On a lovely Saturday at the MCG, Adelaide were hoping to put in a good showing after their nail-biter against Fremantle last weekend. Those plans were absolutely buzz-sawed by a rampaging Collingwood side, brimming with speed, talent and confidence. The Pies, under new coach Craig McRae moved to 2-0 and take second position on the ladder for now, whereas Adelaide must figure out where things went wrong, and how they can improve.
Let’s take a look at how this played out
Collingwood held magnificent structure around the ground. For anybody that looked at the numbers and said “Adelaide should have won as they had five more disposals and 22 extra uncontested possessions”, well, that was due to Collingwood sacrificing the short kick to the defenders. Instead, they boosted their defensive numbers behind the ball. Their defence punished any mistake Adelaide made, with scything run and high IQ possession chains a feature of their day
Adelaide struggled to contain the pace of the Magpies around the field, and although they battled hard, they severely lacked that next-level speed to counter the firepower of the home side.
It was an even game early, with Adelaide being only 22 points down at halftime, yet inaccuracy from both sides kept the contest close up until then. A fire alarm halted play early, and while it was deemed a false alarm, it set Collingwood alight. Kicking 9.0 inside 30 metres, Collingwood were able to knife their way to goal, often taking advantage of an overlap forward of the ball. Collingwood also applied outstanding defensive pressure, nailing 28 of 31 tackle attempts inside 50, Adelaide managed 21 of 33
LOOKING VERY CRISP
Jack Crisp was a class above for Collingwood in this game, with an outstanding two-way game. Accumulating 26 disposals, six marks and a game-high 10 tackles, he was everywhere for the Pies. Often opposed to Rory Sloane, Crisp was able to run off and pick his moments to attack. Very notable was his work rate into defence, channelling his experience from the time spent in his early days.
One of the best aspects of his game is that he picks the right time to take off from the stoppage and attack. His timing was impeccable, treading water – keeping an eye on the defensive side of the stoppage, only then to drive forward once the ball was won and the path opened up. He has very quickly become the most important cog in the Collingwood engine room, and will be an outstanding leader for the future. Crisp also covered a game-high 15.4km across the ground
HAIRY MCCREERY FROM DONALDSON’S DAIRY
AFL WORLD take note…
… this kid is going to be special.
This might be a very bold call, with the likes of Ollie Henry and everybody’s favourite Instagrammer, Jack Ginnivan running around, however, I believe Beau McCreery will be the absolute pick of the bunch. He possesses an explosiveness that will be an absolute nightmare for defensive players to cover, along with an unselfish attitude around the forward line. Due to injury concerns, Collingwood were able to Scoops him up at pick 44 in the 2020 draft and that looks to be an absolute bargain. Nine disposals, two goals straight, a score assist, and five score involvements to add to his defensive contribution of six tackles (3 I50) in a great game that outlines his massive potential. His shimmy to evade two Crows at half-forward was simply sublime.
ADELAIDE BATTLES ON
To the Crows engine room of Ben Keays, Matt Crouch and Rory Sloane – hats off gentlemen.
The Adelaide trio just kept on working, despite increasing pressure and numbers against them. The engine room severely lacked the speed and sure hands of Laird and Seedsman, however, the endeavour of these three must be respected. All three covered a tremendous amount of ground, often working back into defence to help out. The trio combined for 89 possessions, however, they missed the damaging penetration that the missing counterparts can provide. Crouch in particular was very strong over the ball, putting his body on the line at every opportunity, trying to make something happen. His rundown tackle on Jack Ginnivan in the first quarter set the intent for his game and willingness to work defensively as well.
Keays led the game with 37 possessions, however, he often looked to get on the attacking side of the stoppages, which I believe is also a bit counter-intuitive due to his “shortcomings” regarding his disposal. For me, he would be much better on the defensive side of the stoppages, as that also allows his defensive strengths to come into play. Keays managed only two tackles for the game, and put simply – he doesn’t offer the precision of Sloane or Crouch at the attacking side of the contest. His work rate cannot be faltered, though.
THE OLD HEADS
At the start of the game, I thought that Scott Pendlebury would be in for a tough game, as Adelaide possessed pace with Rachele and Rowe across their half-forward line- however, due to Collingwood’s impressive zone defence scheme, Pendles was able to play “the quarterback role” with aplomb. I still feel his position at half-back will be matchup dependant, admittedly he has not been exposed yet, but there are much better teams to come. Pendlebury accounted for 28 disposals at 86% efficiency with eight intercept possessions and six rebound 50’s
Further up the ground, Steele Sidebottom looked rejuvenated..
It’s a wonder what an injection of youth and winning football games can do for confidence and input. While he “only” accounted for 19 possessions, it was his work without the ball that caught my eye. I had to rewind the broadcast and make sure that my eyes were not lying to me, as I counted about four times Steele gave off a disposal and looked to throw in a block, opposed to scooting forward for the handball receive, I believe he is starting to realise he may not be the player he once was, and as silly as it might sound, the less Collingwood ask him to do, the better.
