says he ran at 83% efficiency, and I say they’re talking out of their backsides, because he was absolutely bloody useless!
I reckon there’s some people in Geelong breathing a little easier tonight, thinking “yep, THAT is the guy we let go – not the one who was fantastic a couple of weeks ago.”
Brisbane looked to have gained a huge steal in McCarthy, but if the good is interspersed with performances like this, they may just be getting more of a Brandon Matera than a Phillip Matera around goals.
Right off the bat, I just want to say that I hate free kicks for innocuous, incidental contact. So often we see players hardly touched, but the umpire runs in like his ass is on fire, blowing his whistle and awarding soft free kicks. It boggles the mind as to how they can miss Brody Mihocek getting dragged down by the face in a marking contest, or Brayden Maynard taking Hipwood out of the marking contest ,yet pay kicks for too high that equate to someone brushing up against someone else’s head.
If the contact is not forceful, let it go!
What are we thinking of Cam Rayner in year two? He had 12 touches and three score involvements in this game. What if I told you his three score involvements all involved him having a ping at goal?
It seems to me that Rayner is ready to run hard and pressure when the outcome directly affects him, but when it benefits a teammate, he doesn’t have the same level of commitment. I don’t think we’ll ever see his name at the top of the list of the hardest runners at the Lions.
You really don’t want to get into a shootout with the Pies. Those first and third quarter blasts were withering. The Lions so wanted to match it with Collingwood, and for a while they looked as though they may. Charlie Cameron looked lively, Hipwood was up and about… but the Pies just ooze class and have the capability of blowing teams off the park if they click even for one quarter.
Brisbane basically tries the “give and go” from kick ins on every occasions. Thirty metre pass from either Witherden or Rich, and they take off for the handball receive not long after. Good job by the Pies to shut that down early.
I often hear Collingwood fans wondering how good Tom Phillips would be if he tidied up his kicking. He was at 58% disposal efficiency tonight, and was still one of the better players on the park. Imagine he hit 80% of targets on a regular basis? We’re talking AA if he does that.
Is there a chance Darcy Moore slots in as the All-Australian centre half back this season? I reckon Jeremy McGovern has been down a bit thus far, so for the first time in a few years, the door may be open. His first month has been excellent.
I can safely say that there are no points for Grundy in this week’s power rankings, which will definitely open the door for those hovering around the top ten to go past him when we release the second version after round six. If you haven’t checked out Grundy at number one, have a look here.
Callum Brown is chugging along very nicely at the moment. 14 disposals and two goals in a team as sharp as this is enough to retain his spot, you’d think.
Trav Varcoe once again demonstrated his value in one brilliant, defensive move in the dominant third quarter. It was his smother inside 50 that allowed the Pies a second chance at goal when Hodge took Beams high. Great to see the players get around Varcoe, as well. Too often those acts go ignored in lieu of celebrating the guy who kicked it. Sometimes you’ve gotta give credit to the guys doing the heavy lifting.
Any chance the goal review will be right to go by the time finals roll around. With one “goal” obviously hitting the padded part of the post, and another given a goal even though it looked touched on the line… I’m not sure we can place our faith in blokes watching video screens who are more confused than I am when I enter a round room and am told to stand in the corner.
Seriously this farce has gone on long enough, and if people reviewing the footage are just going to guess, I’d prefer we leave it to the umpires to guess and we get on with the game. View the footage, make an informed decision, or refer back to the umpire – it ain’t that hard, surely.
I thought Tom Langdon was really important early on in the piece. His timely spoils on Cam Rayner were wonderful, and really helped put the clamps on the young fella early. So much so that Rayner had a big ZERO next to his name at quarter time in terms of disposals.
Anyone else hear Leigh Matthews’ amazing mathematic skill during the broadcast? Somehow, when adding up wins and losses, he said that 19 plus 7 equals 26 and a half. Yep, you thow that other half in there, Lethal… keep the people on their toes.
What a luxury to have a player like Jordan de Goey you can just throw into the middle and allow him to go to work. He only had two clearances for the contest, but they both occurred at the start of the second half… right when the Pies blew the Lions out of the water. Coincidence?
If the Lions felt they were in with a shot at half time, it took the Pies 42 seconds of game time to snuff out their chances. In that time, both Callum Brown and Brody Mihocek slammed through goals to start the Collingwood machine running. The third quarter avalanche completely buried the Lions, but it all started with that 42 seconds of Jordan de Goey power football in the centre.
So, where to now? The Pies have the massive Anzac Day clash against the Bombers. Like the Derbies, Showdowns, Q-Clashes or whatever Sydney calls their cross-town rivalry, anything can happen in this game. The head says the Pies get a win, but the heart says… I hope there’s an all-in brawl and two thirds of each team get suspended.
And maybe beaten up outside the change rooms.
Speaking of the Q-Clash, the Lions would’ve have pencilled this in as a win prior to the season starting, but now this may just be a bit of a belter.
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