Some preseason games can be the dullest affairs imaginable. However, this one certainly wasn’t, with Collingwood beating the Western Bulldogs by two points in a brilliant contest.
Both teams came to Etihad Stadium confident of a win. Collingwood had had impressive victories over Geelong and North Melbourne in previous weeks, while the Bulldogs were returning to their turf, the stadium which had bought them success in 2015. Most pundits (and me) were tipping the Bulldogs had a slight edge, but it looked like it would be a cracking contest.
The first quarter went the Bulldogs’ way, with Collingwood making lots of turnovers. It seemed every time Collingwood looked to score, they would turn it over to the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs led by 21 points at the break, but the Magpies were by no means out of the contest, scoring three goals themselves and threatening others.
The second quarter was more of the same, featuring plenty of turnovers. There were some impressive moments of skill from both sides, with Tom Boyd and Darcy Moore both taking high marks while Adam Treloar and Jason Johannisen played well for their respective sides. Boyd and Moore were having a shootout of sorts, both scoring two goals in the first half and buoying hopes for the future.
The first half of the third quarter was one of the most stunning periods of play you’ll see from a side this year. The Magpies doubled their score in less than fifteen minutes, and scored six goals (and one super) with the Bulldogs responding with just two points in that time. For that quarter, the Pies looked nearly unstoppable, with nothing the Bulldogs could do. Not even Fremantle’s defense could have stemmed the tide of the Pies. The Dogs stopped them for a bit near the end, but Collingwood held a four-point lead heading into the final term, setting up for a battle royale.
And deliver it did. The Bulldogs threw everything including the proverbial sink at Collingwood, but kept missing, having twice as many scoring shots as the Pies in the final term. Mitch Wallis played brilliantly, having a hand in nearly everything the Bulldogs did, but the hero for the Magpies has to be Travis Varcoe. The recruit from Geelong scored two goals and had a great role in tackling, saving a goal late in the game by nailing Lachie Hunter (I think).
With the ball on the far side wing (relative to the TV cameras, near where I was), the siren sounded, and Collingwood had a deserved win over the Western Bulldogs. Both sets of supporters came out happy from this match, though:
- Collingwood had Darcy Moore proving he’s a gem and worth the father-son recruiting, and found a likely replacement for Travis Cloke in Corey Gault, who, like Trav, is big and a good mark, but a terrible set shot. Travis Varcoe was a magnificent pick up, and will remain a great stopper for the Pies, and Adam Treloar played better than he ever did for the Giants with a 26-possession, 2-goal performance that some lauded as best on ground.
- For the Bulldogs, Mitch Wallis showed that he’s just as good, if not better, than Tom Liberatore (who had a quiet game, by the way), and Tom Boyd will be brilliant in the next few years. The Dogs will have to spend this year pumping games in and continuing his development. Lin Jong was in and around the football, while Jason Johannisen was stunning on the half-back flank (or maybe that was just his hair?).
If nothing else, this match was a great showcase for Aussie Rules, and has no doubt whet the appetites of the supporters of both teams for 2016. Go Dogs.
COLLINGWOOD 0.3.3 0.5.4 1.12.7 1.15.8 (107)
W BULLDOGS 1.5.3 1.9.7 1.11.9 1.14.15 (105)
COLL: Moore 4, Treloar 2, Varcoe 2, Cloke 2, Gault 2, Fasolo, Blair, Crisp
WB: Wallis 3, T Boyd 3, Hunter 2, Bontempelli, Stringer, Campbell, McLean, Stevens, Redpath
3. Taylor Adams (Collingwood)
2. Darcy Moore (Collingwood)
1. Travis Varcoe (Collingwood)
Best Bulldog: Mitch Wallis
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