We’ve all spent time in or around footy clubs, right? And if not directly, we have had sons, daughters, fathers, brothers, or sisters that have.

One of my most vivid memories of playing footy was playing in the wet. I used to love it – not so much the wind, but wet weather footy was always fun. As best as I can remember, every coach I ever had used to say the same things about playing in the wet.

– Bodyline the footy.

– Take distance and lock the ball in.

– Don’t overpossess the footy.

– Play in front.

Sure, there may have been a few other things in there, and quite a few obscenities thrown in, and a crack about Joe Ganino’s girlfriend which was always funny (because it was true), but the basics of wet weather make the game simple.

Or they should, at least.

Collingwood seemed ready to adopt the simplicity of wet weather footy as they journeyed west to Optus Stadium. Their hosts did not.

Whilst the Pies ran directly at the footy and did whatever they could to keep the ball in front of them, the Dockers attempted to apply a little more finesse to their style. Great when it comes off. When it doesn’t… not so great.

The Pies played better wet weather footy in this one,  They played the percentages, did the little things, and by the time the Dockers adjusted what they were doing, it was lights out for them.

This was a huge road-win for the Pies, whilst Freo are left to lick their wounds and prepare for a date with the Demons.

Let’s jump into The Big Questions

 

IS THIS A GAME WHERE THE MOST BASIC STATS JUST MISLED EVERYONE?

Absolutely it is.

Let’s have a look at them and see where they tell a story that just isn’t true. Four of the top five disposal-winners in this game wore purple. Will Brodie, David Mundy, Andrew Brayshaw, and Caleb Serong all had in excess of 29 possessions, combining for 130 touches for the game.

Of them, I genuinely rate the game of Brodie, as he was in-and-under and was not guilty of over-possessing the footy. Everyone else… I am not sure they could make that claim.

In contrast, looking at the Magpie mids, it was clear what their modus operandi was from the outset – get the footy forward cleanly if possible, but forward irrespective of his you get it there. In the slop, they bullied their way into the contest and quickly slapped the ball on the boot to gain territory. Once they did, they worked hard to ensure their forwards would have every opportunity to create some magic, and on a couple of occasions, their hard work was rewarded by the forwards doing exactly that.

In complete contrast to the disposals stat, the Pies had three of the top four tacklers in the contest, with Scott Pendlebury, Taylor Adams, and Darcy Cameron all with eight or more drag downs.

The Pies were +29 in tackles in a game where pressure was king and disposals were more like the court jester. At one point I watched Justin Longmuir playing with his mask, and I wondered whether he felt like pulling it up over his eyes? The turnover count was the same, but the Dockers had +47 disposals – they just weren;t using it.

Freo were +56 in handballs for the game, often attempting to run the footy down the ground and having things crumble all around them. This was one of those games where one fumble spelled disaster for a side reliant on speed and skill… and what ended up occurring was that the Freo turnovers took place in close and without coverage behind. The Pies, when they made a mistake it was usually the result of a longer kick, allowing them to structure up better behind the footy.

This was evidenced by the Pies being +14 on inside 50s for the game – whilst Freo screwed around with the footy, the Pies went long and direct, and it paid dividends.

 

IF THE WEATHER WERE DRIER, DO FREO WIN?

What a dumb question. Who think of these?

Look, I like the Dockers when they own the footy and pinpoint disposals through the middle of the ground, but with both centre half-forward areas looking like the Fremantle Public Swimming Pool – the deep end, too – trying to work the footy with MORE disposals was a recipe for disaster.

Sadly for them, Justin Longmuir seemingly learnt very little from the Gold Coast game. Either that, or his troops don’t listen.

And you know what happens when troops don’t listen?

So yes, if it were dry, the Dockers could have been better. But it wasn’t, and they weren’t.

 

WHY DO PEOPLE HATE JACK GINNIVAN SO MUCH?

I don’t know, but I hope he continues to embrace it and makes the emotions that Cody Weightman elicits look like adoration. I thought people wanted players with a bit of character about them? Isn;t that what we always yap on about?

“Oh… they’re turning them into robots…”

So, then here comes a bloke who has a bit of cheekiness about him, and…

“… oh, I hate that guy!”

He certainly has a way of getting under people’s skin, and with Sam Switkowski seeming to apply a chicken wing tackle on him, he just has this knack of finding himself in situations that most players would try to avoid.

He actually invites the pressure – I love it!

His pre-goal celebration as he capped off the work of the entire team’s pressure was one of those moments that he had to know he was pressing the button of every edge-lord on the internet, as well as opponents, but the bloke just does not care.

It’s a bold strategy… let’s see if it pays off.

And by “pays off”, I reckon he is the sort of bloke that will start attracting sponsors pretty soon. Everyone loves a bit of swagger… or they absolutely hate it

 

WHO IS RECRUIT OF THE YEAR – WILL BRODIE, OR PATRICK LIPINSKI?

I’m a neutral and watch these blokes every single week. I reckon I am well-placed to make an assessment.

I also run the Mongrel Punt Recruit of the Year for our members every week, so I have a bit of an inkling as to who has been going above and beyond for their team.

Lipinski has been a standout for Collingwood – not just because he is picking up nice numbers as he works through the midfield, but he has slotted into an existing midfield structure and found his role immediately.

With 29 touches in this one, he was amongst the best Magpies on the ground, consistently finding himself in the right spots as a link man through the guts. Heading into this week, he was sitting in third overall in our recruit rankings, and having played such good footy right off the bat, he will be the poster boy for finding players at other clubs on the cusp of getting a game but not quite establishing themselves.

Speaking of players like that, Will Brodie has been amazing this season. Whilst Lipinski has found his own place in the Collingwood midfield, Brodie has been greatly benefitted by the absence of Nat Fyfe, taking on the inside mid role and playing himself into the type of form that just about makes him indispensable.

