In one fell swoop, we saw the Magpies extend their current winning streak t ten, and the Power kiss goodbye to their last chance of playing finals in 2022.
And s it was on a Saturday afternoon at the MCG – not quite the traditional timeslot, but pretty damned close, that the 2022 AFL season became just a little bit clearer. On a gorgeous, if a bit chilly, Melbourne day, it was Port jumping out of the gates, only to be reeled in by the Pies to look beaten as Jamie Elliott kicked a goal out of mid-air to start the last quarter.
Credit to Port, they fought back and could have given the result a real shake but for a couple of late misses, but the Pies won their eighth game by under 12 points, and you know what they say about that, right?
Good teams win the close ones.
Let’s jump straight into The Mongrel’s Talking Points.
ARE WE CLEAR ON THE HEAD HIGH TACKLE RULE NOW?
Yeah, nah… not really.
Once again, the tactics of Jack Ginnivan, and those employed against hi, will be questioned by those in AFL circles. He went into his patented move early in the second quarter and was taken high, with the umpire refusing to bite and paying holding the ball against him.
Amazingly, other players not named Ginnivan did similar things during the game and found themselves winning free kicks.
Confused? I reckon Ginnivan is, but the umpires appear not to be confused in the slightest. They see Ginnivan, they blow the whistle and they award a free kick against him. It doesn’t matter if the free kick for him was there or not.
The thing is, I reckon these free kicks are borderline. Ginnivan was pinged twice for holding the ball after performing his dropping at the knees move and I am of the opinion that one of them was there and one of them wasn’t. It forces the umpires to make a decision and they seem to have come to the conclusion that they will not fall into Ginnivan’s efforts at all. Rules and protecting the head be damned!
here’s an idea – how about we just apply the same rules to ALL players, irrespective of their reputations or whether you like them or not? Too simple?
There is no question the kid can flat-out play – three goals in the first half helped the Pies set up their win and despite the opposition in every game continuing to look as though they want to kill him when he gets the footy, he refuses to back down when there is a ball to be won. You have to admire that about the boy.
I liked his post-match interview, as well. Open, honest, and damn it… likeable. You do you, Jack – let the others complain.
SHOULD THE HEAT COME FOR CHARLIE DIXON THIS WEEK?
Yeah, it should, because when you look at this game as a standalone venture, it was just as unimpressive as his third quarter was impressive last week, as he took over the game against the Cats.
It appeared as though Dixon was completely out on his feet in this game, unable to make several contests, giving up on others, and his go-to move for the majority of the game seemed to be to put both hands into the back of his opponent, push, and hope it worked.
It did early, too. Dixon’s only goal came as a result of the technique that would see him give two crucial free kicks away late in the game. For a bloke of his size and power, to be so comprehensively outplayed and outmuscled in marking contests the way he was in this game, is pretty embarrassing. To resort to blatantly pushing either means he is not right physically, or didn’t have it in him to work into the contests properly.
I don’t think anyone is under the illusion that a power forward like him is going to come out and kick a bag every week, or drag down half a dozen contested marks, but you know what you want to see if you’re a Port fan? You just want to see your big man, and main forward target, competing and looking like he is genuinely invested in the game.
Dixon looked anything but invested in this one, and in a contest that was decided by one straight kick, you have to wonder whether this would have been a different result had Dixon actually put his hand up and.. you know, played footy?
ROZEE’S VALUE CONTINUES TO RISE
There has been a bit of talk as to whether Connor Rozee will be part of the All-Australian team this season, and watching him week-to-week, it is becoming increasingly difficult to argue that he should be left out.
After a blinding debut season, the sky seemed to be the limit for Rozee, but injury and being stuck in the forward line seemed to conspire to prevent his ascension. If there is a win for Port in 2022, the move of Rozee into the guts and the subsequent stellar form he has produced would give them a lot of hope for the seasons to come.
He notched 35 touches in this one, marking the 15th straight time he has been 20+ for disposals this season. His impact and creativity with the footy see him finding teammates in space and more recently, he has been more measured with his disposals, avoiding the rushed, turnover-prone hacks forward that hampered his output earlier this season.
Port will now have the cue in the rack for 2022 and may well start to experiment a little with Rozee. The midfield is evidently where he is going to have the biggest impact, but I’d also like to see him drift forward more and isolate in the goal square, using his pace to place whichever unfortunate defender is charged with minding him. Over the past decade, the best midfielders in the game have demonstrated the ability to hit the scoreboard heavily at times. Rozee has 15 goals to his name in 2022, with a bag of four the best return against the Giants, but I don’t think I am alone in thinking he could do that type of thing more often.
With the pressure now off in this season, Rozee should go down with all guns blazing over the last three weeks, and it could be a sight to behold.
THIS WAS JUST A TASTE FROM DE GOEY
We all know what Jordan de Goey is capable of. His best is right up there with THE best in the game, however, actions and consequences of those actions this season have seen him unable to hit the heights we all know he is capable of.
