Collingwood v Gold Coast – The Mongrel Mash-Up

A group effort on this one due to a set of unfortunate circumstances – Trent Adam Shields stepped in to polish this one off after Brett Hodgson had a situation he was forced to deal with. Huge thanks to both Mongrels.


It was the Hot Pies, on a five-game winning streak, versus the maturing Suns, still in mathematical contention for finals, but fresh off a heartbreaking loss away to the Power last week and impacted by season-ending injuries to prime movers Weller and Powell. It took place in front of a capacity crowd if not for the weather was by far the pick of the games on Saturday night. The Suns got off to the perfect start, kicking the first three goals, including first AFL possession to Papua New Guinean debutant, Hewago Paul Oea who snapped truly to rapturous applause.

However, in-form Collingwood kicked the next five unanswered to establish a strong lead heading into time on in the second term, before a late flurry from the home side brought it back to almost even pegging at the long break. A dominant third term was not capitalised on the scoreboard as Gold Coast kept the Magpies within touching distance, and despite a further two last-term goals by the irrepressible Rankine, Collingwood were able to come from behind and hold on to a match-winning lead in the frantic dying moments.

The five-point win was the Magpies’ third victory by less than a goal in their past five thrilling matches, Gold Coast were left to lick their wounds, the much improved second half of the season showing was little consolation to coach Dew as another long-term injury, this time to Conor Budarick was confirmed.



Josh and Nick Daicos played their best duet last night on the slick surface of Metricon. Nick was unstoppable and afforded way too much time and space, which can be ill-afforded to ANY AFL player, let alone a player the calibre of Nick’s class. The gun rookie accumulated 37 disposals, eight rebound 50s, two goal assists and seven score involvements. His 60m switch to set up brother Josh was simply sublime and was arguably the goal assist of the season, based purely on the skill to execute such a kick. He has more than one hand on the Ron Evans Medal after this performance, as he showed what he can do if teams do not respect his skill.

There is significant internal debate at Mongrel HQ about the gushing media adoration for this Father-Son prodigy, my personal perspective is that we should be in awe of an 18-year old capable of this level of performance about only 2/3 of a season in the big league, he has likely polled three Brownlow votes for the third time and is trusted by his coach and teammates to be the one with ball in hand to set up attack. As a result of playing on a back-flank of course he’ll get some uncontested ball, his body isn’t ready for the midfield yet. But he’s so clean and smart. The Suns worked him over quite a few times and he bounced back up and got the next ball and delivered it beautifully – time and again. Instead of automatically reaching for the tall poppy syndrome stick, let’s marvel at his outrageous gift in all its glory.

Josh, meanwhile, continued his love affair against the Suns, booting  three goals from 19 disposals, adding six marks and three clearances for good measure.  Going back to 2018, Josh has averaged 21 disposals against the Suns, however, he has always seemed to bob up at the crucial moments. Gold Coast should have realised he is a threat running forward, as he hit the scoreboard in the previous two encounters, however, he was able to feast on the midfield space once again. He was threatening to explode at the end of last season, and while he is probably in the shadow of his little brother, simply having Nick there seems to have driven him to new heights as his career-high averages in total disposals, I50s and marks would attest.


Making It Look Easy



I was impressed with how freely Ginnivan moved in the contest. Opposed to Conor Budarick early, he was able to get off the leash a bit and show a burst of speed I didn’t think he possessed. His confidence is what catches me most about him, however, it could also be his downfall. Ginnivan booted two goals within just minutes, including an outstanding set shot snap in the right pocket, but then decided to snap 40m out straight in front. Consider this some constructive criticism Jack (if you’re a reader) – stick to what got you to the big time. I guarantee you are not a starting forward in the AFL because you can snap the ball from straight in front, use those skills when you have to, not because you have it in the trick bag. He had 10cm on Budarick, yet often felt a propensity to stir the pot, which is an understandable piece of mental warfare, but akin to his “free kick drawing” comments, those type of actions can also be a downfall.. (this applies for everybody) not just Ginnivan. Once Stewart Dew made the switch to Jack Bowes after half time, Ginnivan had four disposals and was unable to hit the scoreboard after that.



Much like Emilio Estevez and Lou Diamond Phillips in their brat pack pomp, Isaac/Izak’s Quaynor and Rankine put on a show for the fans last night. Quaynor was typically efficient, gathering 12 intercepts, 50% more than anyone else on the ground as he harassed and harried his opponents at every given opportunity, this worked extremely well, apart from when he was directly matched to Rankine. The Suns #22 has elevated his game in recent weeks and almost made time stand still when he was in possession. A game-high four goals, three of them spectacular efforts had him the clear match-winner until the Magpies snatched it away late in the final term. The electrifying forward seems to feel more comfortable in the AFL surrounds these days and is thriving having graduated from a few moments impact player to a four quarter contributor. One commentator mused he may provide the most excitement since another incredibly talented Queenslander 20 years ago, if he can replicate those heroics, with or without the handstands as AFL fans we are in for a treat.