Hold on Hold on…
I’m not suggesting for one second that he has run his race. Not at all – I’m referring to his importance in the structure and gameplan, as I don’t think he is the guy to get 25 touches week in week out anymore, however, he can be much more dangerous as a link-up or “release valve” player, merely in a quality over quantity approach.
The pace of the Pies had Adelaide under siege for significant portions of this game, however, the half-back tandem of Jordan Dawson and Brodie Smith did all they could to stem the bleeding. Smith was his resolute self with his run and carry in rebounding from defence, accounting for 30 disposals, six marks, six intercepts and a goal. Dawson’s precise footskills were on display off half-back, and also spent some time on the wing to inject a bit of X factor into a fledging forward line later in the game. The new recruit gathered 28 disposals, 11 uncontested marks, a lovely set shot goal and five intercepts. Jordan Butts did a great job restricting Jamie Elliot in this game, with Elliot kept to one goal and no marks from his 13 touches.
BRETT’S BLAST: DARCY FOGARTY
“To start like that means you won’t win, particularly with a pathetic effort from David Pittman/Darcy Fogarty up forward, and that’s pretty hard on an individual but he is going to have to live with that”
Look, I’ll be honest…
The fact that Matthew Nicks chose to leave out gun drafteee Riley Tilthorpe and instead hand the keys to Darcy Fogarty and Elliot Himmelberg was downright laughable. Both players were involved in the first few Crows forward forays forward but were quickly unseen. Himmelberg gets off just, as he did spend time in the ruck. While I’m mentioning Fogarty, it’s because of his high draft status that he gets the “mention”.
Fog had two behinds from his 10 disposals, gave away four free kicks and had six turnovers. I completely understand he is still only very young, however, surely the same good graces extended to these two should also extend to Tilthorpe.
Truth be told, it should be Matthew Nicks in the gun, as he also chose to play defender Lachlan Gollant up forward instead of giving Tilthorpe a reprieve… To his credit, Gollant did what he could, kicking a goal from 11 touches and clunking four marks
The matchup of Josh Daicos and Lachie Sholl was an interesting one. Both were playing on each other but also off each other, as Josh linked up through half back whereas Sholl was a bit more involved in general play. Due to Adelaide’s deficiencies, I believe Sholl needs to be playing every week. Despite his disposal numbers being inconstant, he is almost deemed to being “a professional runner” and his work rate is a must have for this Crows side lacking the power running of Seedsman. Sholl toiled hard with 20 disposals and a goal. His Collingwood counterpart had 25 touches and six tackles.
I covered Beau McCreery earlier, but it would be as obvious as the boundary line commentary provided by Eddie Betts to say that Ollie Henry, and Jack Ginnivan give Collingwood a very exciting trifecta around goals that rivals the Port trio of Duursma, Rozzee and… I forget the other guy. Already in their extremely young careers there is an unmistakable synergy that seems to have developed overnight. I’ll admit, I wrote this year off as a Collingwood rebuild, however they might in fact be challenging to sneak into a top 8 spot come season’s end, as you can see their infectious attitude for wanting to win. The snap goal from Henry deep in the pocket will surely be a goal of the year contender
Very handy game from Harry Schoenberg around half-forward and midfield, I was impressed with the way he attacked the ground ball with speed and was clean at the heels. He made Quaynor accountable early.
The fact I haven’t mentioned the stars for the Collingwood defence doesn’t mean I didn’t rate their games, Adelaide rarely challenged them in the air, and the unit as a whole largely locked down the Crows, especially after halftime. Having Darcy Moore playing on Gollant, allowing him to float across is a luxury that will seldom be afforded to a better structured team.
Great matchup early with Rachele v Nick Daicos, with both guys having their moments, Rachele had a few nervous touches early – he fumbly and gave away a silly free kick before kicking the Crows first goal with a 50m bomb. Due to the defensive setup, there were seldom 1v1 contests, unfortunately. 22 touches for Daicos and 20 touches and a goal for Rachele.
Was a mixed day for Nathan “Freddy” Kreuger. Kicking two goals and moving well up forward in relief of Mason Cox, before unfortunately. dislocating his shoulder. It’s almost uncanny for the injury to have occurred to a key forward, as Collingwood played the unorthodox move of having Darcy Cameron – another key forward – as their sub.
Taylor Adams and Jordan De Goey had solid games as well, doing what they had to do in regard to getting the ball going. Both had a game-high six clearances, and covered the ground well. It shows just how impressive of a team effort was put forth, as I’ve mentioned these calibre of players right at the end.
Collingwood had a bit of trouble with the 6-6-6 rule, having three, if not four instances of getting their zones wrong. Bit of a special event, as Collingwood are usually known for having words, letters and numbers pretty spot on.
By the way, BRAVO on that banner