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Footyology countdown: Same coach, same squad, same Pies?

GWS recruit Will Hoskin-Elliott was at least one positive in yet another disappointing year for Collingwood in 2017. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Footyology countdown: Same coach, same squad, same Pies?

Rohan Connolly    

2017 record: 9 wins, 12 losses, 1 draw (13th)
List age ranking (oldest to youngest): 5th
List experience ranking (most to fewest games): 3rd
Footyology draw ranking (easiest to hardest): 3rd

Sam Murray (Sydney), Jaidyn Stephenson (Eastern Ranges), Nathan Murphy (Sandringham Dragons), Tyler Brown (Eastern Ranges), Flynn Appleby (GWV Rebels), Brody Mihocek (Port Melbourne), Jack Madgen (Delta State University, USA)

Lachie Keeffe (delisted/GWS), Jesse White (retired), Liam Mackie (delisted), Mitch McCarthy (delisted), Henry Schade (delisted), Ben Sinclair (retired), Jackson Ramsay (delisted)

B: Brayden Maynard, Lynden Dunn, Tyson Goldsack
HB:Jeremy Howe, Darcy Moore, Jack Crisp
C: Steele Sidebottom, Adam Treloar, Daniel Wells
HF: Will Hoskin-Elliott, Ben Reid, Travis Varcoe
F: Alex Fasolo, Mason Cox, Jamie Elliott
Foll: Brodie Grundy, Scott Pendlebury, Taylor Adams
Inter: Jordan De Goey, Tom Phillips, Tom Langdon, Levi Greenwood
Emerg: Matt Scharenberg, Josh Thomas, Tim Broomhead

Ahh, the conundrum that is Collingwood. So handy on paper, so disappointing in reality.

If you detect a little jaded cynicism in that comment, you’re spot on. Footyology is just one of a number of pundits who’ve been burned badly by the Pies these past couple of years, our predictions of top four in 2016 and at least a finals berth last season coming badly unstuck.

Third time lucky? Perhaps, but we’re not taking another gamble. Particularly not seeing as (from our perspective) the Magpies don’t appear to have sorted out their forward line issues.

Yes, the Pies have a glut of midfield talent. But we’re worried nonetheless by the sending of Darcy Moore to the backline, and potential key forwards in Ben Reid and Mason Cox, one who has despite handy “swingman” form has spent the bulk of a career in the backline, and the other a pinch-hitting ruckman still in some respects learning the game.

That’s in addition to two very good but injury and health issue plagued smaller forwards in Jamie Elliott and Alex Fasolo. There’s a lot of “ifs” about that whole quartet. And a bottom line that a side good enough to finish 2017 ranked No.1 for disposals and contested possession should be ranking a lot higher than 11th for points scored.

Champion Data have drilled down on a couple of significant statistics about Collingwood’s inefficiency in both the forward line and midfield.

Teams which win the inside 50 count also win the game on average 71 per cent of the time. But in the Pies’ case, that figure was just 54 per cent last season, a dismal ranking of 14th.

In midfield, Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom, Adam Treloar and Taylor Adams represent a dream on-ball set-up, and Daniel Wells (fitness permitting) valuable run and ball use. But while they’ve proved adept at winning the hard balls, the Pies, significantly, ranked only 15th last season on the rankings for loose ball gets.

In short, there’s not enough possession being won in the sort of space required to use it damagingly. And do the Pies have enough skilful users of the football? It’s debatable.

Not that there aren’t upsides as a reprieved coach Nathan Buckley goes about getting Collingwood into a finals series for the first time in five attempts.

One is an inherent competitiveness which meant last season the Pies, whilst only winning nine games and drawing another, nonetheless suffered only two defeats by more than 30 points among a dozen losses.

The other is a very handy draw, the third-best in the competition according to Footyology’s analysis last November.

Collingwood play only two finalists from last year twice (Essendon and Richmond), have only five road trips, and just one to Perth, and get 14 games on the MCG, including five of the first six.

Then again, those first half-dozen opponents include Hawthorn, GWS, Adelaide, Essendon and Richmond. That’s a challenging run to say the least, one which might give us a very early pointer to whether 2018 is going to be yet another of those years for the Pies.

11th. Plenty of cream in the middle for Collingwood, not so much excitement about the foundations or decorations on this cake, though.

THE LADDER SO FAR (click on team to read)

  1. Grew up in essendon as a pie fan in the 50s and 60s.
    outnumbered 10 /1 by bomber fans at school didnt bother me.
    Ive grown up used to being let down at the pointy end of a season.
    In fact living with defeat and disappointment is part of being a pie fan.
    So far this year ive seen 1 jlt game.was not impressed.
    All the problems of yrs gone by were still rife.
    what have they been working on over summer?it sure wasnt hand or foot skills.
    backhalf kicking to opponents not a team mate.handballs over used until its turned over.
    fwds missing from right in front and the crabcrawl method via boundary of attacking.
    ive got them finishing anywhere from 7th to 14th.need some of the young kids to take over from
    old blokes who have been serviceable but are ready to be superceded

  2. I agree. The Pies look great on paper. Reality is somewhat different.
    The Pies midfield are mostly in the mold of Dane Swan – ie hard nuts who run hard but kick up and under kicks in a league where precision counts. Treloar & Adams just cant hit targets their reputations say they should. 32yo? Daniel Wells is perhaps the only match winner on the list now that Pendles has lost a yard.
    Lynden Dunne is easily the Pies toughest defender but as much as I love him, he cant attack.
    The shogun warrior – Brodie Grundy isnt damaging.
    The list is filled with youngsters easily pushed off the ball – from Langdon to Moore.
    Fasolo goes missing’
    Jamie Elliot is legit though – if he plays.
    I love Big Cox and wish him all the best – but he wont be getting the kind of service Trump got from Stormy Daniels
    The coach is unimaginative and well out of his depth.
    The recruiting department is an old boys club with the ideas of yesterday.
    Compare the Pies structure to the Blues and you can see the Blues have a plan from top to bottom.
    The Pies are a disaster.

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