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Is Collingwood on the nose?

The unbearable stench of defeat? Nick Maxwell leads the Pies from the ground after the loss to Fremantle.

The unbearable stench of defeat? Nick Maxwell leads the Pies from the ground after the loss to Fremantle. Photo: Getty Images

Gone. Can't make top four. Going backwards. It's just on one-third of the way through the 2013 season, but not too early for plenty of definitive judgments to have been made, not just about those sides propping up the ladder, but in some cases those still in the top eight.

Ours is a game of increasingly hasty and sweeping statements, and it's Collingwood finding itself the subject of a few after its third loss of the season to Fremantle on Saturday night.

Consider for a moment, though, the following. If Carlton defeats St Kilda on Monday night, the Magpies will end round seven in ninth position, with a 4-3 win-loss record.

That's exactly the same situation as Hawthorn last year. Indeed, the Hawks, after being smashed by 10 goals against Richmond a fortnight after that, were 5-4. They'd finish 17-5, top of the ladder, and lose a grand final by 10 points.

That's not to argue that the Magpies are about to get on a similar roll and win 12 of their next 13, either. In fact, facing Geelong this week and Sydney the next, they could well slip to 4-5 after nine rounds.

But with 15 games to go, can a side as proven as the Pies, with their talent, experience and players such as Dayne Beams, Luke Ball, Alex Fasolo, Tyson Goldsack, Ben Johnson and Clinton Young not part of Saturday night's 22, really be dismissed as a flag chance?

The dim view of the Magpies' latest loss is that they were blown away at the start and overrun at the finish. The glass half-full version is they picked things up to the extent a 44-point deficit was reduced to five at the final change.

The round three loss to Hawthorn featured a poor second half but a first-half lead. In the Anzac Day loss to Essendon, Collingwood trailed by only two straight kicks seven minutes into the final term.

It's the patchiness of the Pies that has coach Nathan Buckley most concerned, the Freo loss a prime example. No side has scored fewer goals in first quarters than Collingwood, and the Pies have finished poorly, winning just two of seven final terms.

In contrast, they've won or broken even in four second terms, while their 35 goals in third quarters ranks No. 3. The proverbial nursery rhyme girl with the curl. Can it be straightened? Yes, though Collingwood's biggest opponent for the rest of 2013 may well be time.

Beams and Ball will obviously prove crucial additions to the mix, but can't be expected to return to their previous best without some serious game time under their belts. That's also an issue for the likes of skipper Nick Maxwell, Andrew Krakouer and Brent Macaffer. Alan Didak's potential input will be more a matter of hope than expectation, but his X-factor is still of value, as could be the long-kicking of Johnson and Young.

But the return of Beams and Ball in particular will significantly reduce the capacity of opponents to sit on the Pies' creative heartbeats, Scott Pendlebury and Dane Swan.

The Magpies are having trouble adapting to the increasing penchant for counter-attack, Alan Toovey's loss for the year a significant blow. But there's still the option of shifting wingman Harry O'Brien back to his former home, while Dale Thomas has already played good football off half-back, as can Goldsack.

Sure, there's plenty of ifs and buts about the Pies, yet a simple glance at their draw beyond the next fortnight should underline the folly of preparing a premature obituary for their chances.

From round 10, Collingwood plays the Brisbane Lions, Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Port Adelaide, Carlton, Adelaide, Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney. If that run doesn't guarantee eight straight wins, you'd think the Pies are at least capable of going 6-2. Jag them all and, even with losses to the Cats and Swans, they'd be 12-5 with five games left to play.

That would be a pretty handy position heading into August. But wherever Collingwood is by then, it's certainly far too early to be calling ''game over'' in early May.

57 comments

  • I think Rohan is going Eddie's way of ignoring the reality.Magpies won their 2013 matches on 5min rush in some quarter. They have not consistently win all quarters of footy this season. Don't give false hopes to Magpies fan. Change the players attitude.

    Commenter
    2010 Magpie fan
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    May 13, 2013, 4:00AM
    • 2010 Magpie Fan, Geelong does the same thing, able to blast away the opposition in 5-10 minute bursts. You need to watch games other than Collingwood, mate.

      Commenter
      Tinfoil Pie
      Date and time
      May 13, 2013, 11:41AM
  • Well if Darren Jolly stops bagging former players and actually attempts something that might help him break even with that great ruckmen Zac Dawson, they might be a chance

    Commenter
    Gaz
    Location
    Yarrawonga
    Date and time
    May 13, 2013, 7:28AM
    • Jolly's article was actually a well written peek into the world of sledging, and, far from "bagging" former team mates, he was willing to admit that he gave it out and got it back. It's a shame that Josh Fraser couldn't move on and work with Jolly - and I wouldn't mind betting if you put it to a vote most fans would prefer Jolly in the centre bounce and not Fraser!

