JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Big problem for Collingwood; times two

Opposing styles: Magpie ruckman Darren Jolly has problems with the leaping style of the Eagles' Nic Naitanui.

Opposing styles: Magpie ruckman Darren Jolly has problems with the leaping style of the Eagles' Nic Naitanui. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo


THEY are one and three on the ladder and as likely as any pair of teams to find themselves facing one another in the grand final.

So what are the issues for the Eagles and Pies?

The ruck dilemma - what to do about Cox and Naitanui?

This isn't a Collingwood problem, it is a weekly football problem. Still, it looms as match defining.

Nic Naitanui had a career-high 25 possessions and 31 hitouts last week, including the effortlessly spectacular highlight he manages each week - a shot at goal that had it been on target would have rivalled Buddy's run for the sort of display that re-calibrates the parameters of the idea of the possible on the football field.

Collingwood has no one to go with Naitanui, for the simple fact that no one has someone to go with Naitanui.

The tag-team with Dean Cox means there is no respite in the middle and raises the idea of whether an opponent likewise requires two elite rucks. The answer would be yes - if you had two elite rucks of similar style. Collingwood don't.

Cameron Wood could play along with Jolly but is extremely unlikely to do so. Nathan Buckley said pre-season he favoured one ruck and the evidence of his sides to date is that he is true to his word.

So they will likely go with their preferred mix of Darren Jolly with Chris Dawes cameos. By his admission Jolly prefers to body against a ruck and wrestle, and dislikes the players who play a game the opposite of his, such as the high-leaping Naitanui. The fact of Ben Reid coming back into the side adds flexibility to the other Collingwood talls, but also means they would be even more loath to add an additional ruck such as Wood to the mix and thus reduce their quota of running players.

How will Collingwood handle Ben Reid, Nathan Brown and Chris Tarrant playing together?

Incredibly this will be the first time Collingwood has had this problem since they recruited Chris Tarrant back to the club. It was mooted as a problem when he was brought back, but was made to look like prudent list management as key defenders suffered long-term injuries.

Against West Coast, even a West Coast without Josh Kennedy, the three tall defenders is not the burden it could be against others. A likely mix works with Tarrant going to Darling, Reid to Lynch and Brown minding the resting ruck Cox or Naitanui.

What about the other end of the ground?

West Coast will lack for Will Schofield's run but normally look to Eric Mackenzie to Travis Cloke and Darren Glass on Chris Dawes.

What about Luke Shuey?

The world saw the hit Luke Shuey took to the ribs against Carlton on national television. It is a tough argument to convince that he plays, but if he does he would be very tender.

Who does Scott Selwood shut down?

Last week on Chris Judd was the model of what a coach could ask of a tagger - stop one of the best players in the competition and hold him to a game among the worst of his career (12 touches) and get it 33 times yourself.

He had a bit of help from his big brother but it was a hell of an effort.

This week's choice of opponent is narrowed by Scott Pendlebury remaining out with his fractured leg.

So Dane Swan would be the obvious choice to tag, though the thought might be entertained of tasking him to Steele Sidebottom.

The young midfielder has a Kade Simpson-like ability to wound sides with his run while attention is focused on others.

Dale Thomas would be the other obvious thought, but Thomas himself has been given the head-to-head tag roles lately so the question could as easily be asked of Thomas:

Does Daisy go head-to-head with Kerr, Priddis or Shuey?

The answer would likely be probably not. Strictly inside players are not Thomas' preference. He needs to be used in a role that allows him to spread and not be sucked inside the packs for too long.

Winning in Melbourne?

This is the legitimacy test for West Coast. They have a lengthy injury list and have yet kept winning so they are a team demanding respect.

But they still need to erase the asterisk against them sitting on top of the ladder that they must win against good sides in Melbourne.

This is the classic eight-point game in football and for teams vying for home finals where the difference between hosting and visiting is so dramatically different the result becomes incredibly important.


  • and the point is? it is half way , still lots of footy left.

    what if cox and nic get an injury?

    at the end of the day we bend over for the pies , wipe the tears for them.

    so must be only the pies with problems and no other team in afl

    Date and time
    June 19, 2012, 10:11AM
    • the point is if they didnt write articles like this, all you'd get each year is a GF summary dom. so don't bag the articles!

      the real question is if it rains, will eagles lose their aerial advantage due to the monsters they have - very quickly people like lynch, darling, cox, natanui all become 50% effective in the wet.

      Date and time
      June 19, 2012, 10:20AM
    • I think 'bend over for the pies' is a long bow to draw. Most/All clubs want to play Collingwood at the MCG to benefit from gate and the AFL love the big attendance numbers. The Pies travel very well and usually play the best teams twice each year. This notion that other clubs go out of their way for Collingwood is a narrow view that just doesn't stack up. Other clubs and the AFL benefit greatly from the Magpies.

