In the end, it was a four-goal game, yet the four points never really seemed in danger for Collingwood. The Magpies got their first win of the season, defeating the old foe, Carlton at the home of football to open Round Three.
The Pies were harder at the ball, better with hand and foot, and did not waste shots at goal.
Here’s The Mongrel’s good, bad and ugly of the game.
At one point it looked as though the Carlton midfielders were picking Crisp out, such was his ability to read the play and drift in to intercept. He took nine marks in defence to add to his 32 disposals as he stamped his defensive presence on the game.
Crisp’s ability to zone off and play the role that players such as Alex Rance and Jake Lever have been unable to successfully pull off this season was a wonderful effort.
Steele had a huge first quarter, completely breaking the tag of Ed Curnow in no uncertain terms. Curnow is renowned for his endurance, but Sidebottom knows the right spots to be, and the right times to be there. He was Curnow’s master in the first quarter, with 16 touches.
Sidebottom finished the game with 35 touches and kicked a vital goal just minutes after a Charlie Curnow miss. If the roles are reversed, and Sidebottom misses, it’s game on, but the reigning Pies’ B&F slotted it and put distance between the teams once more.
Levi Casboult’s third quarter
After a disastrous second term by his team, Casboult gave the Blues a bit of hope in the third, kicking three goals and having the chance at a fourth on the siren.
Levi showed both his best, with those three goals, and his worst early in the quarter with a dropped uncontested mark that killed a Blues rebound out of defence.
It’s not the ruck work that impressed me most. It was the second efforts from Grundy, and his beautiful clean hands when he is a link in a chain.
Grundy and Kreuzer split the ruck contests, but I loved the way he followed up his own work and got physical when required. Gone are the days when ruckmen contested the ruck and stood around waiting for more aerial work. He laid seven tackles; only two other players had more for the game.
Bobbing up and snagging five goals is something that’ll make people take notice. The Pies went in without their top three goal kickers from last season (Jamie Elliott, Darcy Moore and Alex Fasolo) but Thomas filled the void admirably to notch his career-high.
He found the ball in the tightest of spaces to kick goals in general play, and didn’t miss all day. Thomas will be a dangerous component of the Collingwood forward line in the weeks to come, particularly as a third or fourth option when some of the more established names return.
The Patrick Cripps chase
With only four minutes of game time off the clock, Sam Murray grabbed the ball and tucked it under his arm. He took off from half back at full speed. Patrick Cripps could not go with him, and he didn’t try.
Cale Hooker couldn’t go with Buddy Franklin, but he tried.
Mark McVeigh couldn’t go with Buddy Franklin, but he tried.
Patrick Cripps couldn’t go with Sam Murray… so why try?
All it takes is a misstep or a mistimed bounce and you’re back in the contest. Cripps worked very hard all day, except for that one moment. He finished with 26 touches, but not chasing is a cardinal sin. Blues fans will forgive him, of course, but that can’t be a regular occurrence. Players will see it and take him on.
The Blues’ Second Quarter
Goalless quarters were something the Carlton AFLW team mastered during the season just past. Carlton had one of their own tonight.
There was little movement inside 50, too many wayward kicks into their attacking zone, and not enough pressure to keep the ball in there. It’s not that the Pies were incredible as a defensive unit – the Blues have to take responsibility for their terrible disposal and inability to find a target.
Two more sling tackles
Please, can we get this rule right? If we're going to be penalising players for what is a purefootball-act, make sure they're actually doing something wrong.
Steele Sidebottom will apparently be put under scrutiny for a sling tackle on Zac Fisher. Fisher got the kick away despite Sidebottom tackling him, as he was falling to the ground. What was Sidebottom supposed to do; let him go? Allow him to kick it?
Remember when the tackler’s responsibility was to tackle his opponent to the ground to prevent him disposing of the ball? That was his duty of care TO HIS TEAM! And it was the duty of care of the player with the ball not to get tackled. Times have changed…
The second dangerous tackle was against Matt Scharenberg. Seriously, I’ve tackled my kids harder than this to stop them stealing the last piece of Snack Chocolate. Umpires, please stop guessing with this kind of stuff!
Jeremy Howe v Charlie Curnow to start the game was wonderful. Howe got Jeremy Cameron last week, so it appears the marquee match ups may be something we can look forward to on a regular basis.
Speaking of Charlie, how many times was he either worked under the ball, or completely misjudged the flight of it? He found himself out of the contest before it started several times tonight. He ended up taking a few marks later in the game, but early on, he was unable to affect many contests due to poor positioning. Curnow was one of few winners on the night for the Blues, but had he read the flight of the ball better, he may have been the difference maker.
Mason Cox was incredibly unlucky not to receive a free kick for arm chopping early on. It was an obvious decision that was inexplicably let go.
Grundy’s tap to Taylor Adams set up a magnificent centre-break, resulting in a goal to Will Hoskin-Elliott. Perfect ruck work and roving by that combination.
Liam Jones looked like an elite defender again early in the game. It didn’t last.
Adam Treloar putting on the jets is brilliant to see.
Patrick Cripps won a beautiful ball at half back in a contest where he was vastly outnumbered. Reaching out and backhanding it to himself, and following up his own work probably saved the Blues a scoring shot.
Really liked Nathan Buckley’s strategy of throwing a smaller, quicker player to the goal square. It worked with both Sidebottom and Treloar. Liam Jones couldn’t go with them, and in one case, Sidebottom marked overhead against him. If Jones is a true key defender, that contest should’ve been killed. Bucks exploited a defender starting to doubt himself. Good coaching!
Hoskin-Elliott’s fifteen metre pass from 50 out to 35 out was an unforgivable lapse by Carlton’s defence. No way should he have received that ball without being pressured.
Kade Simpson’s attack on the balk to start the third quarter was wonderful.
Was that almost a blind turn from Pendlebury to set up Josh Thomas’ fourth goal?
So how did Sidebottom make space inside fifty after delivering the ball to a teammate at fifty? He ran forward around the man on the mark, got an inch or two of space and took a mark against Liam Jones. Should not have happened. Too many holes like this in the Blues defensive web. It was the second mark inside 50 he took with Jones as his direct opponent.
When will players start forcing Kade Simpson onto his right foot? He's only played 289 games! He’s running onto his right – you know he’s going to double back onto his left, yet players over-commit every time.
Loved Brodie Grundy’s screamer on the wing. A big man clunking a big mark doesn’t happen often enough for my liking. Gary Dempsey would be proud.
Charlie Curnow’s 50 metre goal came directly from a Jeremy Howe dropped mark. He was unopposed when he spilt it – you don’t see that happen often, but it shows what happens when you do. Nice opportunistic goal from Curnow.
Had Casboult converted on the three quarter time siren we may have seen a different last quarter.
Halfway through the last quarter, the teams had taken 18 shots apiece at goal, yet the Pies looked vastly superior. Four goals flattered the Blues.