Collingwood v Richmond – The Doc’s Autopsy

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a piece saying that it was probably not the wisest idea to write off Richmond, who have made it a habit the past couple of years to come home with a wet sail.

After this clash with Collingwood, time is running out to even get themselves into the final eight, let alone a chance to get back to the last day of September to make it three flags in a row, and four in five years.

I’m still not prepared to put a line through them, but with six games to go, the Tigers (as of Sunday night) sit in 12th on the ladder – a game behind Fremantle and West Coast (who are to play Monday night) and a game ahead of Carlton and the Gold Coast Suns – who did beat Richmond last Thursday night in one of the upsets of the season.

For Collingwood, Richmond’s poor form over the past month meant that this was a big chance to get a rare win for the season. The Pies have had their issues this season – ball movement overall has been really poor, a bigger emphasis on blooding the kids, Nathan Buckley leaving mid-year among other things.

But the thing with the Pies is, that they have never really been blown out of games. If they’ve lost this year, they’ve lost by four or five goals at most.

Last week against the Saints, the Pies were very ordinary for three quarters before making a late charge to make St Kilda sweat a fair bit. There was much of the same in this contest – six goals in three quarters before the final quarter delivered one of the best quarters that I have seen from the Pies this year as they rammed on seven goals in the last quarter alone to take down the Tigers.

Let’s jump right into the review, shall we?


The Final Term Surge

It’s almost as if the switch is flicked that they needed to roll the dice and play like there is no tomorrow. I wish the Pies played like that for all four quarters because when they do that, they become an exciting side to watch.

For the first three quarters, it was a struggle to watch them move the ball – pedantic and slow, it’s like watching Geelong try to move the ball, except the Cats are winning games more consistently. I did make a statement last year that the Pies had become one of the most boring sides to watch with the football, but what has been happening the past few weeks is a bit of a changing of the guard.

In the final term against Richmond, Collingwood showed that perfect blend of maintaining possession, but executing when they get it off the turnover, moving through the middle of the MCG and executing their kicks, which in turn, helps their forwards beat their direct opponents.

The most alarming thing for Richmond supporters is that they failed to get their hands on the ball, nor tackle in that last quarter. The Tigers only had 57 disposals and the Pies doubled that tally. The Pies also were +15 in contested possessions, which meant that the uncontested possession differential was significant.

And to top it all off for the Tigers, they only laid three tackles for the entire fourth quarter…. Yes, that’s right, three tackles – Collingwood only had six, which will explain to you how open and free-flowing the last quarter was, but for a premiership side that prides itself on tackling pressure, manic football and induced chaos, three tackles is a completely inexcusable statistic.


The Future And The Now

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but Taylor Adams will be the next captain of Collingwood. Scott Pendlebury – or Emblebury – depending on which year you’re drinking from – maybe the next bloke to knock up 400 games, but at some stage, he’ll give Adams a tap on the shoulder and hand him the captaincy.

I’d say that he’d hand him the keys to the engine room too, but watching the last quarter in this one, it looks as if that change had already been made. Having said that, games are won and lost in the middle and both Adams and Pendlebury were huge in the last quarter when the Pies had to work themselves back from four goals down.

After a disruptive 2021 due to a knee injury, Adams’ work in the contest is so important to Collingwood’s plans and it was apparent when he was out of the side earlier in the year. Talking about his last quarter, in particular, Adams had eight of his 18 contested possessions in the final term, along with three of his 10 clearances, won a couple of important centre clearances and kicked a goal. Also, don’t forget his 10 tackles – an absolute beast.

Pendlebury too, won a couple of important centre clearances in the final term and his use of the football is still bloody gold class after all these years – I’d pay to see him and David Mundy from Fremantle to have one of those skill challenge competitions that they do in the NBA All-Star Weekend over there in the States.


Jordan De Goey: Poor Man’s Dusty?

Heard the comparison once too often for my liking – it’s nothing more than a bush league, haphazard phrase of stupidity. No one is going to be Dustin Martin and we will most likely not see the line of achievements Dusty has achieved in a five-year span again.

Jordan De Goey has been a much-maligned man in recent times – both for on the field and off. I’m not going to go anywhere near the off-field stuff here, but looking at this game, he looks like he’s almost back to his best form.

In recent times, I’ve silently questioned his work rate as a forward has it been good enough? At the start of the year, I would’ve said no – as a forward, the second and third efforts weren’t there and he looked more like a guy just rolling through the motions as opposed to a point to prove.

However, playing more in the midfield in recent weeks, he looks like he’s picked himself up and has become another important cog in the middle. Only the three clearances in this one, but 29 disposals, 10 marks and eight score involvements tells me that he was rotating between forward and midfield and was prepared to cover the ground and work for his footy.

He also bobbed up with a goal in the last quarter to send the Pies into the lead. If there was one criticism about his game, it is that his kicking went at only 50 percent and he had 18 kicks in this one. But all in all, Pies fans will be happy with his output in this one.


Some Important Match-Ups

Two key match-ups in this contest for mine that I observed as the match went on that I thought were critical to the result.

The first I’ll touch on is Brayden Maynard’s job on Jack Riewoldt. It’s common knowledge that the Pies are playing a bit of a shorter defensive line. Darcy Moore is out for the year, which leaves Jordan Roughead and Jack Madgen as the talls in defence – I’m still not sure what Madgen is doing or offering in this team, a lot of the Pies’ games I’ve watched this year, he has been dreadful with his use of the footy.