His 36 touches (20 contested) and 11 clearances were once again a standout for the Dockers, and when you consider he had only two turnovers despite the conditions, he really is in a rich vein of form.

How he fits in once Fyfe returns to this team will be something to watch closely, as we know what the dual Brownlow Medallist’s forte is, and he will be determined to take back the mantle of Freo’s contested ball king. This was the second time Brodie has gone over 20 contested touches this season, and he is averaging over 12 per game.

Maybe Fyfe will have a battle on his hands, if not to take back his spot, but to keep it?

 

WAS IT A MISTAKE TO PLAY MASON COX?

It could have been, but it kind of worked out okay, didn’t it?

Cox strolled out onto the field and must have been cursing his luck. Back in the side, wearing his slickster sunnies, h was forced to remove his eye protection due to the wet weather. Personally, I cannot believe sunnies so fashionable did not come with wipers.

In conditions that simply did not suit any facet of his game, he popped a finger and was subbed out of the game, allowing the Pies to bring Ollie Henry into their 22.

And Henry made the most of his chances.

Dispelling the yips that hampered his production earlier this season, Henry snagged four goals to be the most effective forward on the park, clunking marks, moving well at ground level, and generally just looking better than everyone else in the vicinity.

Using the bodywork of Brody Mihocek to his advantage, Henry was able to lose his opponent and capitalise on the quick Collingwood ball movement inside 50.

I feel for Cox (said the blind man). He finally got his run at it, was hit with a downpour that completely worked him out of the game, and then had to sit on the bench and watch as his replacement became one of the best players on the park. A good day for the Pies – not so for Mason.

 

IS ANYONE GOING TO UNDERRATE THE GAME OF DARCY MOORE THIS WEEK?

Both he and Jeremy Howe have copped a bit of flak from the media in recent weeks about how much space they give their direct opponents. In this game, it proved to be enough rope for the big blokes to hang themselves.

Rory Lobb started well, picking up two free kicks for marking interference inside fifty, and converting one of them. I don’t know what possessed the Pies defenders to attack him in the air like that and give him the opportunities – with a wet footy and a bit of body pressure, everyone knew that Lobb would grass the attempts, but the Pies seemed determined to apply significant pressure early, and it cost them.

From that point on, Moore, Howe,, and Brayden Maynard owned the air in defensive 50. Moore had 15 one-percenters in the type of performance we haven’t really seen from him this season, whilst he, Howe and Maynard combined for 23 intercepts.

They were ably supported by their ground-level help in the form of John Noble, who was as desperate at the end of the game as he was at the beginning, and Isaac Quaynor, who delighted in handing off to Scott Pendlebury and Nick Daicos to run the footy out.

Oh, and while I am talking about Collingwood defenders, am I the only one that thinks Collingwood has a cloning machine that doesn’t work properly?

You have Scott Pendlebury, and it looks as though they attempted to clone him and got a specimen that was a little thicker (in body), in Brayden Maynard. And now you have Nathan Murphy, who looks like the Wish version of Darcy Moore.

The machine needs a little work, but for the most part, it is churning out some pretty perfect imperfections.

 

TOO CRISP

Interesting to hear that Jack Crisp had been ill for much of the week leading up to this game. You couldn’t tell by the way he moved around the park.

He did try a bounce early in the game that went absolutely nowhere, but he quickly learnt his lesson and didn’t try that again. His 27 touches and eight clearances had him just about the Pies’ best yet again in 2022.

 

QUICK BITS

Mrs Mongrel sat up and took a bit of notice in this one when Darcy Moore lost his strides and his undies in a tackle… and the tackle almost came out!

Look, we didn’t have the best angle for that, but she did make me rewind it just to be sure.

I like what Darcy Cameron provides for Collingwood in terms of his relief ruck work and as a forward target,but he was monstered by Darcy, who was one of the few Freo players to attempt to get the footy moving quickly. He took the footy from the ruck constantly, amassing 11 clearances for the game, but so many of those were quick hacks forward as Cameron and Tyler Brown attempted to curtail him.

Jamie Elliott adds so much to the Pies inside 50. One of my mates gets on Elliott a bit for the fact that he ends up on the sidelines a little too often, and he has a point, really. However, when he is able to remain on the park, Elliott adds an air of stability to the Pies inside 50, and remains dangerous to the point that even if he is having a quiet one, he is going to command the attention of a pretty good defender to ensure he remains that way.

Luckily, players wear GPS devices these days. God for Jordan de Goey, who I saw leave the corridor for the first time in weeks. Guys, I know he is an offensive weapon, and really, I love watching him grab the footy and create, but some of his defensive running is toilet-water bad. This causes others to have to work harder to compensate for his unwillingness, or inability to cover space or chase.

At one point in the second quarter, his meandering run at half-back saw teammates pass him and chase for him. They eventually became part of the group that caused a turnover and sent the ball back inside 50, but such was de Goey’s non-committal to either join the hunt, or get dangerous should the ball be turned over, he ended up in no-man’s land, watching the footy sail back over his head. You’d pay a lot for what he brings to the table offensively, but defensively… I’m not so sure I’d be willing to fork out big bucks for a bloke that makes others work harder.

 

And that’ll do me in this one. Great win by the Pies – gutsy and determined. Season-building stuff. Their clash with the Blues next week will be mouth-watering.

As for Freo, they are now staring down three losses on the trot, as they head to the MCG to face Melbourne. Giddy up for that one – this may make or break them as a top-four contender.

As always, massive thanks to those who support us with Mongrel memberships. We attempt to give coverage to all teams equally, so if you feel you’re missing out, I can guaran-damn-tee an article on your team won’t be too far away.

 

 

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