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Cold Pies: Pressure rising on Buckley’s troops heading into Anzac Day

Nicholas D'Urbano Roar Rookie

By Nicholas D'Urbano, Nicholas D'Urbano is a Roar Rookie

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19 Have your say

    After last week’s dramatic one point victory over last-season’s minor premiers, the Magpies were sent crashing back to Earth with a demoralising defeat to the Saints.

    Sunday’s defeat was a mix of poor, lethargic and ultimately appalling football from Collingwood which has in all summed up their 1-3 start to the season.

    When the siren sounded, Collingwood fans left in disgust as the majority of the game was met with groans, slamming of chairs and profanity that can’t be repeated on a public forum. However, it is this frustration that has been building since Buckley’s first season in 2012 that is leaving the ‘Magpie Army’ even less inspired after each passing week.

    This time last week, Collingwood fans had something to cheer about. Coach Nathan Buckely also came out in mid-week and stated that the Pies had ’45 out of 47 fit players’ playing across both levels this weekend. This left Collingwood fans with a feeling of excitement as the Pies could finally boast a fresh injury list.

    A resounding pressure performance against the Swans saw Collingwood put the clamps down on one of the AFL’s best. The Magpies applied 115 tackles and were relentless in hunting down the Swans.

    This was coupled by only allowing Sydney inside their forward 50 twice in the first quarter and if it wasn’t for woeful kicking late on, the margin would have exceeded three-four goals.

    This week, the tackles were down to fifty-five and were beaten in that stat (Saints recorded eighty-five) which largely led to turnovers from the Magpie players.

    It wasn’t just the pressure acts, it was the same old problems that has plagued Collingwood all season – poor kicking inside the forward 50. Collingwood boast one of the league’s best midfields but are struggling to convert their large amounts of inside 50s into goals as Collingwood have still not kicked a score higher than 100 in each of their four games all season.

    Darcy Moore, their young superstar has kicked one goal in four games and has struggled against the best defender from each side. Alex Fasolo has kicked eight goals this season but his inaccuracy has cost him dearly.

    Jamie Elliott has just returned after over 500 days on the sidelines. Jesse White continues to work hard around the ground and receives the ball too far from goal. While, Chris Mayne languished and saw himself dropped to the VFL after three uninspiring performances.

    Nathan Buckley stated in his press conference yesterday that “none of our forwards have really looked dangerous at any stage this year” which ultimately rings the bells of changes needed.

    Uninspiring performances from Jackson Ramsay, Jarryd Blair and Jack Crisp has certainly increased the pressure on three of Collingwood’s usual ‘shoe in’s’ each week. With in-form youngster Tom Phillips set to return after being withdrew due to illness, Matthew Scharenberg and Josh Daicos playing solid footy at VFL level and Daniel Wells set to return after a class performance against Coburg.

    These changes for Collingwood are all but certainties heading into Anzac Day.

    Darcy Moore Collingwood Magpies AFL 2016

    After playing only 70-75 per cent game time in his first VFL run-out, the 32-year-old was superb around the ground with clean possession and much-needed poise around the ground. He was the league’s best score assists player last season and his entries inside 50 is something Collingwood are crying out for.

    With Collingwood having nine days to prepare for Anzac Day, his name has to be surely thrown up on the selection table as he could be a game-breaker in this season-defining match.

    Nathan Buckley has lacked a Plan B during his tenure as Magpies coach and it is time for experimentation in order to defeat the Bombers on Anzac Day. Ben Reid has been solid down back, but the superb VFL form of new recruit Lynden Dunn has to be considered.

    Dunn tallied thirty-one touches along with twelve marks from full-back against Coburg this weekend and his kicking has been one of his greatest traits throughout his career.

    Reid could be thrown forward to alleviate some of the pressure off Moore as Dunn and Henry Schade take the key defensive posts. Collingwood’s defence has held its own against tall forward’s this year and with the help of Tyson Goldsack and Jeremy Howe, the Magpies should have enough defensive weapons to curb the Bombers’ attack.

    This would allow for White to continue to push up the ground and play his supporting Centre-Half Forward role as Moore and Reid work their way around the forward line to try and work a score for the Magpies. Throwing Reid forward would lead to the Bombers’ best key defender in Michael Hurley to take Reid as Moore goes back to roaming and gets the second-best defender as a result.

    Jesse White Collingwood Magpies AFL 2016

    Other options include Mason Cox and Lachie Keeffe but has a high risk, high reward feel to it. Cox struggled in Round 1 and his performances have not inspired greatly thus far. Keeffe hasn’t played since 2014, but is mobile around the ground which could be an x-factor for the Magpies.

