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Match of the Day: Pies push hard, but Giants’ polish prevails

A disappointed Adam Treloar and his Magpie teammates walk from the MCG after a narrow loss to GWS on Saturday. Photo: AFL MEDIA

Match of the Day: Pies push hard, but Giants’ polish prevails

Rohan Connolly    

This was a really good effort from Collingwood, the Magpies pushing Greater Western Sydney literally until the last minute of the game.

Their pressure always made life uncomfortable for a more-skilled outfit. They led several times, and as late as midway through the final term.

Ultimately, though, the bottom line remained the same as in last week’s far less distinguished performance against Hawthorn. Defeat. And the difference, essentially, that in the capacity of either side to perform the fundamentals more frequently under pressure.

The Giants will be happy enough to come away with a win at a venue that hasn’t been friendly to them. Collingwood? Well, the Pies couldn’t be faulted for commitment. What’s more, they did it having lost a key forward in Ben Reid pre-game, another small forward in Tim Broomhead in the first term, and Darcy Moore by half-time.

The flaws which ultimately cost the Pies victory aren’t those which can be rectified by a positional tweak here or there. They’re about class. And sadly, most of their classiest remain injured and out of action.

The desperation was perhaps epitomised by the shocking injury to Broomhead, who’d managed to wrap his leg around a goalpost desperately attempting to get boot to ball from a long Tom Phillips kick which bounced through anyway.

It was gruesome viewing on the replay, as was the ankle injury to GWS star Tom Scully at the end of the quarter, both players taken to hospital in separate ambulances.

Collingwood hit this game with everything, and Phillips’ goal, which followed one to Brodie Grundy, put them in front. They led by even more after Moore brilliantly smothered at attempted centre from Lachie Whitfield and raced into an open goal.

The longer it went, though, the more the difference in the cleanness of either side with ball told, the Giants capitalising on various Collingwood turnovers and wasted chances with three of the opening term’s last four goals.

That polish was exemplified in Dylan Shiel’s early work, hustle and bustle and beautiful disposal in equal measures, and into the second quarter, by Stephen Coniglio.

It was Coniglio whose “impossible” snap from hard up against a forward pocket boundary line, followed by a contentious goal from Harry Himmelberg after what appeared a mark to the Pies’ Jack Crisp wasn’t paid, gave GWS a 17-point lead an lent a general air of resignation among the crowd.

Fortunately for the home side, not, however, among the players. Brodie Grundy was terrific in the ruck, Phillips had a huge second term, as did Tom Langdon, seemingly everywhere off half-back. And Matthew Scharenberg was also pleasingly busy.

Josh Thomas burst through a clutch of defenders to narrow the gap. Adam Treloar, playing more of a forward role than his usual brief, snapped truly with his first kick of the day, and the difference was less than a kick.

Not for the first time, the Giants were also more than capable of proving their own worst enemy.

Shortly before half-time, everyone with a Record would have been marking down a goal to Himmelberg as the GWS forward strolled in with nary a Magpie in sight and teammates flanking him left and right.

For some reason, rather than take the easy shot 20 metres out on a very slight angle, Himmelberg decided to pop a handball across goal to Josh Kelly. It went behind him, a scramble ensued, and Collingwood got out of jail.

That was an escape looking a real turning point once the Pies had added the first two goals of the second half, too, to Travis Varcoe and Treloar again.

They’d have to do it without Moore, though, who wouldn’t return after a hamstring strain. And after getting a little too “Hollywood” for their own good, GWS suddenly banged on three goals in five minutes.

Those swings and roundabouts continued right until the finish. Another moment of attempted Giants “cuteness” let Jack Crisp in early in the last term and the Pies were in front once again. James Aish converted a free kick and the Pies now led by 11.

But class would eventually prevail, GWS from there booting five of the last six goals of the evening. Coniglio bobbed up with a couple in quick succession. Zac Langdon extended the lead.

Lachie Whitfield and Jeremy Cameron, well held by Jeremy Howe all day sealed it, Collingwood’s last gasps again coming unstuck via another turnover from Thomas, and some not-quite-sure-enough ball-handling from Treloar.

The Giants’ biggest and best stood up when they had to. There were further plusses, newcomer Jeremy Finlayson outstanding in defence, Adam Tomlinson also solid. For GWS, without Toby Greene, having lost Scully, that enviable depth of talent certainly proved a factor.

