mattys123′s Round 20 – Collingwood vs Richmond Match Preview

Aug 3rd, 2016 | By | Category: AFL Match Preview, Lead Article

2016r20bitchmondWhen the fixture for the 2016 AFL premiership season came out last October the round 20 matchup between Collingwood and Richmond seemed like a possible early elimination final. Of course as we now know, nothing has gone to plan for either club. They will meet on Friday night at the M.C.G. in what is now an irrelevant game as far as finals connotations are concerned. Collingwood sit in 12th with 8 wins from 18 games, while the Tigers sit right behind them in 13th with one less win. It isn’t what was expected of two sides who had grand ambitions for season 2016.

There’s still four games to be played though, and on Friday night at the MCG the two will meet for the second time this season. The first game, way back in round 2, produced one of the finishes of the season when the Pies came from 3 goals down late on to win. Brodie Grundy snapped a goal out of the pack to send the Magpies fans into raptures, and provide Richmond the first of many losses in 2016. Since they both teams have meandered their way through the season with only a handful of impressive performances between them. The Pies are coming off one of those such outings, after an upset win over the finals bound West Coast Eagles last week. Richmond on the same Saturday put in one of the worst efforts of any team this season when they managed only 3 goals in an 88 point drubbing against the Giants. The Tigers come into this game in the midst of a crisis, while the Pies look to be ending their season strongly.



While it’s been yet another disappointing season for Collingwood there are signs that the future is bright for the black and white. Since the bye, when the Pies were sitting in the bottom 6 with a 4-8 record, they’ve won 4 out of 6 games and are starting to show those signs of promise. While the likes of Pendlebury, Adams, Reid, Brown, Treloar and Sidebottom have found a consistent level of performance, it’s been the next level of players that seems to have made the Pies better lately. There’s been improvement by so many of late, with Smith, Marsh, Grundy, Aish, Moore, Crisp, Maynard and Wills all having large impacts on games. The win over the Eagles was a team performance, with first gamer Wills breaking the AFL record for tackles on debut, and Josh Smith continuing his really impressive first year as a mature aged recruit. It was Darcy Moore though who stole the show, as the second year future superstar kicked 3 first half goals before unfortunately going off with another hamstring injury. Moore is likely to miss this week against the Tigers but he gave the whole football world a glimpse of his huge potential, and was rewarded with a rising star nomination for his work.

Leading into this game against Richmond there may be a few changes with Moore an almost definite out. The Pies VFL side won an amazing 9th game in a row last week, and there’s plenty pushing for selection from that team. Also a hope to return from injury are Alex Fasolo and Jarryd Blair who missed the win over the Eagles. What has becoming very obvious though with this Collingwood team is that the effort is now consistent from week to week. There are many theories about why it’s taken so long to find that consistency of effort, but it’s there for all to see now and should see them take care of a struggling Tigers outfit.



Being a Richmond supporter must be tough work. After their team made the finals the last three seasons there was hope that a sustained period of finals action was on the horizon. But no, it was evident early on this year that the Tigers weren’t returning to the top 8. They started the season with a 1-6 win/loss record, no one plays finals after that. There may have been reasons for the slow start, and the Tigers then had a mid season revival, winning 5 out of 6 games, however Richmond will go backwards this season with a list that is mature enough to be playing finals. The concern is they really are getting worse too, with a lackluster win over Essendon followed by two big losses to the Hawks and Giants, it’s almost crisis time at Richmond. They have to play the season out though, and they have a few winnable games left, starting with the Pies on Friday night.

It’s hard to find an area of strength at the moment for the Tigers but their midfield is still performing okay under the circumstances. In the ruck Shaun Hampson is having a career best year and has relegated Ivan Maric to the VFL for most of this season. In fact the Tigers rank 3rd for average hitouts this season, which is at least one positive. It hasn’t helped Richmond in the clearances though, with the Tigers currently ranked 12th, although that is a few spots higher than the Pies midfield (16th). The problem seems to be depth for Richmond with a massive reliance on 5 players. Cotchin, Martin, Miles, Grigg and Edwards all average over 4 clearances a game but there’s a massive drop off after that to the next player. The Pies are coming off a smashing of the Eagles in the middle, with massive advantages in clearances and contested possessions. The Tigers will need to lift to match the Pies this week based on recent form.

The Richmond forward line should be an advantage for the Tigers but they simply don’t get it in there enough. The Tigers rank 17th for inside 50′s meaning that Jack Riewoldt’s return of 41 goals is impressive given he’s had so few opportunities. Sam Llyod has had a good season up forward also, supporting Jack but after that it drops off. Tyrone Vickery is always a source of frustration and criticism and there’s very few reliable options from then on. Richmond also get very little goal support from their midfield with Shane Edwards leading the way from the middle with 13 goals. They run into a Pies defense that is gaining in confidence with every passing week. With Ben Reid and Nathan Brown back fit, the youngsters in the Magpies defense are feeding off their experience and it’s working well. Richmond will have to find a way to increase it’s inside 50 entries or they simply can’t win this game.

One man comes to mind whenever you talk about Richmond’s defense and that is Alex Rance. The Tigers full back is likely to be named in the All Australian side yet again despite his team conceding the fourth most points in the AFL. Even last week in the huge loss to GWS Rance was given as many coaches votes as any other player on the ground (8 votes). The problem is once again depth. He has so little support down back that is reliable at senior level. Grimes, Astbury, Ellis, Short, Hunt, Deledio, Lambert and Conca all spend time down back but it hasn’t been helping Rance too much. The positive for Richmond is they are likely to face a very undermanned Pies forward line this week. With no Moore, Elliott and Swan the Magpies forward line isn’t functioning that well itself. Rance is likely to take Travis Cloke out of the game almost entirely which will leave the goal scoring to the likes of Blair, White, Cox and the supporting cast from the midfield. This is the area Richmond can dominate in to give them a chance of the win.

It’s a big week for the Tigers. Home game at the MCG versus another big Melbourne club coming off the back of two unacceptable results. The pressure has been on all week at Tigerland and teams usually respond in two ways after such a bashing from the press. They either fire up and perform above expectations, or continue on with their slump as the real problems simply can’t be overcome. We should know early on during Friday night’s game which is going to occur, and if it’s the latter it really might get ugly in the stands. At selection they will be hoping Shane Edwards and Ben Griffiths are fit to return while Andrew Moore should get a promotion after playing really well in the VFL of late. It will be interesting to see how this Richmond group respond.



With the state of the two teams going into Friday night this may not be the most attractive game of football played this year. In fact the first matchup between the two was pretty ordinary and was only saved by a stunning finish. The outcome of this game depends more on which version of the Richmond football club turns up then anything else. If it’s the Richmond that won 5 out of 6 games in the middle of the season then it should win. But if it’s the Richmond who has failed to fight games out in recent weeks it will lose. The Magpies are definitely in the better form of the two but it could be argued that they are missing more quality players through injury than what the Tigers are.

There’s massive question marks over whether Fasolo or Moore get up for this game also, but even without them Collingwood has the superior midfield and should be able to dominate through there. If the Pies can take control of the middle they should be able to record their 9th win of 2016 and continue Richmond’s misery.




The Collingwood VFL team is a thing of beauty at the moment. They just recorded their 9th win in a row and are now one of a handful of genuine premiership contenders. This Saturday they welcome Coburg to the Holden Centre, game time is 1pm.


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