    It all comes down to Tuesday week for the Magpies. Their 2017 season, their coach’s future and their own legacy on the year come down to arguably their biggest game of the home-and-away season. With Essendon being 2-2 and coming off a thrashing by the Crows, the pressure is insurmountably high on both sides.

    With a fresh list, a nine-day break and a chance on reflection, us Magpie fans expect a change. Buckley has promised a ‘rejig’ of the forward line and now it is time for the execution. If Buckley wants to keep his job he has to be daring and take measures with a fresh list to experiment new ideas. If that includes dropping key players and giving others opportunities, it must be done.

    This side is by no means done for the season but if they can find that extra gear once more. The 2017 season may not be over just yet and their coach may have a job come the summer of 2017-18.

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    The Crowd Says (19)

    • April 18th 2017 @ 6:43am
      Kane said | April 18th 2017 @ 6:43am | ! Report

      I can’t understand for the life of me why their midfield is rated so high, it’s very slow and only Pendlebury has anything resembling decent foot/hand skills and even he’s way past his best. There is absolutely no depth in the midfield. And calling Darcy Moore a superstar is an absolute joke, he’s had maybe 3 decent games in his career.

      • April 18th 2017 @ 8:10am
        Nicholas D'Urbano said | April 18th 2017 @ 8:10am | ! Report

        Thanks for your opinion Kane,

        However, in rebuttal to your point about Collingwood having no depth in their midfield strikes me. Collingwood boast a midfield that is actually quite deep and fast as well. If you want me to run down the names I can do that for you happily, which I will do anyway. Pendlebury, Trealor (fast), Sidebottom, Wells, Adams, Crisp (fast), De Goey, Aish, Greenwood, Phillips (fast), Hoskin-Elliott (fast), Varcoe (fast). Oh and youngsters such as Daicos, Brown and Wills who are playing very solid footy at VFL level. If you disagree, watch a Collingwood game and see how they rotate through midfield and look statistically at how much of the ball they win as well.

        Finally, maybe labelling Darcy Moore as a superstar was the wrong choice of words. However, it is undeniable that the kid has insurmountable potential and could be one of the AFL great forwards. He is in a rut at the moment and if you watched him play at his best, once again, you would see how talented the young kid has. It’s his first year playing on the opposition’s best defender and does need time to develop. So maybe saying it is an ‘absolute joke’ could have been worded differently. But, hey that is just my opinion.

        • April 18th 2017 @ 9:22am
          jonty smith said | April 18th 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

          That’s the problem with the pies recruiting and drafting. We have 13 midfielders, all of which would play most games at other clubs but you can only fit 8-9 (With Hoskin Elliott and Daicos in forwardline) in a team. Then we have 2 big forwards who desperately needs support or to regain confidence in VFL and we have no great solution. Mason Cox always is dangerous in a marking contest with his height but offers little else and Keeffe is a huge gamble given he hasn’t played footy in two years. Having said that, I do think you have to persevere with Moore for a bit longer and give him more games to adapt as he is the future. I don’t think you can do much with the forwards. Moore and Elliott need more time, WHE is so dangerous and versatile. Varcoe’s mr consistent down there and is the more defensive forward we need. Fasolo hasn’t done enough wrong to get dropped. That leaves White who I think should make room for Daicos, with Reid moving up forward as the extra tall. I agree we need Daicos in there and also understand your point about Wells. I’d be tempted to bring in Wills (as he was a tackling machine in his short burst last year) and Scharenberg’s run and pressure off half back we desperately need but will need to show a bit more in the VFL over a period of time. I have to disagree with you about dropping Crisp. He has been evergreen consistent for so long and played a terrific game against the swans and was also handy in round 1. One bad performance after such consistency dating back to 2015 doesn’t deserve to see him dropped. I like Ramsay but he has second-guessed himself with the ball a bit this year and is probably the most vulnerable defender. This would be my best 22

          FB- Henry Schade
          BP- Rupert Wills, Josh Smith
          CHB- Tyson Goldsack
          HB- Tom Phillips, Brayden Maynard
          Centre- Steele Sidebottom, Taylor Adams, Jack Crisp
          Half Forwards- Travis Varcoe, Jamie Elliott
          CHF- Ben Reid
          FP- Alex Fasolo, WHE
          FF- Darcy Moore
          Followers- Brodie Grundy, Adam Treloar, Scott Pendlebury
          Bench- Josh Daicos, Daniel Wells, Levi Greenwood, Jeremy Howe
          Emergencies- Jackson Ramsay, Jarryd Blair, Lynden Dunn
          Ins- Josh Daicos, Rupert Wills, Daniel Wells, Tom Phillips
          Outs- Tim Broomhead, Jarryd Blair, Jackson Ramsay, Jesse White