Collingwood, for its part, could well end up winning more games than it loses this season with similar performances. But to get over the line against a team as good as the Giants, everything needs to go right. And that means nailing your chances and hitting your targets more often than the Pies seem capable of right now.

COLLINGWOOD 3.2 5.3 9.7 12.7 (79)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 4.1 6.2 10.2 15.5 (95)
GOALS – Collingwood: Grundy 2, Treloar 2, Aish, Varcoe, Phillips, Thomas, Crisp, Moore, Hoskin-Elliott, Crocker. GWS: Coniglio 3, Cameron 3, Langdon 2, Scully, Tomlinson, Whitfield, Kelly, De Boer, Himmelberg, Lloyd.
BEST – Collingwood: Grundy, Phillips, Howe, Pendlebury, Sidebottom, Crisp, Langdon. GWS: Coniglio, Ward, Shiel, Whitfield, Tomlinson, Finlayson.
INJURIES – Collingwood: Broomhead (broken leg), Moore (hamstring), Reid (hip) replaced in selection side by Broomhead. GWS: Scully (fractured ankle), Greene (hamstring tightness) replaced in selected side by Corr.
Umpires: Stevic, Deboy, Gavine
Crowd: 30,941 at the MCG

1 Comment
    and away we go
    1 min in adams is too slow followed up with a crisp turnover and goal to GWS
    crisp follows it up with a poor shot at goal then a turnover in the guts.
    is he playing mid?
    Grundy gets a free and goals from 40.
    then phillips in an attempt to hit crocker on the tit kicks it over his head and it
    somehow rolls thru for a goal.
    i went for a celebratory piss and return to see broomy has broke his leg.
    10 mins delay then gws goal from the bounce.
    games been going ten minutes its 3 goals each
    already a higher score than most aflw games

    qtr time we trail 25 20..scully broke his leg too to even up the bench
    our fwds have no hope the way we kick to them

    darcy is playing fwd and back and ruck has one goal

    berg has been ok every treloar possesion has been a turnover

    2nd qtr
    first 5 min highlight was 2 video reviews one for out on full
    and one to see if a gws fluke goal was ok it was

    we go fwd most of the qtr
    langdon berg phillips crisp get plenty of the ball

    if only they could kick!!!
    7 million bucks worth of players with no hand or foot skills

    treloar has one kick and it was a fluke goal

    sidey has given away frees kicked out on full and turned it over on his left.
    we fumble in the bouncedowns
    but our intensity is keeping us in it.

    in fact late in the qtr gws copied our wastefulness in front of goal.
    skills are hurting us..need more than just grunt.

    umps are their usual wierd
    crisp marked and then it was punched out of his hands
    most times its a mark and 50 this time it was play on and an easy gws goal

    dunn marked and was tackled late should have been 50
    no 50 siren went

    probably the 100th qtr of bucks reign where we dominate play but cant score

    i need a beer

    5 pts down at the half
    sounds silly but we should be in front

    3rd qtr
    in a word its ugly
    adams is caught every time he gets it too slow
    our passes either by hand or foot take 10 secs to get there giving gws time to spoil
    pendles is off his feed.just cant get a clean posy

    treloar to full fwd so we bomb it still and patton marks
    they get 2 goals from skillful shit we can only dream about

    varcoe is having a crack but should never ever kick with his left again

    crocker is a target.treloar is a fwd chance
    we are a point down and im a chance of being too pissed
    to write up the last qtr

    we get 2 goals early and kick clear
    then 2 minutes of coniglio making langdon look stupid
    not hard really and they get lead back

    if we had the skills gws have combined with the intensity we do have
    we would win flags
    7 yrs wasted under bucks
    no skill no flags no finals even

    if i hear bucks say one more time that we won the inside 50s so it proves his plan is working
    i will spew up

    no such thing as an honorable loss
    that was dishonorable

    game plan doesnt include skill its not a plan
    pendles days in center look past him
    adams just wastes it if he gets it
    whats the point in grundy winning the taps?

    we were 2 down after half time..really missed darcy
    as we kept bombing fwd and they had the talls

    bring on the bloos i say in my drunken stupor

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