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Friday night footy debuts in 2019 colours, as the Collingwood Magpies host Geelong Cats at the MCG. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 7:50pm (AEDT).
Collingwood’s 2018 was, well, decent – to put it mildly. Defying expectations left, right and centre, the club surged through the season proper, stumbled for a moment early in the finals before steadying to comprehensively defeating premiership favourites Richmond and leap with a splash into a grand final.
That final achievement didn’t go exactly as planned, but no Pies fan would be too disgruntled with that year. That also means, though, that they’ve got a lot to back up this year and the black and white army know it.
Geelong’s 2018, in contrast, was more quiet, qualifying for finals as most expected but failing to progress past their first-up clash with Melbourne.
Not too bad a year, but could’ve been a lot better. Fortunately, Geelong’s been pretty consistent in the last decade or so, so the expectation is that they’ll make finals.
That’s only the expectation, though, and the jury is still out on the reality. Which makes tonight important.
A number of new faces are playing in today’s clash, with Collingwood debuting two (or one, depending on interpretation) and the Cats unveiling six new players.
Collingwood’s properly new Pie is Jordan Roughead, who joined from the Bulldogs in October, while Dayne Beams is also named for a return to the club.
Not new, but integral nevertheless, are Jamie Elliott (his first game since Round 23, 2017), Darcy Moore and Callum Brown.
Geelong’s sending out Luke Dahlhaus and Gary Rohan (former Dog and Swan, respectively), while debuting fresh faces Tom Atkins and Jordan Clark.
Two second-year players, Charlie Constable and Gryan Myers, join a Cats outfit for the first time.
Hard one to pick, to be entirely honest. Geelong’s named a strong side with some talented inclusions, but for me Collingwood’s side – more or less the same, if not stronger – than their grand final outfit is too irresistible to ignore.
I’ll be backing the Pies, then, but fully believe the margin will be tight. I’ll back them by under just 20 points – three goals and some change.
Collingwood by 19 points.