        • April 19th 2017 @ 2:13pm
          I ate pies said | April 19th 2017 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

          The problem that Collingwood have is the same as it’s always been; they’re too one eyed. They’re convinced that their players are all guns, and they’re incapable of looking at them objectively. Take the above list of midfielders for example; they only two A-graders they have are Pendlebury and Treloar, and Treloar is a terrible kick!
          Listing a heap of names doesn’t actually make them good players.

    • Roar Guru

      April 18th 2017 @ 9:51am
      Paul D said | April 18th 2017 @ 9:51am | ! Report

      I can understand Wells and Dunn but the signing of Mayne baffled me at the time and continues to baffle me now. If you wanted a small ineffective small forward who’s a lousy kick for a goal and only does defensive pressure well, you already had Jarryd Blair. Why you would to go out and spend $500,000/year for FOUR years on someone like Mayne is just beyond me. Someone said the Tippett deal was the worst since Daisy Thomas – I suspect Mayne could be competing for bronze in a few years.

      I think the problems up forward are terminal for Collingwood this season. Moore & Cox are still too raw and inexperienced to be relied upon to hold marks with anything approaching regularity. The support cast are pretty ordinary. If you can get Wells on the park I think you will see improvements – as you say, he is one of the best users of the ball in the game and will make life easier for the forward line but I can’t see the Pies kicking enough goals to win many games.

    • April 18th 2017 @ 1:49pm
      Chris said | April 18th 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

      Being a real die in the wool Maggie it hurts me to see that the side has lost its grunt. I don’t understand what all the fuss is about Jamie Elliot because one swallow doesn´t announce spring. He was a short half forward who had a decent leap and a bit of spark. This reminds me of Collingwood´s reliance on John Greening in the mid-seventies. John was a far more talented footballer than Jamie and never recovered his sparkle after his extended absence and the same I fear will happen with Jamie. We always vote with our heart at Collingwood and not our minds. Why make changes to a winning side? Everybody seems to be bagging Chris Mayne but his tackling pressure may have jolted some of his teammates in Sydney to do the same. He may have just embarrassed a few into doing what they were supposed to do. It is a case of typical parochial Victorian ignorance to criticize a bloke who busts his guts and is trying to adapt to a team that he is barely familiar with. As for the line-up next Tuesday this is my suggested selection:-
      Backs: Smith Schade Dunne
      Half Backs: Howe L. Keefe Ramsay
      Centreline: Sidebottom Treloar Scharenberg
      Half Forwards: Mayne Reid Fasolo
      Forwards: D.Moore B.Reid J.Daicos
      Followers: B. Grundy S. Pendlebury T. Adams
      Interchange: Maynard Greenwood Crisp D. Wells
      The use of Lachie Keefe will add badly needed marking strength and negation work in the back half thus freeing up Ben Reid to add some creativity in the forward half. Ben Reid can also help give Darcy Moore tips on placement or movement and distract the other key defenders from this developing lad. I have not let my emotions influence my choice of players. I have gone using the old adage of horse for courses. Please don’t forget that a champion team beats a team of champions because you choose the players that will meet your needs and gel as a unit not those that try very hard but simply don´t meet the team´s needs or game plan. Scharenberg needs to be tried on the wing as his disposal is excellent and he can get the ball down forward accurately and Ramsay is best served on the back flank where his confidence and run give the team yardage and depth in ball use.
      Last of all, remember that Varcoe goes missing for long periods because his legs don´t carry him as they once did. Will Hoskin-Elliott is a good trier but flashes in and out of a game far too often. Consistency and role players are lacking and we seem to be going for spare parts footballers more than specific task assigned players. I believe that we have nothing to lose by going down the path I have indicated because we are falling back into the age-old Collingwood flaw of opting for Collingwood six-footers!!!!! Playing footballers who try hard but who are not cut out for specific positions or roles. Football may have changed but some old-fashioned ideas are still worthy of implementation.
      Let’s get the job done boys and not let sentiment rule our minds or thought-processes……

      • Roar Guru

        April 18th 2017 @ 2:45pm
        Paul D said | April 18th 2017 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

