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AFL live scores, blog: Collingwood vs Geelong

jcinque Roar Rookie

By jcinque, jcinque is a Roar Rookie

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    It might not be a final but the reviews will be telling when the Magpies face the Cats at the MCG in the headline match of the final round of the season. Be sure to join us from 7:30pm tonight for live scores and blog of Collingwood vs Geelong.

    Tonight sees the ultimate dress rehearsal as premiership heavyweights Collingwood and Geelong put their credentials on the line.

    The Pies are humming along nicely; tonight they collect their 19th minor premiership, while the second-placed Cats try to regain composure after a shock loss to Sydney last weekend had many questioning their premiership credentials.

    Tonight’s result might not decide the season of Collingwood or Geelong but it will give fans a preview of the upcoming finals series.

    The Pies are short favourites to win back to back flags but their only loss this season comes at the hands of tonight’s opponents. But there were some mitigating circumstances in that defeat to the Cats.

    The Pies went down by only three points, playing the week after the bye (at a time when that was a severe disadvantage) and had a decision go against them in the dying seconds when the advantage rule was used to deny Collingwood a goal.

    But take nothing away from the Cats.

    Geelong boasts an 18-3 winning record in 2011. A win tonight would seal a top-two finish for the Cats for a fifth consecutive home and away season. But a loss gives Hawthorn a chance of stealing second place – it would go down to percentage should the Hawks dispose of Gold Coast.

    A loss will have their critics crowing. Geelong was undefeated until July. But in their last eight matches, games have been dropped against finals
    participants Essendon, West Coast and Sydney.

    Those defeats have many questioning the mettle of the once impregnable Cats.

    In a telling move, coach Chris Scott has omitted retiring forward Cameron Mooney from the side tonight. It was expected that he would come into the 22, most likely at the expense of Tom Hawkins, and play a key forward post for the team from Corio Bay.

    But his absence means the ‘Big Hairy Cat’ might have played his last game of AFL football.

    Other surprises at the Geelong selection table are the omission of key defender Tom Lonergan with a quad contusion.

    Harry Taylor, who was subbed with concussion last week, has been named at centre-half back when it seemed certain that he would miss tonight’s match.

    Joel Corey, as expected, has failed to shake a groin problem.

    Collingwood are equally troubled by selection headaches. Having already been forced to play without captain Nick Maxwell and running back Heath Shaw, the Pies could ill-afford to lose any other stars.

    Maxwell hinted at a round 24 return (when a preliminary finals appearance seemed the best possible result) earlier in the week but that has failed to eventuate.

    Joining the skipper on the sidelines is star midfielder Dale Thomas, who was suspended for two matches, and certain All-Australian selection Leon Davis who succumbs to a hamstring injury. The loss of Davis is bad news for a team carrying plenty of injury concerns.

    Only last week did Chris Dawes return after a two month injury layoff and Sharod Wellingham returns to the side after playing just once since the start of July.

    The Pies will be better for the hit-out. And with plenty of stars on the sidelines, their kids will have a lot to prove because there could be up to three places available in the Collingwood side that will take on West Coast.

    Geelong have struggled with the Collingwood press in recent times, but a tweaked game plan under Scott gives Cats fans hope in that regard.

    Geelong will focus on both maintaining possession when running out of defence and stopping easy Collingwood goals when the ball is worked over the Cats zone.

    For the Pies, there will be plenty of emphasis on keeping Geelong’s ball retention down at the Pies half-forward line.

    Collingwood are also fully aware that if James Podsiadly can be well contained, a lot of pressure will be on Tom Hawkins, Steve Johnson and Paul Chapman to kick the bulk of the Cats’ score.

    Ben Reid will almost certainly be given the job on ‘Pods’. If the Pies win that battle it could go a long way to winning the match.

    Tonight I’m going to tip an upset Geelong win. The Cats have performed brilliantly in adverse situations on many occasions over the last five years.

    In fact, on the way to their 2007 and 2009 premierships, Geelong faltered in the latter part of the home and away season, dropping games they were expected to win, before picking up their bundle in September.

