Parochialism is great, but only when there is an alternate view you can use to balance things out. There is no way both sets of supporters ever walk away from a game feeling completely satisfied. There is always a winner and a loser… or two teams that played to a draw and no one is happy.
In order to capture the feelings and thoughts of both teams, irrespective of the outcome, HB Meyers and Daniel Jon Kershaw went into watching this game as fans with eyes only for one team. HB was all about the Purple Haze, whilst DJK wore the black and white stripes.
Below is the dual review from two Mongrels with very different perspectives on the game. It’s the Dockers and Pies in what is ostensibly a season-shaper for both teams. Two Mongrels. Two points of view. One article. And one winner.
WHO WAS THE MATCH WINNER?
PIES – For consecutive years, a cellar-dwelling Fremantle outfit has upset Collingwood. For a team that is very much in their premiership window, these losses hurt the most. And they have no one to blame but themselves. It took them over a half of a game of footy to get into it and by then, Freo were already three goals a head and had the wind blowing from behind and were far too hungry for a win to let this one slip away.
In recent years, the Pies would be able to do just enough to win a game like this, even though it wasn’t their day. But those days look to be over. They can no longer dominate a quarter of footy and coast for the rest of the game. Something has to change.
DOCKERS – Well, there were a couple.
The young bloke named Caleb Serong was wonderful and kept finding the footy all game. This maybe a little morbid, but I was kind of waiting for him to do something silly and undo his good work. You know, the kind of error a rookie would make?
Nup… he just kept on doing his thing and made people sit up and take notice. As much as people, myself included, have talked about the importance of players like Adam Cerra and Andrew Brayshaw progressing this season, the influence of Serong was marked.
The other is Luke Ryan, who for the second-straight week, was huge in defence. He was incredible in the last couple of minutes, clunking that big contested intercept against Brody Mihocek and making a spoil in the pack to get the ball outside 50.
If he were playing at West Coast or one of the big Melbourne clubs, he’d be on the lips of every footy website out there and they’d be spruiking his claim on an AA spot. As it stands, we’ll do the spruiking. He was brilliant in this one.
WHERE DID WE WIN/LOSE THE GAME?
PIES – Although it did look like they were going to overrun Freo late in the game, their fate was sealed in an atrocious first half of skill errors and poor decisions. It felt like the ball was on a string attached to a Freo defender. Every entry into 50 was met by a clean intercept mark with Freo perfectly set up behind the ball, while the Pies couldn’t string a few possessions together to gain some ground. I couldn’t tell if they butchered or rushed their kicks, but the result was the same – an absolutely frustrating spectacle. It had me tearing out my god damn hair.
While it was infuriating to watch at times, the deliberate strategy in the second half to stop trying to kick it (because that clearly wasn’t working) and move it by hand started to have some effect as the possession count racked up and they were able to start getting through the Freo defence. It wasn’t enough though, as Freo were too desperate and attacked the ball like berserkers. You have to give Freo credit – they simply wanted it more and deserved the win.
DOCKERS – Pure and simple, it was in the contest. As much as I liked a couple of Justin Longmuir’s tactical moves, the way the Dockers cracked in and made it difficult for the Pies to have any clean possession in the front half was the deciding factor in this game.
I think I have made this analogy before but probably not in relation to the Dockers. I am a bit of a ‘Bad Boys’ Detroit Pistons fan. Often overlooked by NBA fans because they weren’t sexy and were a notoriously down and dirty team, they would fight, scrap and foul their way to wins. And they did just that in eliminating Michael Jordan’s Bulls two straight years as they became champs. They weren’t pretty and they didn’t want to be.
Fremantle weren’t pretty in this one, either. They scrapped, threw themselves in and they won ugly against a team many predicted to win the flag. In the process, they kept their season alive.
IF YOU WERE COACH, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?
PIES – As much as I am a fierce detractor of all things Mason Cox, some more tall timber would have come in handy today. Cameron was fine, but they need someone else up there too. The issue with Collingwood’s forward line is it’s filled with all these hybrid forwards, who are excellent on the run, but no one can take a contested mark or crash a pack. Sure, Cox isn’t brilliant at those things either, but his staggering height would have been a focal point for defenders so the other guys could get some space.
If Moore wasn’t so brilliant today, I would have been tempted to throw him forward to see if he could break open the game a little. Honestly, I’m throwing my hands up in the air – I don’t know what to do with a forward line that isn’t firing as expected. There’s a real scoring issue happening over in the Collingwood camp and if they don’t sort it out quick smart, the season is going to amount to diddly squat.
DOCKERS – I have to say, I really enjoyed Longmuir throwing Sean Darcy forward as a disruptor late in the game. Darcy Moore was killing things back there (13 intercepts… far out!) and Darcy’s presence seemed to throw his run at the footy out of whack a little.
I really didn’t like seeing Brandon Matera isolated on Brayden Maynard, particularly so far up the ground. There were three instances that I saw Maynard cleanly mark the ball because Matera was unable to have an influence. I would have had Matera stick closer to goal in the hope that Maynard wouldn’t be tempted to run off and leave him all alone.
I don’t really care that Rory Lobb doesn’t love being a ruckman. Darcy was really struggling to compete in the air against the Pies big man, so an earlier move of Lobb into the middle to combat Grundy could have been entertained.
