Carlton were gallant, but Collingwood despatched the old enemy at the MCG by 20 points in a sometimes-heated clash at the home of football.
Here’s The Mongrel’s good, bad and ugly.
The mid-sized forwards
The Pies are onto something special here. Will Hoskin-Elliott has always been a talent. Magnificent overhead, he was a star back in his GWS days, if a little inconsistent. Nathan Buckley saw plenty in him, and at Collingwood, he is repaying the faith.
Hoskin-Elliott is the only bloke in the league who has kicked a goal in every game this season. In a league full of stars, he has been ultra-consistent.
And running around next to him is the favourite for the NAB Rising Star award this season, Jaidyn Stephenson. Between them today, they had six goals, and when the teams combine for 20 goals, that’s a decent chunk of scoring from two less than traditional forwards.
Between the two, they had 38 of Collingwood’s 79 points – not Tony Lockett-like numbers, but in the modern game, very, very effective. Add Jordan De Goey to the mix when he drifts forward and these blokes running around the big target of Mason Cox are a nightmare to deal with.
Cripps v Pendlebury
This is something that seems to be happening a little more often this season – two superstars of the game going head to head. We’ve seen Ablett and Dusty in recent weeks, and now Pendlebury and Cripps again.
They fought to a draw in the first half, with Cripps bullying his way to 13 disposals (eight contested) and Pendles picking up 14 with four contested. Both players had two clearances each.
In the second half, Cripps probably edged in front of the Collingwood captain if we're talking individual heroics. Though they now played wider of each other, they still matched up consistently at stoppages. Cripps finished with 29 disposals and 20 contested possessions. Pendles had 29 touches as well with nine contested touches.
It was probably Cripps’ career high three goals that edged him in front of Pendles for the game in their individual battle, but you have to ask yourself – you want to win the battle, or do you want to win the war. Cripps may have had this win, but the overall battle belonged to Pendlebury, with his Pies running out winners. Then you can talk about the quality of the disposals as well. For mine, there are no better quality touches in a game than those Pendlebury gets. He is all class.
Yes, the kid can play.
It’s not often you see someone consistently get the better of Jeremy Howe in the air, but Curnow was able to do just that through the first two and a half quarters, before Howe was moved off him. Both he and his brother are renowned for having huge aerobic capacity, and it was on display today as Charlie worked his backside off up the ground and sprinted back again. I don’t think Howe was switched off him due to being beaten – I think Charlie was blowing him up!
Curnow re-signed during the week, and Carlton fans were rapt. They’d be even more excited today after watching him take a couple of mark of the year contenders, the second of which drew comparisons to the great Alex Jesaulenko, himself!
Curnow is 21 years old, a baby by AFL standards, but a foetus by key forward standards. 21 year olds don’t do what he was doing today. Well, not many do. He had 19 disposals, five contested marks, and slotted three goals to give Blues supporters something to get very, very excited about. With Curnow patrolling the forward line, Carlton has something it has seldom had for the past few years – hope.
Unsurprisingly, he was in the ‘good’ section when these two met in Round Two as well. I thought he was the sort of player who flew under the radar a bit back then, and I still think he does now.
Crisp’s long kicking and ability to run and carry were prominent all game, and one thing you won’t really see pointed out too much – he had five direct goal assists for the game. Yep, a half back flanker running forward and directly assisting on goals five times. That is a starring performance.
He had 32 touches and nine marks the last time these two teams met. By that standard he looks a little more subdued on the stat sheet. 22 disposals and eight marks today, but hi ball use was fantastic. Five goal assists – out of 11 goals. Take a bow, Jack Crisp.
Cards on the table, I have not been impressed with Carlton’s big off-season pick up this season. Admittedly, injuries seem to have stifled any growth he would have had this season, and he has battled just to make up the numbers on several occasions, but today, he competed, and he did it with some intent.