        What’s the story with Scharenberg this year – is he injured, or finding form? I think at some point Bucks is going to have to play him given how highly regarded he came to the club (they were prepared to wait out a chronic foot issue for him to come good) – you already lost Freeman through want of opportunities, if Scharenberg drifts out of contention that’s picks 6 & 10 from 2013 down the drain, which would be another indictment to hand at Bucks feet regarding list management

    • April 18th 2017 @ 3:46pm
      Pat said | April 18th 2017 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

      The biggest problem the pies have is a lack of structure and depth in the forward line. We only have two tall forwards – White and Moore, neither of which are good enough (for different reasons). Other potential options are Cox, a huge ruckman who is still new to the game and Keeffe who is a defender just coming back from 2 years out of the game. Neither of these guys are realistic forward options, they are depth or part-timers at best. Young rookie McCarthy may develop into something, but is a long shot. We have some good smaller options in Elliot, Fas and WHE along with a few of the new recruits, but the others (Mayne and Blair) are just not up to it. All in all, the cupboard is pretty bare. Not a single experienced KPF who we can depend on, not enough tall depth and not enough developing young talls.

      Down back the situation is a little less dire, only because we got lucky in getting Schade in the rookie draft. Reid is a champ, Dunn looks good in the VFL and at least provides a servicable option should he be called upon. Keeffe will be another good depth option when he gets back up to speed. Young McLarty will need time but shows promise. Howe in career best form and Maynard developing nicely. We still need a running, line-breaking rebound type however.

      The list management and recruiting teams have a lot to answer for due to their refusal to draft or trade tall KPFs over the past decade. Their decisions can only be described as sheer negligence or incompetence. They have failed the club and left our existing forwards horribly exposed. Compounding this incredible stupidity is the decision to push out a bunch of talls from the club in recent years without bringing in adequate replacements. So this is where we find ourselves now – unable to put a well balanced team out on the park because we just dont have the cattle. Not much good having a list chock-full of midfielders when we dont have enough players to defend or kick goals.I can only guess that this obsession with midfielders is a deliberate strategy and it seems they went all in with it.

      Nicholas: I think this topic would make for good discussion… I’d be interested to read a piece comparing the pies talls versus every other club. I think the differences in numbers, depth and quality of the tall stocks on each list would really shed some light on the pies woes at the moment.

      • April 18th 2017 @ 9:17pm
        Oddthongz said | April 18th 2017 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

        I agree with Pat – the recruiting has been poor. I really believe the Mayne deal should be investigated -$500k per year influenced the compensation to Fremantle -they got pick 23 and Brad Hill. So in one way that means Chris Mayne was worth pick 23 or Brad Hill. Whats in it for Collingwood? I don’t know but I’d love someone to find out. According to the press Mayne was to be offered $350k per year and then it jumped to $500K – doesn’t make much sense. If a football club is a business then the business decisions at Collingwood regarding recruiting have been poor. As for Darcy Moore he should be a second or third forward that has time to develop and learn the game. Too much is expected of him. Keefe is a hack in my opinion and neither a good defender or forward option. We don’t seem to have much of a gameplan and we lack a key forward and key defender – its going to be another wasted year on the way to a wasted decade.

      • April 18th 2017 @ 11:27pm
        DT said | April 18th 2017 @ 11:27pm | ! Report

        This is an excellent comment Pat. The recruiting by Hine and co has to be questioned – De Goey over Peter Wright???

      • April 20th 2017 @ 8:19pm
        Nicholas D'Urbano said | April 20th 2017 @ 8:19pm | ! Report

        Thanks for that Pat! I will keep that in consideration, I love the idea and comment!

    • April 18th 2017 @ 9:28pm
      Chris said | April 18th 2017 @ 9:28pm | ! Report

      It’s the age old problem od Collingwood six-footers rearing its ugly head again! Using flankers instead of key position players in inappropriate positions…..

    • April 19th 2017 @ 3:56am
      Chris said | April 19th 2017 @ 3:56am | ! Report

      The recruiting issue is definitely worth delving into but what strikes me as astounding is the we haven´t had a proper centre half forward in the last fifty years and have relied on flankers and the occasional true full forward to bail us out of trouble time and time again. Consequently, we have lost critical games such as Grand Finals when it has mattered most!!!!! Is that so difficult to understand and address? Honeslty, it makes a man go absolutely rabid and psychotic……As for Nathan Buckley, he should stop pussy footing around and pull the trigger on those that are there on a well-paid extended holiday.

      • April 19th 2017 @ 4:02am
        Chris said | April 19th 2017 @ 4:02am | ! Report


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