MOST UNDERRATED PERFORMANCE
PIES – There was a lot said about the performance of Maynard, Moore and Sidebottom, but Crisp was a highlight in an otherwise lacklustre performance. Quietly notching up 20 possessions at 80 per cent efficiency, Crisp was instrumental in helping the Pies get some quality ball movement out of the back half – something that desperately needed. He was excellent, but completely ignored by the commentary team.
DOCKERS – Mitch Crowden.
I reckon he looks like he would be more suited to NRL than the AFL – he has that “worn in” kind of head, but he was instrumental in a couple of vital goals in this game in addition to the two he kicked, himself.
I don’t think he will feature in many people’s votes, which is basically the kind of player I am looking for here, but his straight line running at the footy and the scoreboard reward are plenty good enough for me.
THE MOMENT THAT MATTERED MOST?
PIES – There was a passage of play in the second where the ball rebounded out of Freo’s defensive i50 and Mayne went for mark of the year, missed it, and the ball was moved forward. The ball came to Quaynor in a 1 on 1 and he also tried to take a speccy, let it spill out and the ball was quickly kicked to Schultz 30 metres in front of goal. Crying out loud!
It was then I knew the Pies weren’t going to win this one. It felt like the entire team was completely out of sync with each other and were not playing as a cohesive unit, but rather as 22 individuals.
DOCKERS – I hate to say this, but the deliberate out of bounds paid against Jamie Elliott in the last quarter was a pretty big moment. I was all in on Freo, but they got a nice little run at the end in terms of umpiring. I don’t begrudge them – I loved it, but without acknowledging it, I’d feel I wasn’t being honest.
Other than that? The Luke Ryan contested grab with a couple of minutes to go was monstrous. Matt Taberner kicking straight was a welcome change, and Crowden’s goal after riding a bump to open the last quarter all made me pump my fist in the air.
WHICH PLAYERS LET US DOWN THE MOST?
PIES – I don’t like to beat up a debutant, but Keane looked totally lost out there. He really needed someone with a lot of backline experience to steady him. But at the moment, they don’t have that kind of veteran – everyone is injured and Moore and Maynard were too busy trying their best to keep the game alive. Keane’s inexperience was no more evident than when his push (as soft as it was) on Taberner resulted in a goal that pretty much iced the game.
He’s not ready quite yet, but the unfortunate thing is he’ll get another game because the Collingwood selection panel don’t really have a wealth of options.
DOCKERS – I want to preface this by stating that I loved the endeavour of every player out there this evening. It was great to watch a low-scoring game that could also be highly entertaining, but…
… and you knew there was a “but”, didn’t you?
The third quarter of Connor Blakely may have emphasised just why he has had so much trouble regaining a place in this team. He can’t kick!
On two occasions the Dockers had done the hard work at the centre clearance and farmed the ball out to him backwards, only for Blakely to hack the footy along the ground leading to turnovers.
This is the sort of thing that kills momentum and erodes leads, and Blakely needs to clean this stuff up before assuming his place in this side on a regular basis. Again, I love the effort – I just didn’t like the result.
Brandon Matera was pretty ordinary as well. He strikes me as a confidence player, and he is not playing with any right now.
PLAYER FROM THE OPPOSITION I ADMIRED MOST IN THIS GAME?
PIES – Who the bloody hell is Caleb Serong? He’s 19, stands 5’10 and gave a Masterclass in midfield craft. 24 possessions, nine clearances and six tackles. I’m looking at his photo right now and he’s got fucking blemishes. He’s just a kid and he was best on ground today. Jesus, some of these kids coming through at the moment are freaks. Forget about Fyfe – Caleb was who the Pies had to worry about today – they just didn’t know it until it was too late.
DOCKERS – It’d be a toss-up between three.
Darcy Moore was wonderful playing on Fyfe, but some of the delivery into Fyfe was absolutely appalling and almost favoured Moore.
Brayden Maynard was resolute as well, and would probably be in contention for an AA spot right now. If not the final 22, then definitely the squad of 40.
And Jamie Elliott looked really dangerous at stoppages. I don’t think he’s ever going to be prolific, but he was a big part of the Collingwood challenge in the third quarter.
PIES – Another disappointing outing for fans. The Pies are not looking good at the moment and their season is at real risk of going completely off the rails.
You’d be an idiot to write them off, no matter what their form suggests. They still have the talent and system to make a run of it this year. I think they’ll come good again – hopefully, it won’t take too long.
They have a relatively easy schedule for them in the next few weeks when they face North, Adelaide and Sydney. Maybe this tour around the country will help them rediscover their mojo and they’ll start playing like the Pies we know and love.
DOCKERS – This was a great win. It had a bit of everything – drama, close scores, and pressure… Pressure… PRESSURE!
The Dockers looked rabid out there at points, hunting in packs and refusing to allow Collingwood any room.
Serong was a beast – 14 contested touches as he became one of the more damaging mids in the game. Taberner clunked marks and David Mundy turned back the clock to continually get first hands on the footy.
Tobe Watson was good across half back and Nathan Wilson really stepped up in the last quarter when the game was on the line.
If this is who Fremantle are, and this is the style they want to play, the ir fans may have to endure the occasional game of ugly footy, but the longer they keep this nucleus together the more it will be laced with wins.