Carlton vs Collingwood: Friday Night Forecast

Adrian Polykandrites Columnist

By Adrian Polykandrites, Adrian Polykandrites is a Roar Expert

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    Collingwood and Carlton might be the oldest of foes, but their rivalry has been a bit of a fizzer for going on three decades now.

    Since 1990, the Magpies and Blues have met 54 times – never in a final – with just three of those games decided by fewer than 10 points and an average margin of about six goals.

    The rivalry still means plenty to the fans of each team – which is why the average crowd since 1990 is pushing 69,000 – but for the rest of us tonight’s match feels less blockbuster than mockbuster.

    That doesn’t mean the stakes aren’t high. Both sides are unsurprisingly winless after two rounds, so the heat is going to be turned up on the loser.

    Should it be though?

    The Blues seem to finally have a pretty good grasp on where they are in their development and what they’re building towards. An 0-3 start for Carlton doesn’t – or at least shouldn’t – change much.

    As for the Pies, haven’t we been here before with Nathan Buckley?

    It’s an open secret that the Pies aren’t much good, so the obsession with the hot seat under Buckley is becoming tedious. Let’s get to the game, shall we?

    Collingwood won plenty of admirers for their performance against the Giants in Round 2. Unfortunately they lost not only the match but also, perhaps more significantly, Darcy Moore with a hamstring injury.

    Moore’s absence will be felt immediately as he’s about as good a match-up for Carlton young gun Charlie Curnow as you’ll find.

    The game’s best key forwards often jump a level in their third or fourth season, so there’s a good chance what we’ve seen from Curnow in the opening rounds of his third year is a decent representation of the player he is now, and for Collingwood, that’s a problem.

    Lynden Dunn lacks the agility to go with Curnow, and Buckley might prefer Jeremy Howe to roam and float as he does best. The could leave Matthew Scharenberg as the best option. That’s a fun match-up.

    Charlie Curnow

    (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

    Things are no less interesting at the other end of the ground where the Blues have their own decisions to make. Liam Jones’ transformation is a good story, but he’s not a good key defender. Jacob Weitering is.

    Brendon Bolton said the 2015 No.1 pick would return to the end of the ground where he’s more comfortable after a couple of inconspicuous weeks in the front half, that’s good news for Carlton assuming Weitering and Jones can co-exist in a back six that already includes Caleb Marchbank and Lachie Plowman.

    I have my doubts about how all of those pieces fit and would feel better about it if Jones was playing in the VFL this week.

    Working in Carlton’s favour is that scoring hasn’t come easy for the Pies in the opening rounds with scores of 67 and 79. Medium forward Ben Crocker is their leading goal scorer so far with three.

    It’s likely going to take a team effort and a good spread of goalkickers for the Magpies to kick a decent score. One of the bright spots in their loss to GWS was the play of Adam Treloar in the forward line.

    Treloar jagged a couple of goals against his former side but it was more than that. All of the things that make him a very good onballer – speed, acceleration, ability to win ground balls and break from congestion into space – make him a dangerous player with and without the ball inside-50. If the Magpies can afford to do without him in the midfield for chunks of time (hint: they can), Treloar offers an attacking spark they so sorely lack.

    Ben Reid is hit or miss as a forward but at least offers Collingwood a solid target and is dangerous enough on the lead and in the air to demand respect. He could also be called on to quell Curnow the young Blue gets his confidence up, which would be a double-win for the Blues. Mason Cox is just a guy.

    The midfield is where things are tastiest in this match-up. Patrick Cripps continues to develop into the evolutionary Josh Kennedy and he has able support from the ever-underrated Marc Murphy and smooth Sam Petrevski-Seton. Ed Curnow has had the quietest 67-disposal fortnight I can remember.

    For the Pies it’s former A-grader Scott Pendlebury (that’s a joke), Steele Sidebottom, Treloar and Taylor ‘The Butcher’ Adams doing the heavy lifting.

    Scott Pendlebury Collingwood Magpies AFL 2017

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    Brodie Grundy gave Rory Lobb a bath last week but will find things much tougher against a returning Matthew Kreuzer. Nonetheless, Collingwood looks a little stronger around the ball.

    How the Blues attack will be fascinating. Throughout the preseason we heard and saw that Carlton wanted to play faster. In the opening round it paid off somewhat. While Carlton scored more freely – especially in the opening term – they also got cut to pieces.

    Richmond scored 94 points off Carlton’s turnovers, which is more than the Blues conceded in any game last season. Their attacking mindset compromised their defensive integrity.

    Do they take the game on again and bet on Collingwood being unable to punish them as the Tigers did, or play it more conservatively and try to grind it out? The former would be more entertaining even if it might not be the wisest move.

    Neither of these sides are much chop and it’s far from the tastiest Friday night match-up, but that’s not to say it’s not an interesting one. There are enough stars, subplots and Sidebottoms for something fun to break out.

    I don’t know if it’ll be any good, but I think it’ll be close. I’m tipping Collingwood by 10 points.

    That’s my Friday night forecast. What’s yours?

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    The Crowd Says (92)

    • April 6th 2018 @ 7:19am
      Kangajets said | April 6th 2018 @ 7:19am | ! Report

      2 small Melbourne clubs should not be awarded Friday night status 😁

      • April 6th 2018 @ 9:29am
        Liam said | April 6th 2018 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        Re the irony of that coming from a North Melbourne supporter…

        • April 6th 2018 @ 9:35am
          Kangajets said | April 6th 2018 @ 9:35am | ! Report

          Well spotted Liam

          • April 6th 2018 @ 11:24am
            Aligee said | April 6th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

            Greek Easter – crowd down, plenty of Greek Collingwood fans, more so than Carton IMHO.

