AFL Round 9- Matchday Discussion Collingwood@Fremantle(Optus Stadium- 6:10PM EST)

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Apr 24, 2020
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It’s the first game for both teams at the start of this brutal footy marathon, that is likely to never happen again. Both Fremantle and Collingwood are coming into this game off of inconsistent form, and not many are too sure how this game will go. Collingwood is coming off perhaps it’s worst performance since 2017, while the Dockers are looking to redeem themselves after only scoring two goals against a stingy Geelong side. This game won’t be pretty, but both sides are desperate for a win and get their season back on track.
The last time these two sides met was back in round 11 of last year. Fremantle managed to drag the highly fancied Magpies down to their level, and finished the game off in dramatic fashion, capping off a very gutsy win on the road. Nat Fyfe and Michael Walters were electric for the Dockers, while Collingwood’s best were few and far between, with Grundy being the only standout.

Collingwood

Many picked both the Magpies and the Eagles to be the top two contenders for the flag this season, but only the Eagles showed that they were true contenders. Despite having a strong first quarter, Collingwood looked like a bottom eight side, with the effort truly lacking once the score started to get out of hand. For weeks, Collingwood’s defense was touted as the best in the competition, however, the dam wall was broken, with the Eagles able to score at will.

Steele Sidebottom is back for the Magpies this week. The midfielder was suspended for a number of weeks, after breaching several Covid protocols, really hurting the Magpie midfield in the process. Brayden Sier also makes his return to the senior side, with many regarding this as his last chance to show his potential.

Where the Magpies can win the game

Collingwood’s defense was once again cut to ribbons on the rebound last week against the Eagles. Collingwood were too flat footed. Thankfully, the Dockers aren’t exactly known for the rebound game, and this should benefit the Magpies. Collingwood are one of the fast starters of the competition, winning pretty much every first quarter this season. However, they only score around 35 points per game in the final three quarters. This simply isn’t good enough, and they need to be able to capture that momentum that they establish in the first quarter, and carry it over for the remaining quarters.

Player to watch

It’s a big week for Brodie Grundy. Last season, Grundy was almost unanimously decreed as the best ruckman in the competition. However, he had his colors well and truly lowered against Nic Naitanui last week. Grundy struggled to have an impact, recording some of his lowest stats for the past few seasons. Grundy will be looking to bounce back this week, and Sean Darcy may cop the brunt of an angry Brodie Grundy.

Fremantle

Like the Magpies, the Dockers were absolutely pitiful. Coming up against a Geelong side that was keen to right the wrongs form their match against the Magpies, the Dockers struggled immensely, and their forward line was non-existant, with the side lucky to score two goals for the whole game. The weather didn’t do the Dockers any favors, but the real concern for Fremantle was how predictable they looked, as well as their poor skills.

The Dockers will welcome back Fyfe, but will be without Walters and James Aish.

Where the Dockers can win the game

The Dockers need to improve their inside-50 to goal conversion. It’s as simple as that. Last week, the Dockers only managed to score a goal on 7% of their inside-50’s. A stat what is woefully low. The Dockers will be looking to bump up that percentage, and hopefully with dryer weather they’ll be able to generate better scoring chances. While the Dockers have struggled offensively, they have been very strong on the defensive end, allowing their opposition to score on only 39% of their inside-50’s.

Player to watch

Rory Lobb is the man to watch this week. Last week, Josh Kennedy provided the blueprint on how a tall forward can navigate this Collingwood backline, and if Lobb can replicate that performance, the Dockers will be hard to beat. Kennedy opted for a more anchored role in the forwardline, doing most of his work in the forward-50 as opposed to up the ground as is the trend in the modern game. Lobb has been a bit subpar this season, struggling to have a solid impact. However, he is coming up against a wounded Collingwood backline, and could be the difference.

Head to Head odds

Collingwood: $1.45
Fremantle: $2.75

Changes

Fremantle

IN

Brennan Cox
Connor Blakely
Mitch Crowden
Nat Fyfe
Travis Colyer

OUT

Bailey Banfield (Omitted)
Blake Acres (Omitted)
Darcy Tucker (Injured)
James Aish (Injured)
Michael Walters (Injured)

Collingwood

IN

Brayden Sier
Jack Madgen
Mark Keane
Steele Sidebottom
Travis Varcoe

OUT

Atu Bosenavulagi (Omitted)
Callum L. Brown (Injured)
Jordan Roughead (Omitted)
Matthew Scharenberg (Omitted)
Rupert Wills (Omitted)

TV

Live on Fox Footy, Commercial Free
Live on Channel Seven, National

Radio

Triple M
3AW
ABC
SEN

IPTV

AFL Live Pass
Foxtel Now
WatchAFL

Kayo Sports

Tip

While their form isn’t great, Collingwood are a better side than the Dockers, and should be good enough to win.

Magpies by 18
 
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