But I’ll digress. Maynard’s one tough bastard of a player, but he is still giving up a few centimetres and maybe a few kilos on Riewoldt, but his defensive role was simply brilliant. Riewoldt was just held to eight disposals, four marks and one goal – which is now his 700th career goal. Congratulations to him on a milestone that not many of the modern forwards will reach because of how the game is played these days.

The other match-up is Brodie Grundy on Mabior Chol. Richmond’s injury list right now is pretty substantial and that includes no Toby Nankervis or Ivan Soldo. They tried Samson Ryan a few weeks ago and he couldn’t introduce himself to the footy, and I love what Chol offers every week – he’s an all-heart player, a guy that you know will give it his all every week, no matter what position he plays and I thought he worked really hard in this one

But against a guy like Grundy, it was always going to be a rough experience and it showed the stark difference between a guy who has been a master of his craft for years now against a guy who is really more of a role player than a first ruck option.

Grundy had 40 hitouts to Chol’s 17, with 11 of those going to advantage. Grundy also had 22 disposals, five tackles, five marks, eight score involvements and a goal in the last quarter. But I thought Chol, who had the 11 disposals, three clearances and a goal, battled on as hard as he could. It was a valiant effort, but the experience of Grundy played a big part in Collingwood’s win.


Some Good Tigers

It’s been a pretty Magpie-dominant review, sometimes I can be like that. But there were a few Richmond players that can hold their heads high.

Plenty of talk about what Shai Bolton’s plans are beyond 2021 – will he be at Richmond or will he be flying home to Western Australia? Nevertheless, his work around the stoppages was outstanding – 26 disposals, eight clearances (three from centre bounces), four marks and eight inside 50s. The goal he kicked in the opening term is something that you don’t see in footballers these days – the ability to really work your body around the angles and make the ball curve back magnificently from a fair distance.

Dylan Grimes did all he could in defence to hold off all the ball that was coming inside their defensive 50 – took five intercept marks in this one and had seven overall, as well as 11 of his 15 possessions being intercepts.

Jayden Short, as well, worked tirelessly to run and rebound the ball outside of defensive 50, recording 31 disposals, 22 kicks, 841 metres gained, 11 rebound 50s and going at a very high 86 percent kicking efficiency. He is perhaps one of my favourite Richmond players to watch whenever he gets the ball because he rarely wastes it and he makes them count so often.

Also, Tom Lynch has come back into this side quite seamlessly, following up his bag of five goals last week against the Suns with another three goals in this one, worked hard to beat Jordan Roughead and lead into the right spots to get the right opportunities.


Other Bits

It was a terrific intercepting game from Jack Crisp – who took four intercept marks and 10 of his 33 disposals were intercepts, however, his kicking still remains a problem in his game, only kicking it at 58 percent.

I’m not sure how I feel about Liam Baker’s game – I loved that he kicked the two goals playing more as a midfielder, but he also had 19 disposals and three clearances and seeing what he has done earlier in the year, I feel like he could’ve had more influence around the contest.

How important is Jamie Elliott to Collingwood’s forward structure? Outsiders may not bat an eyelid towards a small forward, but I think he’s very important. Provides strong leads up the ground, a reliable finisher and a great pressure player: Three goals, 21 disposals, six marks, five tackles (four inside 50) is a great return.

Sydney Stack on return was okay, he was never going to set the world on fire again, but he did some nice things and eased himself back into a little bit of form after a tumultuous 12 months for him personally.

Richmond need to persist with Riley Collier-Dawkins for the next little while, I think at times his extraction out of stoppages was quite good, but it looked quite apparent that he’ll need some time to really adjust to the difference between state-level footy and senior football.

Best game I’ve seen from Will Hoskin-Elliott this year. I’ve always rated his running ability and seeing him on the wing has been able to really put his run to use: 26 disposals, five marks, 404 metres gained, four score involvements.

Also, reckon this was the best game I’ve seen from Kamdyn McIntosh. A bit of a no-frills type player, just gets it done on the wing, although at times his disposal has been a bit iffy – 23 disposals, seven inside 50s, seven intercepts and five marks at just under 61 percent disposal efficiency.

A special shoutout to Nathan Murphy for his first career goal, he’s a young lad that comes from down my way and a very talented player at that, just hasn’t been able to get a real clean run of health since being drafted by the Pies.

Unfair to point out players like Patty Naish, Thomson Dow and even to an extent guys like Stack, Jake Aarts, Ryan Garthwaite and Rhyan Mansell, but some of the more senior heads were quite disappointing: the captain Trent Cotchin had only 13 disposals, Dusty disappeared in large parts of the game, Daniel Rioli – not sure what he’s bringing to the side, Jason Castagna was a passenger again and the time is ticking on David Astbury – looks a step or two too slow.

And on that disturbing note, it’s time to close out another review.

Collingwood have notched up win number five of the year and have jumped above Adelaide on the ladder to 15th and next weekend is a massive chance for them to make it two wins in a row under Robert Harvey as they host Carlton at the MCG. Collingwood have taken some good wins this year, but ending Carlton’s slim finals hopes would be something all Pies fans will be rather fond of.

As for the Tigers, it’s not the end of the road, but a lot needs to go right from here if they are any chance of contending once again. It doesn’t get any easier for them next weekend as they welcome the Brisbane Lions to the MCG, who will be hoping to bounce back from their shock loss to St Kilda.

The Lions did dispose of the Tigers earlier in the year at the Gabba, but given the unexpected results this weekend, this could very well be the game that helps turn the Tigers’ fortunes around.


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