Ablett AFL record but Magpies bury Suns
An AFL record 53-possession haul was little consolation for Gold Coast skipper Gary Ablett as Collingwood thrashed the Suns by 97 points at the MCG on Sunday.
The Magpies won 23.11 (149) to 7.10 (52), their seventh straight victory leaving them fourth, but trailing top-placed West Coast on percentage only.
The Suns are the only winless side.
The one Collingwood concern was a knee injury to midfield star Scott Pendlebury, who was subbed out at halftime, although it was believed to be minor.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley had feared his players might expect an easy day and drop their guard.
But a string of upsets earlier in the round helped.
“In a funny way the results of the weekend probably steeled our resolve,” Buckley said.
The Magpies’ discipline and class proved far too much for the Suns, who were thrashed in the midfield, where Ablett played a lone hand.
His 53 touches equalled the record set by Greg Williams for Sydney in 1989.
Buckley was more than happy with the contribution of Ablett’s main opponent Dale Thomas, whose 32 disposals included three goals and a big hand in several others.
Buckley also noted Thomas had 20 contested possessions to Ablett’s 19 and 11 clearances to Ablett’s four, two categories the Magpies dominated.
“From that aspect, we thought the role that we asked Daisy to play was fulfilled,” Buckley said.
Thomas had great support.
Dayne Beams (32 disposals, seven clearances) and Alan Didak (29 disposals, two goals) were key contributors, particularly when the Magpies broke the game open with six goals in a second-quarter burst.
A 45-point halftime cushion allowed Collingwood to exercise caution by subbing out Pendlebury, who had 17 first-half touches despite the knock which affected his knee in the first term.
Travis Cloke made a welcome return to aerial form, with nine marks, although only kicked 3.4 and two shots out of bounds.
Ablett took no joy in his individual feat.
“It doesn’t mean too much when you lose by 100 points,” he said.
Suns coach Guy McKenna was not too disheartened.
“You’re probably going to laugh at this, but we actually thought our effort was okay,” McKenna said.
“I just think we got blown out of the park by a very good side.”
He would have appreciated more ball-winning support for Ablett, although young speedster Harley Bennell won his share.
Just seven touches from experienced midfielder Michael Rischitelli did not help, although McKenna said he was carrying an ankle injury.
But he said some of the team’s younger midfielders had contributed more earlier in the season when Ablett and Rischitelli were out injured.
“I’m frustrated, if you like, to think now that they’re back, how come (the younger players) are not doing it?” McKenna said.© AAP 2013