      Date and time
      June 19, 2012, 11:03AM
  • It makes no difference. Regardless of whether or not the Eagles win or lose they had/have quite possibly the softest draw of the year compared to the other teams in the 2011 top 8 and will almost guarantee them the top spot on the ladder come round 23. Add to that 14 Home Games for the year when its a proven fact that they don't play well away from Patersons stadium only highlights this further.

    Don't get me wrong the Eagles are an awesome side, however when an awesome side gets an easy run I would hardly call that fair on the other 17 teams in the comp. When, and only when, the AFL gets their act together and comes up with a fair and consistent draw FOR ALL TEAMS will the best team rise to the top.

    Date and time
    June 19, 2012, 11:02AM
    • Rob, people said the Eagles had an easy draw last year too. Then its ducking and free kicks. The fact is the draw works itself out over a few years. All teams work free kicks to their advantage and, if they have a large supporter base, get a good home ground advantage (Pies at MCG for example). The Eagles and the Dockers have the most difficult travel schedule of any teams in the comp every year, even being forced to fly from Perth to Tasmania to accommodate the Hawks. Collingwood gets numerous advantages with the MCG and all GF's regardless of who the best team was, are played at the MCG. We could also go on about the old father son rule too. The reality is the advantages are heavily in favour of Melbourne based teams. Although agree the Eagles draw so far has been quite light.

      Date and time
      June 19, 2012, 11:43AM
    • @Rob
      I sincerely hope you are not a Collingwood supporter becuase talking about another side having a soft draw if you do follow the Pies is just a little bit hypocritical.

      Date and time
      June 19, 2012, 1:50PM
    • Yeah, they should make West Coast travel out of Perth as much as the Pies travel out of Melbourne, that would make it fair. Oh wait.... And how is our draw easy, we don't play GC or GWS twice and play premiership favourites Collingwood and Hawthorn twice.

      Date and time
      June 19, 2012, 2:07PM
  • Steele Sidebottom has a "Kade Simpson-like ability"???

    What an insult to Steele Sidebottom! He has well and truly passed Kade Simpson's level of ability, and is currently playing at a level that Kade Simpson will never reach.

    Date and time
    June 19, 2012, 11:12AM
    • Kade Simpson has a good game every 6-7 weeks. Sidebottom is finding consistency Simpson could only dream of.

      Go EAGLES

      West Coast
      Date and time
      June 19, 2012, 12:38PM
  • So the headline says "Big problem for Collingwood; times two". That suggests to me that the article is probably going to mention Collingwood in some way. Nowhere in the article did the writer suggest "at the end of the day we bend over for the pies , wipe the tears for them. so must be only the pies with problems and no other team in afl". Dom's comment is him getting upset about reading an article about Collingwood. If Dom had have read the article properly he would have noticed the 4th sentence:

    "This isn't a Collingwood problem, it is a weekly football problem"

    If you don't care about Collingwood, don't read about them!