    The Pies are missing plenty of guns and there are few who are still either under-done or not match-fit.

    The Hawks may well be the team making a late charge but the Cats are still the second-best bet for the flag. Geelong will re-announce themselves as premiership contenders with a 9-point win tonight.

    LAST TIME: Geelong 8.17 (65) d Collingwood 9.8 (62), Rnd 8, 2011, MCG
    PAST FIVE: Collingwood 2 Geelong 3
    RECORD OVERALL: Collingwood 126 Geelong 93
    AT THIS GROUND: Collingwood 16 Geelong 20
    SINCE 2000: Collingwood 7 Geelong 10
    BETTING: Collingwood $1.30 Geelong $3.45

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    The Crowd Says (120)

    • Columnist

      September 2nd 2011 @ 6:38pm
      Justin Cinque said | September 2nd 2011 @ 6:38pm | ! Report

      So after many weeks of pondering whether both sides will rest players for this match, the final teams indicate that the best possible 22s have been named.

      Importantly, Geelong make a late change. But it isn’t that significant. Small forward Matthew Stokes is swapped for small forward Shannon Byrnes, who will don the vest. The Pies best small in Blair is their sub.

      LATE CHANGES
      Collingwood: Nil
      Geelong: Mathew Stokes replaced in selected side by Shannon Byrnes
      FINAL INTERCHANGES
      Collingwood: Andrew Krakouer, Steele Sidebottom, Dane Swan
      Substitute: Jarryd Blair
      Geelong: Daniel Menzel, Allen Christensen, David Wojcinski
      Substitute: Shannon Byrnes

    • Columnist

      September 2nd 2011 @ 6:42pm
      Justin Cinque said | September 2nd 2011 @ 6:42pm | ! Report

      So we are an hour away from learning a lot about Geelong’s premiership chances.

      We will also get some idea about the Pies’ oft-lauded depth because they are without a few guns. There’s no guarantee that they’ll all be back and we know at the very least that there will be no Thomas against West Coast.

      One thing is for sure you wouldn’t want an injury tonight but you wouldn’t want to pull out of any contest either.

      All in all, it shapes up as a big night at the footy.

    • Columnist

      September 2nd 2011 @ 6:46pm
      Justin Cinque said | September 2nd 2011 @ 6:46pm | ! Report

      Really interesting stat off the twitter feed on the top right of the page and that is the Pies have lost their last four final round matches, the Cats victorious in their last four.

      Will the Pies be tapering tonight?

    • Columnist

      September 2nd 2011 @ 7:25pm
      Justin Cinque said | September 2nd 2011 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

      Geelong are a slow team getting slower as old age kicks in. Will the Pies be able to exploit Geelong’s lack of pace when Cats try to rebound? This was done really well in last year’s Prelim by the reigning premiers. A repeat performance will ensure victory, I’d say.

      Really interesting to see where Cameron Ling plays tonight. I reckon his lack of leg speed rules him out of a tagging job on Pendlebury/Swan like he would have done previously. Even though I reckon the Pink Pig is best suited to a role off a Half-Forward Flank, Ling (with the absense of Corey) might need to play on an equally-slow Luke Ball tonight. Ling has been in good form recently and his versalitily makes him a wildcard.

    • Columnist

      September 2nd 2011 @ 7:29pm
      Justin Cinque said | September 2nd 2011 @ 7:29pm | ! Report

      Leigh Brown announced his retirement during the week. He was instrumental for the Pies last year.

      Geelong’s version of Brown is Trent West. Although, an improving type, West still has some way to go before he presents the same headaches for opposition coaches that Brown does.

      Can Brown’s mobility be the difference tonight?

    • Columnist

      September 2nd 2011 @ 7:30pm
      Justin Cinque said | September 2nd 2011 @ 7:30pm | ! Report

      So the channel 7 broadcast begins but there looks like there’s only 70000 in the stadium at the moment. Would be disappointing for Andy D if that was the final attendance. 85K would have been buggeted for….

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