Without doing any research (overrated anyway… stupid research) I think this was his best game in the navy blue. I still don’t think he has settled yet, and he will be better after another preseason, but from what I saw today, he is on the way to being a solid midfield contributor. 21 touches, at 81%, with 10 of them contested is a decent day out, and a sign that things are looking up.
Another unsung player, which is strange because he came to Collingwood with such a big reputation.
He is being used a little differently this year. In a midfield boasting the likes of Treloar, Sidebottom, Pendlebury and De Goey, Adams has struggled to find meaningful minutes in the guts, but his work across half back and at stoppages around the ground has been first class in recent times.
He had 24 disposals today in a balanced display across four quarters with his only real blemish being a push in the back to Cripps that resulted in a late goal.
If Buckley has Adams accepting and embracing a lesser role as part of the Magpie midfield, it is another feather in the coach’s cap, and another string Collingwood can pull when they’re in need of some midfield grunt.
Jeremy Howe bounces back
Yes, I wrote before that Charlie Curnow had the better of him when the two were matched up, but hear me out.
How often do you see a guy get beaten, and he just fades off, maybe getting a few touches here or there, but his head hangs low for the rest of the day? I’ve seen it happen a fair bit over my many years, but it didn’t happen today. Howe bounced back in a big way.
He finished the game with 21 touches, a team-high nine marks, and 13 intercept possessions. His efforts early in the last quarter as he cut off repeated Carlton thrusts as easily as Angela Brodo cut off the intended thrusts of my mate Joe Ganino when we were in school, were excellent.
Howe also hit his target 91% of the time with those 21 touches. He is no downhill skier, and he proved that today.
Kreuzer goes down
The run of bad luck continues for Kreuzer. He looked to be more than a match for Brodie Grundy in the first quarter and a half. He was moving well, he was making the play, getting his hands on the ball at ground level, and snuck forward to kick a goal.
Then it happened.
A quick roll of the ankle, and Kreuzer’s day was all but done. He tried to come back on with some extra strapping, but after half time, he did not reappear. What strikes me as particularly sad is that Brodie Grundy is fast becoming the ruckman that Kreuzer was meant to be. He is athletic, has a huge tank, and competes at all times. Today, Kreuzer may have been looking across as at a guy who may become that which he saw in himself. And it may have inspired him.
Sadly, all the inspiration in the world can’t help you when your body doesn’t cooperate, and whilst Grundy ran around collecting disposals in the second half, Kreuzer sat on the bench.
Betrayed by his body.
Umpires mic’d up
OK, I get that having their high-pitched voices on the telecast is good for the explanation of free kicks and so on, but how annoying were they when there was a push and shove in the contest today?
Here’s a few direct quotes.
“Mason… Mason… back off. Don’t get reported.”
Yes, sage advice for Mason Cox, there. He definitely didn’t want to get reported for holding Dale Thomas’ jumper as Daisy pushed him. Or there was the following pearler.
“Walk away… I’ll pay a free kick if you want me to.”
Yes, that’s exactly what the players want – for you to pay a free kick against them.
Look, there is a strong movement to respect umpires and blah, blah, blah… I get it, but if there is a melee, and you have forty blokes pushing and shoving at half time, when the umpires’ hands are tied (they can’t pay a free kick) just shut up and let the boys sort it out. They don’t need eight little blokes squeaking in their ears, telling them to stop it.
And that’s my rant for the day.
My favourite part of the reviews… where I can just stick random stuff…
What is going on with Liam Jones? We have good Liam, who took TEN intercept marks today, and we have Bad Liam, who completely lost his direct opponent a couple of times today leading to Magpie goals. The problem here is that you never get one or the other – you always get both. There are times when he looks like he has the world at his feet, and other times he looks like he will trip over it and break his, or someone else’s leg.