    Date and time
    June 19, 2012, 11:13AM

    More comments

    Comments are now closed

    Related Coverage

    AFL 2015

    Round 1
    Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
    CAR 78 vs RIC 105 Report Stats
    Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
    MEL 115 vs GCF 89 Stats
    SYD 72 vs ESS 60 Stats
    BRI 74 vs COL 86 Stats
    WBU 97 vs WCE 87 Stats
    Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
    STK 78 vs GWS 87 Stats
    ADE 140 vs NTH 63 Stats
    FRE 75 vs PTA 68 Stats
    Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
    HAW 123 vs GEE 61 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 2
    Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
    WCE 131 vs CAR 62 Stats
    Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
    RIC 66 vs WBU 85 Report Stats
    GWS 101 vs MEL 56 Stats
    COL 63 vs ADE 90 Report Stats
    GCF 76 vs STK 104 Stats
    PTA 44 vs SYD 92 Stats
    Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
    GEE 60 vs FRE 104 Stats
    ESS 78 vs HAW 76 Stats
    NTH 133 vs BRI 51 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 3
    Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
    COL 140 vs STK 66 Stats
    Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
    CAR 84 vs ESS 105 Stats
    ADE 80 vs MEL 55 Stats
    SYD 111 vs GWS 90 Report Stats
    NTH 105 vs PTA 113 Stats
    BRI 58 vs RIC 137 Stats
    Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
    HAW 127 vs WBU 57 Stats
    GEE 105 vs GCF 96 Stats
    WCE 81 vs FRE 111 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 4
    Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
    RIC 51 vs MEL 83 Stats
    Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
    STK 81 vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
    ESS 49 vs COL 69 Report Stats
    GWS 119 vs GCF 53 Stats
    PTA 99 vs HAW 91 Stats
    FRE 74 vs SYD 60 Stats
    Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
    BRI 65 vs WCE 118 Stats
    GEE 67 vs NTH 83 Stats
    WBU 125 vs ADE 68 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 5
    Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
    CAR 45 vs COL 120 Stats
    Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
    RIC 76 vs GEE 85 Stats
    SYD 73 vs WBU 77 Stats
    GCF 118 vs BRI 54 Stats
    NTH 70 vs HAW 130 Stats
    WCE 120 vs GWS 33 Stats
    Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
    MEL 50 vs FRE 118 Stats
    STK 80 vs ESS 82 Stats
    ADE 91 vs PTA 115 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 6
    Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
    COL 59 vs GEE 100 Stats
    Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
    NTH 109 vs RIC 74 Stats
    WBU 87 vs STK 94 Stats
    GWS 108 vs HAW 98 Stats
    GCF 78 vs ADE 119 Stats
    MEL 50 vs SYD 88 Stats
    FRE 80 vs ESS 52 Stats
    Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
    CAR 75 vs BRI 84 Report Stats
    PTA 68 vs WCE 78 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 7
    Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
    ESS 82 vs NTH 93 Stats
    Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
    ADE 119 vs STK 73 Stats
    HAW 155 vs MEL 50 Stats
    CAR 57 vs GWS 135 Stats
    SYD 120 vs GEE 77 Stats
    WCE 135 vs GCF 43 Stats
    Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
    WBU 88 vs FRE 101 Stats
    RIC 105 vs COL 100 Report Stats
    BRI 102 vs PTA 65 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 8
    Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
    GEE 140 vs CAR 63 Report Stats
    Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
    STK 78 vs WCE 131 Report Stats
    GWS 108 vs ADE 84 Report Stats
    GCF 63 vs COL 132 Report Stats
    HAW 69 vs SYD 73 Report Stats
    FRE 115 vs NTH 42 Report Stats
    Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
    ESS 136 vs BRI 78 Report Stats
    MEL 103 vs WBU 64 Report Stats
    PTA 43 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 9
    Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
    Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
    MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
    WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
    RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
    ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
    BRI vs STK 13:10G
    COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
    WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 10
    Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
    FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
    Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
    GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
    ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
    PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
    NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
    STK vs HAW 16:40ES
    Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
    View All Fixtures
    Round 11
    Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
    PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
    GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
    WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
    NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
    Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
    COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
    STK vs MEL 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 12
    Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
    ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
    Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
    GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
    WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
    Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
    GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
    View All Fixtures
    Round 13
    Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
    FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
    Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
    Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
    BRI vs ADE 16:35G
    STK vs WBU 19:20ES
    Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 14
    Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
    Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
    COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
    Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
    GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
    WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
    MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
    Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs STK 13:10ES
    ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
    FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 15
    Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
    PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
    Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
    WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
    NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
    WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
    HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
    BRI vs SYD 16:40G
    View All Fixtures
    Round 16
    Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
    NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
    Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
    GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
    GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
    COL vs WCE 16:35ES
    SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
    FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
    PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
    STK vs RIC 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 17
    Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
    Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
    ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
    RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
    ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
    BRI vs NTH 19:20G
    Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
    WBU vs COL 13:10ES
    MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
    WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 18
    Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
    Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
    GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
    COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
    SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
    CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
    GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
    Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
    PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
    ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
    FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 19
    Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
    ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
    COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
    WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
    BRI vs GCF 16:35G
    GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
    WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
    GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
    STK vs FRE 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 20
    Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
    Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
    NTH vs STK 14:10BA
    PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
    GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
    BRI vs CAR 19:20G
    Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
    WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
    FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 21
    Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
    Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
    COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
    GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
    GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
    STK vs GEE 19:20ES
    ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
    NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
    CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
    WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 22
    Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
    GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
    Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
    HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
    NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
    ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
    GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
    Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
    ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
    STK vs SYD 15:20ES
    FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 23
    Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
    COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
    RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
    HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
    GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
    SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
    MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
    BRI vs WBU 00:00G
    PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
    WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    AFL 2015
    Overall standings
    Team P W L D % Pts
    Fremantle 8 8 0 0 155.29 32
    West Coast Eagles 8 6 2 0 158.17 24
    Sydney Swans 8 6 2 0 127.36 24
    GWS Giants 8 6 2 0 118.87 24
    Collingwood 8 5 3 0 129.90 20
    Adelaide Crows 8 5 3 0 116.32 20
    Hawthorn 8 4 4 0 145.81 16
    Richmond 8 4 4 0 107.64 16
    View all
    Featured advertisers