AFL 2020: Collingwood v Richmond – Round Two Knee Jerk Reaction

What did we take away from Collingwood and Richmond’s Round Two Draw at the MCG?

Shortened Quarters Might be a Bad Idea.

In the 12 weeks since Round One was completed, the football media have been in near consensus about the beneficial effects of shortened quarters. One of the biggest cheerleaders was North Melbourne Premiership Player David King. “I do think it is a great idea. I like the shortened quarters,” he told SEN’s Crunch Time in May.

Hall of Famer Terry Wallace agreed with him and went even further. “This keeps the dynamic in the game even more so because the quarters are shorter and we haven’t shortened rotations so the players are able to play with higher intensity for longer and to me that’s a good thing, it means you’ve got a better product.”

The topic became a virtual echo chamber as most commentators fell over each other to espouse the virtues of the shortened game time. Their reaction to the Collingwood and Richmond game will be interesting. If we have learned one thing over the years is that the only thing football commentators enjoy more than a taking a position on something is doing a 180 degree turn on said position.

Pies jump out of the blocks

Collingwood opened the Thursday night encounter full of running and took a 24-point lead into the quarter time break. They would kick just one more goal for the game as Richmond slowly inched their way back into the contest and levelled the scores in the final term. In the end with both sides keeping the other goalless for two quarters, a draw was a fitting result.

The feelgood story of the night was the return of Jack Higgins after 12-months out of the game following brain surgery. Not for the first time against Collingwood though, a goal from the Tiger live-wire was the subject of controversy. In the shadows of three-quarter time the goal review system awarded Higgins a contentious mark. Asked post match, Nathan Buckley was able to get his point across without attracting a fine for his statement. “Clearly, if you are looking at it with one eye that was marked behind the line,” he told reporters with a smirk on his face.

The Coaches’ Thoughts

Admitting it was one of the more bizarre games he has been involved in, Nathan Buckley praised his team’s opening to the game. He bristled at questions about his team’s inability to score in the second half preferring to praise Richmond turning the contest with their increased pressure.

Damian Hardwick shared Buckley’s feeling about the bizarre nature of the match and a feeling that the MCG was unusually ‘dewey’. The Richmond Coach was also at pains to explain that his team’s connections had been hampered by the COVID-19 training protocols that limited training to groups of eight. Not that this was a reason for the Tigers slow start which he put down to his team being second to the ball. When asked what was behind his team’s comeback he was full of praise for his defence and the team’s structure holding up after quarter time.

Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom were the leading ball winners for Collingwood. For the Tigers Bachar Houli and Trent Cotchin got their hands on the ball most. Tom Lynch with three goals for the Richmond and Tom Phillips with two for Collingwood, were the only multiple goalkickers.

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COLLINGWOOD          4.1       5.3       5.4       5.6 (36)
RICHMOND                 0.1       3.1       5.2       5.6 (36)

Collingwood: Phillips 2, Adams, Sidebottom, C.Brown
Richmond: Lynch 3, Bolton, Higgins

Collingwood: Howe, Pendlebury, Adams, Sidebottom, Phillips, Daicos
Richmond: Cotchin, Houli, Martin, Lynch, Prestia, Lambert

Collingwood: Nil
Richmond: Nil

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