But he turned a corner in this game, and for a while there, it seemed as though we may have been getting set for one of those 30 touches and four goals type of game.
He had 15 touches and two goals in the first half as he attacked the contest like he genuinely meant it. Sometimes, I reckon de Goey has been guilty of coasting by on talent alone, but when he is serious about his footy, few are better.
What would a devoted and committed de Goey mean to this Collingwood side headed into September?
The answer, for any prospective opponents, is trouble.
The Pies have been patient and tolerant of JDG over the years and if there was ever a time to repay the faith, the next two months of footy would be it.
JOSH IS DETERMINED NOT TO BE A FORGOTTEN DAICOS
You’ve got a dad that’s a legend. A younger brother who looks as though he could be a generational player. And then you have Josh Daicos. What is his ceiling? How good could he be?
He is not going to be Cameron Cloke, this bloke.
Oh, good rhyming…
The move back to the wing on a permanent basis this season has brought out the best in Josh Daicos. Or maybe it is because he loves playing with his brother?
Whatever the case, after a bit of a lull as we reached the halfway point of 2022, Josh Daicos has started to produce some of his best footy again, and with 26 touches and a goal in this one, he could count himself as one of the best players wearing black and white again this week.
His run and carry was vital to the Pies’ rebounding from defence, as Daicos often worked back deep into defence and spearheaded Collingwood’s transition into attack.
Last season, Nathan Buckley tried Josh as a forward initially, but he has always looked more settled playing on the wing, and if there was any proof of this required, his form in this game would be all that’s needed.
IS CRAIG MCRAE THE COACH OF THE YEAR?
How many people thought the Pies were going to bottom out this season?
I am pretty happy to state that I was not one of them. Their top six remains one of the best collectives in the league, but it has been the way McRae has introduced new talent into the side and got them to gel so quickly that should be commended. Pat Lipinski has been wonderful in a very understated role in the midfield. He was good in this one, doing plenty without trying to do too much. Then you have the young stars in Ginnivan, Nick Daicos, and players like Ash Johnson coming into the team and fitting in seamlessly… he has done an incredible job.
And the plaudits should start coming his way pretty quickly.
WAS THIS A TURNING POINT FOR XAVIER DUURSMA?
The Power would like to hope so.
He looked very iffy early in the game, missing targets and making poor decisions, but settled toward the end of the first and into the second, linking up well with the Port inside players to provide some good run.
Duursma is one of the big three from the 2018 Draft, and whilst Butters (who was really solid in the last quarter) and Rozee have made the jump into stardom, Duursma has struggled since copping the combination head-knock and knee injury last year in the same instance. I think it was last year – I am sure one of you will correct me if I’m wrong. 🙂
If Port can get this bloke a good, uninterrupted preseason in 2023, he could really make a difference to the run and carry of the team. With word that Karl Amon is as good as gone to Hawthorn, Port would be well-served in retaining Duursma and persevering with him. His upside is huge, and I want to see that bow and arrow celebration a bit more often.
THE HIGHEST COMPLIMENT
When you have Travis Boak come to start on you at the commencement of the game, you know you’ve made it in this league.
Of course, you can get a little overexcited, as Nick Daicos did at the first bounce, giving the former Port captain a nice little forearm to the back that would make Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine proud. Unfortunately for Daicos, the umpire was sneaking a peak in his direction and the result saw Port awarded a free kick and Boak slot a freebie goal.
It wasn’t all Boak’s way, however, with Daicos winning a wonderful one-on-one win later in the game as Boak went forward again.
Daicos is choc-full of confidence and despite losing a contest here and there, backs himself to take and make tough kicks. On the whole, he was a little subdued in this game – 21 touches at 81% efficiency is the type of game most rookies would kill for – but he looked composed even under pressure, and you have to love that about the kid.
Some great moments for Jon Noble in this one. He would stand in front of a truck if it meant it bettered his team.
Good to see Darcy Cameron find a bit of form after a pretty disappointing outing last week. Also interesting to hear Nathan Buckley call out Jeremy Finlayson for not working hard enough defensively on a couple of occasions. Maybe he’ll find a way to blame teammates for his efforts, as he seems to for everything else that goes wrong?
Bit of a shaky start from Trent Bianco, but he more than made up for it by running with the flight. Love to see that from young players – 100% commitment to the cause.
My favourite comment of the day came from Nick Riewoldt who uttered the phrase “it takes courage to expose yourself.”
Obviously, he is speaking from experience there. The internet doesn’t forget, Nick…
Huge efforts in the last quarter from Sam Powell-Pepper. At the start of this year, I remember thinking this was his make-or-break season with Port. He is contracted until next year, but with another up-and-down season, I could have seen him traded.
There is no chance that occurs now. He is way too valuable and has proven his worth to Port.
Pies v Dees next Friday night. The premiers v the streak. I love this – bring it on!
And that might wrap it up for me. As always, massive thanks to our members – without you, there is no us. And if you’re not a member and enjoyed this review, please consider joining and supporting us.