Has there ever been a group more happy to leave WA?
Three weeks ago, Collingwood entered hublife in Perth in form and one of the premiership favourites. They now leave the state with Nathan Buckley’s hit of tennis with Alicia Molik perhaps the only highlight of their time there.
They do have the opportunity to quickly get their season back on track. With their three match, 13 day cross-country adventure seeing them square off against teams 15, 17 and 18 on the AFL ladder. As ways to put Perth in the rear view mirror, it doesn’t come much better and there probably has never been a team so intent on forgetting their time Western Australian capital than this one.
How the Game Was Won
With the match remaining scoreless until the 14th minute, it was an extremely cagey opening to this contest. Perhaps this shouldn’t have been too surprising as it saw Fremantle Coach, and former Collingwood defensive coach, Justin Longmuir take on his former employer for the first time. Hard at the ball and man, the Dockers put a high price on possessing the ball and refused to give Collingwood cheap scoring opportunities.
Despite being beaten in the ruck contest, Longmuir’s men dominated the clearances, this combined with control of the contested ball, gave them better use of the ball. That they also out tackled their opponents meant they were able to put greater pressure on the limited opportunities they generated.
Collingwood’s greater weapons across the park meant that they were able to defy these factors and remain squarely in the contest. In fact, it looked as though they had won control of the match when they retook the lead late in the third quarter.
Two goals to Matt Taberner in the final quarter gave the Dockers the edge. The Pies refused to yield though, and Steele Sidebottom set up a grandstand finish with an answering goal in the 21st minute. To the great delight of the Fremantle fans in attendance, they would get no closer and David Mundy put the finishing touches on a momentous win for the young team, after the siren.
What the Coaches Said
A happy Justin Longmuir was asked what pleased him most about the victory. “The contribution from all 22,” he answered. “We reviewed it last week, we had too many passengers and we were after 22 guys committed to their role and the contest and I thought we got that. That’s what pleased me most.”
He told reporters that he believed the team was becoming a more even team and that it was as a result of providing players with opportunities. “Clearly we’ve played a younger midfield at times but we are giving opportunities to players all over the ground.”
“We feel like those players are ready for their opportunity, we are bringing them in at the right time but they are standing up. Tonight was a really high pressure game and I thought we had a real even contribution from everyone.”
Looking like somebody who had lost in straight sets to Alicia Molik, Nathan Buckley lamented his teams efforts at the contest. “Around the ball they were hungrier to win it and hungrier to attack us when we won it,” he told reporters. “We got smacked in contested ball and out tackled. We found something late in the third quarter and it felt like we had the momentum going into the last but Mundy, Fyfe and the young kid Serong, around the ball were too dynamic, too hungry, for our boys for the most part.
Asked about the contested ball discrepancy, the Pies were -36 in this area, he praised the Dockers while admitting it was a cause of concern. “The opposition were motivated, they were clearly up and about but there was no excuse for us not to be,” he said. “We’ve lacked a bit of an edge the last couple of weeks, so the last two games we haven’t been as aggressive in there as we usually are.”
“We tackled at 55% which is an indicator for us not quite getting close enough into the body, not aggressive enough, not hungry enough to be able to stick those tackles. You take the numbers away and your eyes told you that they more intent across the board than we were which is a concern for us because we pride ourselves on that.”
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FREMANTLE 0.0 4.1 6.1 10.1 (61)
COLLINGWOOD 1.2 2.4 6.5 7.7 (49)
Fremantle: Taberner 4, Schulz 2, Crowden 2, Fyfe, Mundy
Collingwood: Sidebottom 2, Mihocek, Sier, Grundy, Hoskin-Elliott, Stephenson
Fremantle: Serong, Mundy, Ryan, Taberner, Fyfe, Blakely
Collingwood: Sidebottom, Grundy, Noble, Maynard, Moore, Treloar