      At least Huddo was willing to forgive and forget what is just a part of AFL

      Commenter
      LP
      Date and time
      May 13, 2013, 3:40PM
  • Only playing a handful of games outside your home state is such a massive advantage for them over the course of the year - they still have a better chance than Fremantle to get to the last day of the season.

    Commenter
    mike
    Date and time
    May 13, 2013, 8:22AM
    • Hopefully the long flight back from Subiaco is too much for the filth, and the cats smash them Saturday night. Preferably, it'd be nice if the game was over by three quarter time to allow the riff raff to exit the stadium early, allowing us cats fans time to savour another win and a pleasant trip home.

      Commenter
      Sir Stewart Wallace
      Date and time
      May 13, 2013, 8:22AM
      • Who knighted you?

        Commenter
        DanB
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        May 13, 2013, 9:19AM
      • Oh the smugness of the Geelong fan!

        Commenter
        Catherine
        Date and time
        May 13, 2013, 9:26AM
      • Hopefully the train from the farms down Geelong will break down and when it's fixed it will just turn around and take you back home to milk the cows and clean up all their crap, just like your comment.

        Commenter
        Anti-homozygosity
        Date and time
        May 13, 2013, 9:35AM
      • You should see and hear the behaviour of some Geelong supporters!. Cant you comment on footy without demeaning words like filth and riff raff? I can think of some very rude words to call immoderate supporters like you but like many Collingwood supporters have too much class to use them.
        Wouldnt it be great to have 8 matches at your very own boutique ground Skilled Stadium where a win is almost guaranteed!

        Commenter
        helly
        Location
        nunawading
        Date and time
        May 13, 2013, 9:43AM

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    AFL 2015

    Round 1
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    CAR 78 vs RIC 105 19:20MCG
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    MEL 115 vs GCF 89 13:40MCG
    SYD 72 vs ESS 60 16:35ANZ
    BRI 74 vs COL 86 19:20G
    WBU 97 vs WCE 87 19:20ES
    Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
    STK 78 vs GWS 87 13:10ES
    ADE 140 vs NTH 63 15:20Adelaide Oval
    FRE 75 vs PTA 68 18:40Domain Stadium
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    HAW 123 vs GEE 61 15:20MCG
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    WCE 131 vs CAR 62 20:10Domain Stadium
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    RIC 66 vs WBU 85 13:45MCG
    GWS 101 vs MEL 56 14:10SO
    COL 63 vs ADE 90 16:35ES
    GCF 76 vs STK 104 19:20MS
    PTA 44 vs SYD 92 19:40Adelaide Oval
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    NTH 133 vs BRI 51 16:40ES
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    Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
    COL 140 vs STK 66 19:50MCG
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    CAR 84 vs ESS 105 13:45MCG
    ADE 80 vs MEL 55 14:10Adelaide Oval
    SYD 111 vs GWS 90 16:35SCG
    NTH 105 vs PTA 113 19:20ES
    BRI 58 vs RIC 137 19:20G
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    GEE 105 vs GCF 96 15:20SS
    WCE 81 vs FRE 111 16:40Domain Stadium
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    RIC vs MEL 19:50MCG
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    STK vs CAR 11:10NZ
    ESS vs COL 14:40MCG
    GWS vs GCF 17:40SO
    PTA vs HAW 19:40Adelaide Oval
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    Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
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    SYD vs WBU 14:10SCG
    GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
    NTH vs HAW 19:20ES
    WCE vs GWS 19:40Domain Stadium
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    STK vs ESS 15:20ES
    ADE vs PTA 16:40Adelaide Oval
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    Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
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    NTH vs RIC 13:45BA
    WBU vs STK 14:10ES
    GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
    GCF vs ADE 17:10MS
    MEL vs SYD 19:20MCG
    FRE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
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    CAR vs GWS 16:35ES
    SYD vs GEE 19:20ANZ
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    BRI vs PTA 16:40G
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    Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
    GEE vs CAR 19:50ES
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    GWS vs ADE 14:10Spotless Stadium
    GCF vs COL 16:35MS
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    ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
    MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
    PTA vs RIC 16:40Adelaide Oval
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    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
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    Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
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    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
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    Round 11
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    GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
    WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
    NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
    Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
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    Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    AFL 2015
    Overall standings
    Team P W L D % Pts
    Adelaide Crows 3 3 0 0 171.27 12
    Sydney Swans 3 3 0 0 141.75 12
    Fremantle 3 3 0 0 138.76 12
    Hawthorn 3 2 1 0 166.33 8
    Richmond 3 2 1 0 139.37 8
    Collingwood 3 2 1 0 125.65 8
    GWS Giants 3 2 1 0 113.47 8
    Essendon 3 2 1 0 104.74 8
    View all
     
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