Four things that can stop Collingwood winning

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    Luke Ball marks for Collingwood

    Luke Ball of the Magpies marks the ball in front of Sean Dempster of the Saints during the AFL Round 21 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Collingwood Magpies at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne. Slattery Images.

    Another week, another win for the ladder-leading Mapgies. Collingwood has lost just two matches since round eleven last year, both by a mere three points. The Mapgies of 2011 have been lauded by many as the one of the greatest teams of all time.

    Many believe it to be a formality that the Pies will draw level with Carlton and Essendon this year on sixteen VFL/AFL premierships each.

    Can anything stop Collingwood’s relentless march towards back-to-back flags?

    You bet. Despite the Magpies being deserved favourites to win this year’s premiership, there are a few concerns which loom on the horizon for the all-conquering Mapgies.

    Memo Mick Malthouse: these are the four hurdles that stand between your club and the sweet taste of premiership glory this year.

    Buddy’s Big Day Out

    On his day, Hawthorn’s Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin is the most destructive player in the competition, and has the ability to turn any match Hawthorn’s way almost singlehandedly. Add to the mix fellow dynamic forward Cyril Rioli and it becomes clear that the Hawks have the forward line guns to upset the reigning premiers.

    Should the Hawks and Mapgies meet during the finals, the Collingwood defenders will be hoping that Buddy and Cyril are not at their best.

    Injuries and Suspensions

    Collingwood has undoubtedly the deepest list in the AFL, but the Magpies brains trust will still be mindful of the significant number of key players on the sidelines as the finals action draws closer.

    The Magpies were missing first choice players Heath Shaw (suspended), Leon Davis (injured), Nick Maxwell (injured), Chris Dawes (injured), Sharrod Wellingham (injured) and Ben Johnson (injured) from their match against Brisbane on Saturday night.

    Although the Collingwood list runs deep, the unsettled Collingwood line-up could prove problematic and unsettling at the pointy end of the season.

    Geelong’s Quest for Revenge

    The Cats are the only team to defeat the Magpies this year, and are entrenched in second spot on the ladder behind the Magpies.

    The Cats appear to be gaining pace as the season progresses and will fancy themselves against the Magpies. Having been hammered in last year’s preliminary final by the Mapgies, the Cats will be very keen to seek retribution this season.

    Interestingly, the two top sides play each other in the final round of this season. Exactly how both sides approach this match remains to be seen. Will both teams go all out in pursuit of victory and bragging rights, or keep a little bit extra in the tank for finals?


    Surely hearing how good you are day-in and day-out must begin to affect the headspace of the Collingwood players? The Magpies are poised to end the home and away season with the best percentage of any VFL/AFL side of the past 100 years.

    This raises the question – could the biggest risk of all to Collingwood’s 2011 premiership hopes be the players themselves? If they begin to believe their own hype, the club may become susceptible to an embarrassing finals exit.

    In the past decade, the side which has finished the minor round on top of the ladder has gone on to win the premiership only four times, and two of the sides which finished top and missed out on premiership glory (St Kilda in 2009 and Geelong in 2008), had similarly sparkling seasons to the 2011 Magpies.

    Malthouse need only remind his players of these statistics to ensure they take nothing for granted come the finals.

    Follow Michael on Twitter @michaelfilosi

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    The Crowd Says (26)

    • August 22nd 2011 @ 9:03am
      brendan said | August 22nd 2011 @ 9:03am | ! Report

      Collingwood are a great side but they are not over the line for the flag.Both West Coast and Geelong have good ruckmen to give there onballers first use of the ball who could be kicking to a three man tall forward line exploiting Collingwood’s tall defenders.If Maxwell doesnt get up that leaves Reid,Tarrant and O’Brien versus Darling,Lynch and Cox/Natanui or Podsiadly,Hawkins and Ottens/Vardy.Three of the last four grand finals,including the draw,the dominant side of the year hasn’t won the flag so anyting can happen.

      • August 22nd 2011 @ 9:11pm
        amazonfan said | August 22nd 2011 @ 9:11pm | ! Report

        I agree, Collingwood are no certainties. They are definitely the most likely, but Geelong, Hawthorn, and West Coast are in an excellent position to win as well.

    • August 22nd 2011 @ 9:05am
      Walt said | August 22nd 2011 @ 9:05am | ! Report

      I find it interesting that Nick Maxwell can no longer justify his place in the side either. Even if Maxwell was fit to play tomorrow, where does he line up in the team? He is no longer the loose man in defense like he used to be and he isnt going to work in the forward line or on a traditional wing. I wonder if this will become one of the dividing issues between Camp Mick and Camp Nathan coming into September?

    • August 22nd 2011 @ 9:53am
      TomC said | August 22nd 2011 @ 9:53am | ! Report

      Kicking for goal. Still their achilles heel.

    • August 22nd 2011 @ 10:00am
      Seano said | August 22nd 2011 @ 10:00am | ! Report

      I dont think the Pies have the deapest list, the hwks do they are dominating and have 2 ruckman and there first choice CHF out for the year, doesnt that make there list deaper? Also so thats have to try an fit in a bunch of players to a team that is flying. the pies have to fit in 6 but if you look at there bottom 6 from the round 22 game it will be an easy task. So, they dont have the deapest list but they ARE the favorites. But look out for the bombers to cause some trouble in the finals!!

    • Roar Guru

      August 22nd 2011 @ 10:51am
      Richard said | August 22nd 2011 @ 10:51am | ! Report

      Good summary. I think you have identified the threats to ‘Pies glory this year. I think you’ll find, though, that they are very much aware of these threats down at the Westpac Centre, and that they are being addressed. What I like about the ‘Pies right now is that, deep down, they still have that driving hunger, they still want to win that flag. Desire is a big part of success. My tip? Watch the ‘Pies light up in September.

    • August 22nd 2011 @ 12:00pm
      Red Rocket said | August 22nd 2011 @ 12:00pm | ! Report


      You really would love to see the Magpies fall wouldn’t you old boy. The Premiership is not a sure thing yet, but bring back Dawes, Wellingham and Heath Shaw and let’s not forget Mick’s drive to stick it up Eddie and its getting close.



      ps. Tamworth Kangaroos are on fire!

      • Roar Guru

        August 22nd 2011 @ 8:50pm
        Michael Filosi said | August 22nd 2011 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

        You’re quite right, I’m not sure how I’ll manage if your Pies go back to back this year, but I don’t think I’m alone there.

        If Collingwood does get up in the big one, I’ll be keen to see if Malthouse does take a parting shot at Eddie before retiring to the back of the coaching box.

        Glad to hear the Roo boys are up and firing. Great memories.

        • August 23rd 2011 @ 12:26pm
          GrantS said | August 23rd 2011 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

          “If Collingwood does get up in the big one, I’ll be keen to see if Malthouse does take a parting shot at Eddie before retiring to the back of the coaching box.”

          Absolute odds on bet!

      • August 24th 2011 @ 3:00am
        amazonfan said | August 24th 2011 @ 3:00am | ! Report

        The premiership is never a sure thing until the final siren sounds on GF day.

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