Steele Sidebottom… how does he do it? Conspicuous by his early absence, he ended up with 31 touches, a game-high eight clearances and 12 contested disposals. He had Ed Curnow running around with him for a lot of the day – no slouch in the negating roles, and if you can get have a look at the last five minutes, Ed is absolutely spent. Steele runs all day and just DOES. NOT. STOP!
Tom Phillips seemed to be back to his best. He had the ball on a string in the second quarter, and had 17 touches to lead all players at half time.
How great was it to see Jack Silvagni tackle Josh Daicos. You could close your eyes, listen to the call and be transported back to the glory days for a second or two…
What a pity Silvagni’s first couple of touches were absolute clangers.
Wondering whether Tom Langdon’s nickname will now be ‘Jerker’?
Watching Sam Rowe work up the ground early on, and fumbling everything he touched made me wonder what the hell Bolton was thinking. If anyone looked like a defender who should only ever punch the ball away, it was Rowe early on. Of course, as soon as Kreuzer went down, he pushed hard forward and looked like he enjoyed being off the leash. Even when matched up on Grundy for half the game, he just couldn’t go with him around the ground.
Rowe was completely ripped off in the marking contest where it was awarded to Paddy Cripps. That mark was his!
You can see why Buckley was so determined to persevere with Mason Cox. One of those marks he clunked in the second quarter was a ripping effort with both Jones and Weitering contesting with him.
One thing that annoys me – a bloke takes a mark, and the umpire calls for the free kick TO him. Pay the mark! Happened to Hoskin-Elliott today early, and then to Charlie Curnow when he took a one-hander in the goal square. Again, pay the mark, not the free kick.
Well done Matty Scharenberg for dropping in the hole courageously in the second quarter, and well done to Jarrod Garlett for making him think twice about doing it again with a big collision.
One thing I just remembered about the Pendlebury-Cripps match up. If Pendles doesn’t get 30 touches these days, it doesn’t matter. He has plenty of help around who are more than capable of racking up those sorts of numbers. What about Carlton? Who have they got if Cripps doesn’t get 30?
Here’s a bit of food for thought – agree or disagree? Daisy Thomas’ hit on Levi Greenwood was worse than Jeremy Cameron’s effort on Harris Andrews. Why? Cameron had a play on the ball and took his eyes off it at the last moment and braced. Daisy had no intention but to hit Greenwood and he did, and concussed him. If they’re serious, they should be punishing the intent, not the outcome. The Cameron hit was spectacular, and looked harrowing. The Thomas hit was clinical and deliberate. I reckon that’s worse.
Play of the game – Grundy’s tap to Pendles on the boundary. Pendles sees the tackle coming, handballs in front of him, gets taken high and goes back and slots it from the boundary. A captain’s goal.
Treloar will get the glory of the running goal, but the gutsy inboard kick of Pendlebury to Grundy to get the ball moving into the open was a thing of beauty in the third quarter.
Who didn’t see Grundy taking the ball out of the ruck against Silvagni coming a mile off?
Loved Pendlebury’s vision to start the last with the searching handball out wide to Crisp. Pendles got the over-the-head handball from Maynard and fed Crisp in motion. He went long and de Goey outmarked Jones and goaled.
The workrate of Grundy was on full display in the last quarter. One moment he was contesting at half back, and then he is bobbing up in the goal square as the forward target. Amazing running capacity.
Interesting to hear Nick Riewoldt bury Daisy Thomas on commentary about his hit on Greenwood earlier.
Thought for sure, as did most, that Treloar was in big trouble when he clutched at his hamstrings on the boundary. Anyone who has been trying to run flat out whilst off-balance will know that it’s that position where hammies go twang. Turns out he just cramped… very lucky.
EDIT - 24 hours later, and initial fears were true. Treloar out for the year with two hamstring injuries.
Josh Thomas has had better days this season. I thought I counted him caught holding the ball three times today yet the stats say two frees against. Either me, or Champion Data are incorrect and given I give everything I do away for free, and they charge up the backside, I think you should side with me.