Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
|19:09||T. J. Lynch|
|J. D. Goey||13:30|
|5.10 (40)||Third Quarter [+]||11.12 (78)|
|J. D. Goey||20:07|
|J. D. Goey||8:35|
|4:36||T. J. Lynch|
|3.6 (24)||Second Quarter [+]||9.7 (61)|
|21:22||T. J. Lynch|
|13:29||T. J. Lynch|
|J. D. Goey||2:27|
|1.2 (8)||First Quarter [+]||5.4 (34)|
|29:21||T. J. Lynch|
|16:18||T. J. Lynch|
It’s fourth vs fifth on the ladder as two Victorian heavyweights Collingwood and Richmond meet at the MCG. Join The Roar for live scores and blog from 7:50pm AEST.
The wheels are teetering on Collingwood’s season after a big 57-point loss to GWS last week. It’s now three losses in five for the Pies, who will be desperate to take four points from this game from a finals rival to steady the ship and improve their finals credentials.
Richmond on the other hand are in hot form, brushing aside finals aspirant Port Adelaide by 38 points last week to claim their fourth win in a row.
Recent form flies in the face of their result in Round 2 when Collingwood pantsed the Tigers by 44 points. The Tigers were reeling with injuries back then, but that situation has improved for the Tigers and they have welcomed back big names in recent weeks.
But Collingwood do have something over Richmond, with recent results (including last year’s Preliminary final) being completely lopsided.
Collingwood’s ability to find space in their forward half and beat Richmond one-on-one has stood out. But Damien Hardwick will have worked on a counterpoint since Round 2 and should unveil something in tonight’s game.
Indeed this game features two good, effective forward lines (with points for Richmond are fourth and Collingwood are sixth), against two mediocre defences – both sides sit outside the top six for points against, which is not surprising given that it has always been Collingwood’s weak point while the Tigers have an Alex-Rance-sized hole in their backline.
Therefore, the midfield bodes as the crucial contest, with whoever can get the ball inside 50 more shaping as the victor.
Where Collingwood prefer a high possession style (they are first in disposals per game), Richmond are a quick moving team, sitting in 11th for possessions per game.
Indeed the team who gets on top of stoppages and wins the clearances – giving their team first opportunity – will likely win the match.
This is again a worry for Richmond where ruckman Brodie Grundy should have a lot more guile, skill and experience than Ivan Soldo. If Soldo can neutralise Grundy then the advantage will swing back to Richmond.
Collingwood welcomes back some big names for this game to try and arrest their form slump. Marcus Scharenberg, Jamie Elliott and Josh Thomas add immediate quality to their backs, forwards and midfield, while versatile Josh Daicos also comes in.
James Aish and Brayden Sier (injued) will be missed, but with Ben Crocker and youngster Flynn Appleby stepping out the quality of the ins far outways the outs this week.
Richmond makes no change, and really don’t need to in the form they’re in. Now that early season injuries, namely Trent Cotchin and Jack Riewoldt, are back and integrated into the side the Tigers are humming at nearly full strength (notwithstanding longterm outs like Alex Rance and Toby Nankervis).
This should be a close game. Two high quality, finals ready teams facing off at the MCG on Friday night is the stuff of dreams, and both sides have a lot to play for.
On form Richmond should be able to get the win but it won’t be easy, and surely they have worked out a way to prevent Collingwood’s forward-line dominance in recent head-to-head games.
The consequences for another soft result for Collingwood could be dire, and they will have been reminded of that throughout the week by coach Buckley. Richmond should win in a close one, but this is really a toss of a coin.
Richmond by 6 points.