Collingwood may be in 12th position on the Peter Jackson VFL ladder with only four wins, but the Magpies have claimed the scalps of two top-eight teams in the last two weeks.
Remarkably, new senior coach Jared Rivers’ group has been the top-ranked team for disposals per game for most of the 2017 season; his charges just haven’t been able to convert that dominance into scoreboard results.
In previous losses, they ran the Northern Blues to 13 points, Werribee to 11 points, the Box Hill Hawks to 26 points and the Casey Demons to 19 points, but victories over Port Melbourne by 37 points in Round 10 and Footscray by five points in Round 11 last week indicate they’re not a spent force in the finals race yet.
In addition to its disposal numbers, Collingwood is the VFL’s no.1 team for overall disposal efficiency, as well as handballs and uncontested possessions per game. Its defenders love sharing the ball around in space while looking for the right option moving forward.
AFL-listed backmen Jackson Ramsay, Matt Scharenberg, Tom Langdon, Adam Oxley and Lynden Dunn as well as VFL-listers Marty Hore and Jordan Kelly all average over 20 disposals per game in state-league appearances this year. But despite all this time in possession, the Magpies rank just 11th for inside-50s and ninth for goals scored per game.
Inefficiency of ball movement means opposition teams have generally had the time to get back and crowd the area around Collingwood’s forward targets to deny them easy opportunities to score.
However, the Magpies have turned this around somewhat against good opposition recently, kicking their highest score of the year – 19.10 (124) – against the Borough and defeating the Bulldogs with just 45 inside-50s – five fewer than the competition average.
Mason Cox (six goals) and Chris Mayne (five) proved too much for the likes of Port Melbourne defenders Lucas Cook and Brody Mihocek, while Lachlan Keeffe and Ben Crocker (both two goals) helped down Footscray.
Add in leading goalkicker Kayle Kirby (23 majors in nine games) and Collingwood certainly isn’t short of dangerous forwards – their teammates just need to deliver the ball to them on time.
Round 11 keys to victory:
3: Accuracy in front of goal was a key factor in the Box Hill Hawks’ 22-point win against the Northern Blues, the Hawks booting 11.11 (77) while the Blues could only manage 6.19 (55). While Northern’s Rhys Palmer and Harry McKay both kicked 1.3, Vincent Adduci bagged three straight goals from just six disposals for the victors.
30: Chris Carey enjoyed a memorable senior VFL debut in Port Melbourne’s 65-point victory over the Casey Demons. The 22-year-old ruckman competed against Jake Spencer, Mitch King and Sam Weideman to record 13 disposals, 30 hitouts and five tackles and claim the Borough’s Frank Johnson Tribute Medal as best-on-ground.
55: Sandringham weathered a monster 70 inside-50s from opponent Werribee to pip the Tigers by six points, conceding 14.18 (102) while scoring 17 goals from 55 of its own entries. Zebras defenders recorded 55 rebound-50s, led by Nick O’Kearney and Rowan Marshall with five rebound-50s each.
Round 11 stats leaders:
|Damian Mascitti||Port Melbourne||21|
|Eli Templeton||Port Melbourne||19|
|Dean Kent||Casey Demons||18|
|Cam O’Shea||Northern Blues||18|
|Glenn Strachan||Northern Blues||17|
|Rhys Palmer||Northern Blues||16|
|Blaine Boekhorst||Northern Blues||22|
|Toby Pinwill||Port Melbourne||21|
|Corey Maynard||Casey Demons||20|
|Ben Kennedy||Casey Demons||19|
|Luke Russell||Northern Blues||17|
|James Cousins||Box Hill Hawks||15|
|Brendan Whitecross||Box Hill Hawks||15|
|Cam O’Shea||Northern Blues||10|
|Marcus Stavrou||Northern Blues||10|
|Joel Smith||Casey Demons||8|
|Lucas Cook||Port Melbourne||8|
|Marc Pittonet||Box Hill Hawks||41|
|Matt Korcheck||Northern Blues||38|
|Jake Spencer||Casey Demons||37|
|Chris Carey||Port Melbourne||30|
|Mitch King||Casey Demons||16|
|Corey Maynard||Casey Demons||16|
|Ben Kennedy||Casey Demons||12|
|Toby Pinwill||Port Melbourne||11|
|Edward Morris||Casey Demons||11|
|Tom O’Sullivan||Port Melbourne||10|
|2017 LEADING GOALKICKERS|
|Dylan Conway||Port Melbourne||4||26|
|Jordan Lisle||Port Melbourne||1||23|
|Ty Vickery||Box Hill Hawks||3||19|
|Bayley Fritsch||Casey Demons||1||19|
|Andrew Hooper||North Ballarat||BYE||18|
|Development League||Last Rnd||Total|
|Nathan Gardiner||Casey Demons||5||19|
|Will Murphy||Box Hill Hawks||1||14|
|Samuel De Soysa||Port Melbourne||1||13|
|Dale Hehir||Box Hill Hawks||_||12|
|Cory Machaya||Casey Demons||_||12|
* AFL / ** Seniors