COLLINGWOOD 1.2 3.7 5.10 8.13 (61) MELBOURNE 1.3 2.4 3.6 3.10 (28)
GOALS Collingwood: D Beams 2 T Cloke 2 B Macaffer J Elliott S Pendlebury T Goldsack. Melbourne: B Vince J Howe N Jones.
BEST Collingwood: S Pendlebury B Macaffer C Young H Lumumba J Frost P Seedsman. Melbourne: N Jones D Cross B Vince J Viney L Dunn.
Injuries: Collingwood: J White (finger) replaced in selected side by B Grundy.
UMPIRES Robert Findlay, Chris Kamolins, Leigh Fisher.
OFFICIAL CROWD 68,124 at MCG.
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Collingwood have defeated a plucky Demons outfit by 33 points in the Queen's Birthday clash at the MCG.
The first stage of Paul Roos’ reconstruction of the Demons was to ensure they were never out of games. This he has achieved in part. The next stage is to get them in them.
Roos might also prefer to build that plan against another opponent – he had lost his last 11 games as a coach against Collingwood.
Melbourne was never, by the measure of the scoreboard and general play, uprooted from the contest at the MCG. The team was always in touch but never threatening to win the game. Why? Well they kicked three goals for the game, which is a fairly clear indication of where their problems reside.
The fact the Demons contained Collingwood to just a single-digit return of goals on a dry Queen’s Birthday explains how they have constructed a disciplined defensive structure and mindset. It also explains how 68,124 people can attend a football match and make so little noise.
‘‘It wasn’t one that will be in Footy Flashbacks I wouldn’t have thought,’’ Nathan Buckley quipped of the spectacle, which was absorbing if not thrilling. It was a game of grit and attrition rather than blitz.
The Demons were on the board inside the first minute and Collingwood answered rapidly but any sense this would precipitate a shootout was scotched when not another goal was scored for the quarter. Five goals were kicked for the half – between the teams.
Both sides pushed up so heavily to the midfield contest they were both stifled for run and carry forward. When the Pies went forward they more readily searched out the Demon defender in front than their own forward in the first term and Melbourne went too high and long onto its forwards’ heads.
Jack Frost’s reach was confounding Chris Dawes’ attacks on the ball in the air and Lynden Dunn was shepherding Travis Cloke into unfavourable angles to lead.
‘‘My closing speed has always been OK and I have the long arms, which I have to thank mum and dad for, so I have been able to get a fist in quite well,’’ Frost said.
Jeremy Howe booted an early one in the second term and the rhythm and flow of the game was being determined by Melbourne. Collingwood worried how to work the ball forward.
Eventually Collingwood wrested the ascendancy, controlling more of the flow through the middle but with a loose behind the ball both sides found loose forwards difficult to isolate.
‘‘It was a low stoppage game. and being a side that wants to control the footy, we didn’t do a good enough job of preventing them from doing that,’’ Buckley said.
‘‘They had 120 uncontested marks. That’s not what we wanted, we could have done that better. But at the same time they only went inside 50 35 times, so we’ve done something right.’’
Brodie Grundy stretched Melbourne’s defence for height with three marks inside 50 in the second term but after the first two set shots drifted wide and a snap went out on the full he played on from the third mark seemingly reluctant to take another shot.
Five goals from Cloke last week did not beget an absolute return to form. The full-forward had minimal influence early but worked his way into the game as he began working to run more and present after pressing higher up the ground and the midfielders improved their delivery.
After the main break Collingwood pushed Cloke further out to centre half-forward and began channelling the attack through Tyson Goldsack and in turn Scott Pendlebury and Dane Swan.
Mixing it up structurally and getting Cloke to roam more searchingly drew him out and extended Dunn.
‘‘We were prepared to camp in behind the ball too much in that first half,’’ Buckley said.
Melbourne had just two free kicks for the first half and five for the game. While there is no prescription on how many frees a side should get, this was still a surprisingly low number, and Collingwood had the better rub of the green for the day.
Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury will play few more workmanlike matches where he comes away possibly – maybe – the best player on the ground but only by virtue of the fact there were so few others to stand out.
Buckley put tagger Brent Macaffer on Dom Tyson and he closed him down, amassed possession himself and kicked a goal, and moved onto Nathan Jones in the last quarter, keeping him to three touches.
Daniel Cross beat Dayne Beams for most of the day but when Jay Kennedy-Harris came on late in the third term and dropped an uncontested mark that he would rather not see on replay Beams was able to convert. Just after the final break Beams again was able to convert and despite a bad day he was able to contribute.
Collingwood had more of the overlap run with Paul Seedsman, Heritier Lumumba and Clinton Young carrying the ball through the corridor and wings to give the team more drive than Melbourne had.