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A humbled Pie to flick the flop

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BEN Reid had a good year and a bad game; Ryan Schoenmakers had an adequate year and a bad mistake.

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Unfortunately both were in the biggest games their teams played last year. Both have had six months to labour with the odious memory.

Collingwood's Reid has a first chance for atonement tonight, and Schoenmakers also has his opportunity for redemption with his selection for Hawthorn.

Schoenmakers' mistake was to fumble a mark in the dire final moments of the preliminary final. It was one error among many in a match, but its timing was so critical.

Reid's fault was to be comprehensively beaten by Tom Hawkins in the grand final. The All-Australian defender was monstered by the boy who became a man in a quarter of football.


Ben Hart, the new coach of Collingwood's back line, says: ''Looking at the way Ben has responded over the summer, you can see he not only wants to make up for the grand final but he just wants to get better as a player. No matter what happens, you can't change the past, but you can write the future by the way you go about it, and the fact he comes up against one of the best forwards in the competition is a great opportunity for him.''

There were mitigating factors in Reid's performance in the grand final. Like his side, he had had a good year, but, like his team, he was physically flagging as the denouement was reached.

Before the grand final, he had been restricted by a hamstring, but that did not hinder his game. The more pertinent issue arose late in the third quarter when he suffered a lower leg problem that denied him strength in the last quarter as Tom Hawkins moved him about as he wished.

Tonight Reid will be presented with an opportunity to recover some lost reputation.

He will confront Lance Franklin, without the comfort of either experienced key defenders Chris Tarrant or Nathan Brown. Nor will captain Nick Maxwell be there. For support, Franklin will have the callow Lachlan Keefe.

In opting not to push David Hale into the ruck, selecting instead a rookie ruck to oppose Darren Jolly, Hawthorn is plainly trying to stretch Collingwood's short supply of tall defenders.

''He will have some experience around him, Heath Shaw, Harry O'Brien, Alan Toovey are all still there. It is about team defence,'' Hart said.

Earlier this year in an interview with The Age's Jake Niall, Reid was eager not to offer an excuse for his poor grand final.

''I guess I had a reasonable year,'' the All-Australian centre half-back said. ''When that sort of stuff comes [at] the end of the year it's definitely not what you want.

''You know, I've completely forgotten all about the end of the year now. All I'm focused on now is just playing 2012.

''I'm disappointed in how I played, but at the same time I've just completely forgotten about it and, yeah, everyone has shit games.''


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