            Hoping for a regime change at Collingwood – hope they lose

        • April 6th 2018 @ 10:47pm
          Kurt said | April 6th 2018 @ 10:47pm | ! Report

          Consider the point well and truly missed.

    • April 6th 2018 @ 8:14am
      Reservoir Animal said | April 6th 2018 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      The story of how the VFL/AFL’s greatest rivalry started. No doubt Collingwood would’ve savoured the win more if they’d known what their next 5 Grand Finals against Carlton would be like.

      • April 6th 2018 @ 11:46am
        Aligee said | April 6th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

        Far be it for me as a Collingwood fan to thank Carlton, but the first game when Collingwood played them in 1892 was actually a Carlton home game that was transferred to Victoria Park so Collingwood could raise some money for change rooms and toilets etc, the players actually changed at the Yarra Hotel about 200 metres away or as i like to say a Peter Daicos torpie.

        Personally i hope tonight for a regime change at Collingwood and a Carlton win as much as it pains me.

        Or as Carlton fans say – what is better than beating Collingwood by 100 points – beating them by one!

    • April 6th 2018 @ 8:54am
      Macca said | April 6th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

      Winnable game for the blues but after last week it is hard to go in with any real confidence.

      The positive is that the inclusion of Kreuzer and Kennedy dramatically change the side from the one that played last week and their presence around the contest should have a significant knock on effect, not least of which is allowing Casboult to spend more time forward where his pairing with Curnow make the blues forward line much more dangerous than last week.

      Looking at the two sides I am reasonably confident our backline can hold their forward line (man for man) and I think without Moore our forward line could get the better of their backline but it is obviously the pies midfield that presents the most problems, Kreuzer V Grundy looms an intriguing battle, as does Cripps V Treloar, Murphy V Pendlebury & E Curnow V Adams but I think it could be the performance of Kennedy that has the biggest impact for the blues, if he can have a decent game and provide that presence around the contest it makes things a lot easier for everyone else and allows the blues younger and lighter mids (Fisher, SPS and Dow) to have a bigger impact on the game.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 6th 2018 @ 10:29am
        Mattician6x6 said | April 6th 2018 @ 10:29am | ! Report

        Kreuzers return and Moore’s absence is what tips this your way slightly macca, just hope its not an error riddled game like last Fridays monstrosity.

        • April 6th 2018 @ 10:35am
          Macca said | April 6th 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

          I only watched the first half of the good Friday game but it definitely wasn’t pretty.

          After the blues turnover fest last week I wouldn’t be surprised if they spent 3 days doing lane work this week!!

          I agree on Kreuzer and Moore.

          One of the big things I will be looking for from the blues is an attitude that shows they realised they missed a big opportunity last week and the want to grab this one.

      • Roar Guru

        April 6th 2018 @ 10:56am
        Peter the Scribe said | April 6th 2018 @ 10:56am | ! Report

        Macca, expect Treloar to spend time up forward too, he looked pretty good up there last week as his speed and ball reading come into play and the focus goes off his disposal efficiency.

        • April 6th 2018 @ 1:29pm
          Macca said | April 6th 2018 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

          I would be pretty happy if he spends a lot of time up forward Pete, it will help the blues break even in the midfield battle which would hopefully leave him stranded without supply.

    • Roar Guru

      April 6th 2018 @ 9:11am
      DingoGray said | April 6th 2018 @ 9:11am | ! Report

      If the Pies as everyone keeps telling us a genuine finals contenders they need to win this game.

      • April 6th 2018 @ 9:24am
        Tom M said | April 6th 2018 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        Who keeps telling you this?

    • April 6th 2018 @ 9:20am
      Grobelaar said | April 6th 2018 @ 9:20am | ! Report

      I hope this game rates well compared to the big A league game tonight .

      • April 6th 2018 @ 10:16am
        Kane said | April 6th 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report

        What’s “A League”? Who’s she?

      • April 6th 2018 @ 10:18am
        Tom M said | April 6th 2018 @ 10:18am | ! Report

        People have forgotten about that sorry league. NBL has taken over it

      • Roar Guru

        April 6th 2018 @ 10:49am
        Paul Dawson said | April 6th 2018 @ 10:49am | ! Report

        I’m sure it will – mainly because the public the length and breadth of the country can watch it on FTA if they so choose, as opposed to paying through the nose for a foxtel connection to watch a 3rd rate domestic comp

    • Roar Rookie

      April 6th 2018 @ 10:27am
      Mattician6x6 said | April 6th 2018 @ 10:27am | ! Report

      Going Carlton tonight though it’s line ball. Would prefer to see the Sydney derby as the Friday night spectacle though.

      • April 6th 2018 @ 5:26pm
        13th Man said | April 6th 2018 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

        Or Hawks V Tigers or West Coast V Geelong..

        • April 6th 2018 @ 5:29pm
          Macca said | April 6th 2018 @ 5:29pm | ! Report

          SO the Cats play Monday then travel to Perth to play Friday night?

          Or the Hawks play Monday then get to play the reigning premier coming off an 8 day break on Friday night?

          I don’t think you have thought this through.

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