mattys123′s Collingwood v Geelong NAB Challenge match preview

Feb 24th, 2016 | By | Category: AFL Match Preview

nab16g1piesvcatsThere’s still over seven months until the AFL Grand Final, yet footy season is here. Last weekend saw the NAB challenge get under way with 6 games being played all around Australia. There were blowouts in some games, and rather ugly performances in others, but the AFL was back for season 2016, in pre-season form at least. Two teams who didn’t take part in round 1 of the NAB Challenge were Collingwood and Geelong. Two power clubs of the AFL, one the biggest by a fair margin, the other the largest regional club in the land, maybe of any sport. But they both missed the finals last year, which is nothing short of a failure when you’re in charge of these sort of organisations.

The Cats and Magpies both had injuries but realistically they simply weren’t good enough against the top sides in the competition and deserved to miss out on finals action. It was the first time since 2006 that both teams had missed the final 8 in the same season.

There are signs though from both camps that they will rebound pretty quickly. Big name recruits, young and improving lists and relatively easy draws all point to a good year for both clubs. Of course the two biggest recruits, maybe of the entire AFL off season, were Patrick Dangerfield to the Cats, and Adam Treloar to the Magpies. Dangerfield will take his place on Friday, but Treloar is still a week away from a Pies debut game.

The two will meet on Friday night in home territory for the Cats, at Skilled Stadium in Geelong.



It’s been a familiar pattern for the Magpies over the past two seasons, start the season on fire, get off to an 8-3 win/loss record and then somehow manage to fall away and miss the finals. Of course there’s always excuses, but the Pies are still maturing after turning over a large chunk of their list that was around for the dominant 2010-2012 period. They simply weren’t ready yet. That’s no longer an excuse though, and it’s really a case of finals or bust in season 2016.

It starts on Friday night, well actually it started last Thursday night at the Pies training base, Olympic Park (or the Holden Centre), where Collingwood played it’s public intra-club match. There were a few standout performances on the night with Corey Gault (5 goals), Darcy Moore (4 goals), Jordan De Goey (dominating clearances) and Steele Sidebottom all leading the way on the night.

That internal contest gave a nice preview of what was to come for the Pies this season. Not much will change with the game plan, they will still move the ball around the boundary more than any other team, but there will be personnel changes as the season progresses. Treloar, Aish, De Goey, Moore, Cox, Broomhead, Goodyear, Maynard, Witts, Phillips and Howe will look to push their way into the Pies best 22. Howe and Treloar won’t play on Friday night, with the ex demon forward still recovering from a broken finger, and Treloar being treated with kid gloves after off season surgeries. That will give the chance to a few youngsters to impress though.

Maybe the most intriguing area of the ground for the Pies in 2016 will be the ruck. Brodie Grundy is the current number 1 ruck at the club, and leading into his fourth season his stats stack up against most of the top ruckman in the league. Behind him is a log jam of youngsters wanting to push their way into the secondary ruck position. Jarrod Witts, Darcy Moore, Mason Cox, Jesse White and Darrean Wyatt all will look to gain senior experience throughout the year in what is a developing and yet to be decided role at Collingwood.

The Magpies have selected a relativley inexperienced squad for this match. There’s no Pendlebury, Cloke, Elliott, Reid, Goldsack, Treloar, Williams or Langdon in the squad, all who would be considered best 22 players. Of course that means there’s plenty of new and young faces on show though, which is really what the NAB Challenge is all about.



In season 2015 Geelong missed out on finals for the first time in almost a decade, ending an 8 year club record equaling streak of finals action. There were issues in numerous areas but what stood out the most was the inability to win the contested ball. The Cats ranked 18th for clearances and 13th for contested possessions, with a heavy reliance on club captain Joel Selwood. Selwood must have been jumping for joy when the acquisition of Patrick Dangerfield was confirmed. Dangerfield will finally provide support for one of the league’s toughest players, and that should see an immediate improvement in the cats clearance ability.

That inability to win the contested ball did hurt the Cats total score in season 2015. They fell to 12th for total points although that wasn’t only due to the lack of ball coming forward. The Geelong “dream” forward line just hasn’t been seen together for a while now. Ideally they’d have Hawkins, Clark, Vardy, Menzel, Stanley and Cockatoo rotating through their forward zone but injuries and off field problems have not allowed that to come to fruition. Season 2016 should see an improvement in their scoring though, with Menzel finishing last season on a high (vs the Pies no less) and Dangerfield and other new additions increasing their scoring ability.

The Geelong defense is still pretty good at stopping teams from scoring. They had the 7th ranked defense last season and with Harry Taylor still in his prime it’s hard to see this area of the ground becoming a massive concern any time soon. He has plenty of quality help down back too with Enright (still going around), Mackie, Lonergan, Thurlow, Duncan and the new addition of Lachie Henderson. It’s one area of the ground the Cats won’t be too worried about.

Geelong, as expected have selected a fairly strong initial squad for Friday nights’ game. Dangerfield, Smith and Henderson make their Geelong debuts. The only noticeable absentees are the Selwood brothers, Bartel and Clark. It makes sense to name your strongest squad of the pre season for a game played on your home ground.



1. Rhys Stanley, 4. Andrew Mackie, 5. Nakia Cockatoo, 6. Lincoln McCarthy, 7. Harry Taylor, 8. Jake Kolodjashnij, 9. Zac Smith, 10. Daniel Menzel, 11. Darcy Lang, 18. Josh Cowan, 21. Jordan Murdoch, 22. Mitch Duncan, 23. Josh Caddy, 24. Jed Bews, 25. Lachie Henderson, 26. Tom Hawkins, 27. Sam Menegola, 28. Cory Gregson, 29. Cameron Guthrie, 30. Nathan Vardy, 32. Steven Motlop, 33. George Horlin-Smith, 35. Patrick Dangerfield, 36. Tom Ruggles, 37. Michael Luxford, 39. Shane Kersten, 40. Jackson Thurlow, 44. Corey Enright, 46. Mark Blicavs

1. Alex Fasolo, 2. Jordan de Goey, 3. Brent Macaffer, 4. Brodie Grundy, 9. Jesse White, 11. Jarryd Blair, 13. Taylor Adams, 14. James Aish, 15. Jarrod Witts, 16. Nathan Brown, 17. Jonathon Marsh, 18. Travis Varcoe, 19. Levi Greenwood, 21. Tom Phillips, 22. Steele Sidebottom, 25. Jack Crisp, 28. Ben Sinclair, 29. Tim Broomhead, 30. Darcy Moore, 31. Jackson Ramsay, 34. Alan Toovey, 36. Dane Swan, 37. Brayden Maynard, 40. Josh Smith, 41. Tim Golds, 43. Adam Oxley, 44. Corey Gault, 45. Jack Frost, 46. Mason Cox



Nah, not going to give a tip for a game like this, instead I’ll leave you with a fun little statistical comparison chart, enjoy. 




Average age

12th – 23y, 310d

5th– 24y, 201d

Average height

6th – 188.4cm

1st – 189.9cm




Corridor use



Boundary use



Forward 50 entries



Kick rating





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