Collingwood return to the MCG, after their spirited showing against West Coast, to face a GWS side full of confidence after their Elimination Final victory over the Swans. Both teams have been hurt by the absence of star players for much of the season and a Prelim Final berth will be a great reward for their ability to face and overcome adversity all season.
Still in the early stages of this rivalry, GWS has won the last two after Collingwood won the first five contests between the two sides. Jeremy Cameron has been prominent in the last three games with 14 goals.
Ghosts of Giants past to drive Magpies
Taylor Adams and Adam Treloar, once promising Giants prospects, loom as vital cogs in Collingwood’s push for a Prelim Final berth. Both members of GWS’ debut season they found themselves at Collingwood via trade after both expressed a desire to return to Victoria. While GWS pushed hard for adequate compensation it won’t be on show on Saturday night. While the Ghosts of Giants past conspire against them, almost everything they received in return will be on show too. With Lachlan Keeffe, Tim Tarranto and Jacob Hopper all suiting up, it is just the injured Heath Shaw unavailable.
Holes in the resume?
The way Collingwood has battled adversity all the way to a top four finish in 2018 has seen them earn justified praise from the football world. Yet despite their lofty finish, against top eight opposition Collingwood tasted victory just once – against Melbourne on Queens Birthday. Conversely the Giants have four victories against fellow finalists including their domination of Sydney in last weeks Elimination Final. Is there a question mark on just how good Collingwood’s season was if they fail to claim win number two?
As an MCG tenant, Collingwood are fairly familiar with the ground, this hasn’t been reflected in their results though with just an 8 & 6 record at the league headquarters in 2018. MCG games are a much rarer experience for the Giants, having visited the ground on just two previous occasions in 2018. Unsurprisingly, this infrequency is reflected in the fact that they have won just one of their last seven at the venue. That one victory might give them confidence though, given it was against Collingwood this year.
Forward half pressure
Forward half pressure is the foundation block of the majority of teams still in contention for the Premiership. Richmond, Melbourne, Hawthorn and Collingwood have been the best exponents of it in 2018 with these teams causing more forward half turnovers than anybody else. While the importance might be inherent in this fact alone, it is further highlighted by the two worst proponents of the top eight, Sydney and Geelong, being eliminated last week. Next worst on this list – GWS. Will the trend continue?
Recognised with All-Australian selection for the first time, the 27-year-old has had a career best season in 2018. Averaging 30 touches, 10 contested possessions, seven score involvements and four inside 50’s a game, Sidebottom has been a driving force in the Pies rise up the ladder.
In just his eight match for the season Toby Greene was instrumental in the Giants elimination final victory over the Swans. While much of the talk in the week that has followed has been where he chooses to place his footy boots it should have been focused on his importance to the Giants premiership chances. The Giants 2018 record with Greene in the team, seven wins, one draw, zero losses!
Herald Sun: Collingwood 21, GWS 9.
The Age: Collingwood 9, GWS 3.
The Pinch Hitters: Collingwood 5, GWS 3.
Betting: Collingwood $1.58, GWS $2.45.
We are instore for a an enthralling midfield battle here with both teams strategies heavily reliant on winning it in the middle. The Giants midfield strength was on full show last week when they demolished Sydney at the clearance and again at the selection table when they were able to bring in Ryan Griffen to replace the injured Josh Kelly. None of this will intimidate the Pies though. As the leading team for contested ball and for clearance differential they will back themselves to overcome any opponent. Genuine toss of a coin clash. GWS will win by 7 points.
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