The old saying goes that games are won in the third term, that wasn’t necessarily the case in last night’s thriller, probably more the game was lost after half-time through the Suns’ lack of composure in the forward line. Thorough domination by Gold Coast ultimately resulted in 1.5 to 0.1, with at least one out on the full inflating the wastefulness of the Suns forwards. Key forwards, Chol one behind and one OOF, and Casboult two behinds were the chief culprits. Experienced Brandon Ellis also missed a very gettable shot and if it wasn’t for some Rankine magic in making the difficult look easy, they wouldn’t have hit the target at all. The two Suns key forwards who have been a revelation this season, cobbled together after Ben King’s knee collapsed, have been magnificent, but found trouble last night maintaining their spacing patterns and allowed their direct opponents too much time to spoil. The two look alike Magpies in defence – Moore and Murphy – collected a combined 13 marks, four contested and fourteen intercepts as they proved too strong in heavy conditions.



Gold Coast co-captain Jarrod Witts is the consensus AA ruckman at this stage of the season, but certainly didn’t have things all his own way, up against the two-headed Collingwood monster of Cameron & Cox. While still effective in the game, collecting 12 disposals and 30 hit-outs, he recorded his lowest clearance and tackle numbers for the year, two and one respectively, and his hit-outs to advantage percentage was only 20%, the second-lowest of the year after a 15.4% game vs the formidable Reilly O’Brien a few weeks ago. The strong form of the two Collingwood players in limiting Witts’ impact certainly contributed to the ‘clearance congestion’ issue the Suns faced throughout the match and was certainly a tick to Fly McRae and his brains trust for executing a solid plan.

From the Collingwood perspective, both talls were very good contributors to their side’s victory, Cameron, in particular, continued his Indian summer with 15 disposals, six marks, (two contested) and eighteen hit outs. His intercept and contested marking work favourably with the game style that has proved so effective for Collingwood, and it will be interesting to see how the coaches employ Grundy on his return in the coming weeks. New Australian Mason Cox was also prominent in conditions that wouldn’t typically suit him, adding a team-high 21 hit-outs to four marks in a solid backup role.

Clearance congestion:

Gold Coast won the clearance count comfortably, 41-30, led by star midfielder Touk Miller with 10 and the I50 count 54-46, but it appeared every time they gained possession in close, they were under pressure. This appeared a distinct strategy from Collingwood and forced them to win the turnovers by 71-79 despite also gaining 28 more possessions. David Swallow was excellent through the middle and has been a key component to the Suns improved form in recent weeks, while young guns Anderson and Rowell both impressed. The Pies however were cleaner when it counted, and seemed to always have a running option that they could access through slick handballs, this is where the experienced Sidebottom and Adams came to the fore.


Bench Rotations:

We think Dew may have erred with his bench rotations, Suns coming off a six-day break from a tough hard game vs Port, and Tsitas spent roughly an hour and a half on the bench, Oea about an hour. Both had magnificent and compelling back stories and would have been good to see more than 35% and 53% game time. While not watching Tsitas super closely, he was found wanting physically a few times (not unexpected in your first game), so maybe the coaches in a tight game didn’t want to risk him. Another incident where he marked well within kicking distance and dished off a bad handball to Rankine, who averted a disaster with a smart finish, but may have indicated nerves got the better of him. Let’s hope they each get more chances in the coming weeks to find their feet, and importantly give a chop out to an overworked Suns midfield rotation, that included the tireless Miller who was also off under concussion assessment protocols for 20 mins.



Most kids who aspire to be league footballers, or even those whose dreams are cut short many years earlier spent countless hours with a footy in their hands, kicking it inside the house (much to their parent’s chagrin), out in the street, down at the park. This is an essential part of a player’s development, feeling comfortable kicking the ball at different angles, practicing different scenarios. Prior to moving on to the more advanced executions however you must have first mastered the basics, this is where many league players fall down, it’s shocking the number of players who cannot handball or kick effectively with their non-preferred side, and obviously the “practice” of snapping around the corner instead of kicking straight on goal is one I’ll never support if the current malaise continues. It’s all and well for Stevie J to trust this unorthodox practice, he was a magician, and one of the best kicks and handballers in straight lines the game has seen, Jack Ginnivan, 40m out straight in front, snapped from a set shot, not making the distance and the ball trickling out of bounds. Harry McKay is a Coleman Medallist for pete’s sake, I do not care what a failed arts major ‘high performance’ coach tells you, get out on the track and kick 100+ set shots every night until you master it. Now, with that rant out of my system, those who have earned the right to get a little creative with ball in hand, exhibit A, Nick Daicos, running into a wall of Suns defenders, young Daicos turned the ball and executed a perfect torpedo under the arms of the would-be smotherers and pinpointed Ginnivan in congestion. You could say it was a fluke, but his Dad did invent the ‘goalmaster’ specialised footballer, so there’s a fair chance he honed his skills to be able to achieve that wicked outcome.


Commentary corner:

I know we give the commentators a hard time, usually deservedly so, but I’d like to commend their professionalism on this occasion, there’s no way known I could call a game and not pronounce #26 for the Suns as ‘stupid Flanders’ every single time. Also kudos for pairing the delightful Hamish McLachlan with talented and professional match-caller Alister Nicholson, alongside Shaun Burgoyne on special comments, having an actual expert meant less deferring to the Ch7 expert on whining about umpiring decisions and stating only the extremely obvious, Wayne Carey.



The bane of the modern footballer and fan, no one likes to see a player injured, but alas it appears as though two significant injuries were sustained in the dying minutes. Firstly, desperately out of luck Suns defender Conor Budarick appears set for another 12-month stint on the sidelines after rupturing an ACL, while Collingwood AA star Darcy Moore also fell to the sodden turf clutching a knee after a marking contest. The Magpies are hopeful that scans might only indicate the far less serious, but extremely painful bone bruising, let’s cross our collective fingers


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