Through all the discussion of Collingwood's various on- and off-field challenges of the past couple of years, there's one name you seldom hear, that of Scott Pendlebury. That's because the champion midfielder is the Pies' most solid citizen on both fronts, his example as a leader impeccable, and his 42-disposal effort on Friday night arguably the best of his 163-game career.
Pendlebury doesn't so much explode from traffic as glide out of it, maintaining his standards across all aspects of the game. He ranks in the top 15 in no fewer than six categories, both contested and uncontested. Just a class act, every week.
Geelong on its own patch is always a big ask, tougher still when it's in the wet against the strong-bodied Cats. But while Melbourne's first three weeks under Neil Craig had been encouraging, Saturday was a disaster, and a good reminder to the Demons how far off the pace they remain. This was no 186-point job, but then even on that horrible afternoon two years ago, Melbourne managed 32 inside-50s to the Cats' 69. On Saturday, it was a scarcely believable 70-19 - a record low, and a record differential, the sort of figures you would associate more with a lop-sided game of junior football.
Speaking of which, we know we need to be patient with the AFL's pet development project, but boy, are the Giants starting to test our patience. Last week's near-thing against the Bulldogs encouraged. Sunday's 129-point flogging at the hands of Sydney was a very poor follow-up and, but for inaccuracy, the margin could well have been more than 150.
The atmosphere was more befitting that of a practice match. GWS has won 10 of a possible 60 quarters this season, and its three 100-point-plus defeats have all come in the past nine games. The AFL must get more bang for its considerable buck than that.
Another decent effort for zero reward as good as finishes finals hopes, with Geelong and Fremantle to face in next fortnight.
Tremendous win makes it three from four, and with decent run to come, not without faint finals hopes.
Not super-impressive effort, but at least got the job done. Huge game against North could determine finals fate.
Magpies looking more like their old selves. Tardiness an issue, but form of leaders Pendlebury and Swan is certainly not.
Great start, then Bombers sat back, almost paying ultimate price. Heppell stood up in Watson’s absence and Winderlich handy up
Dockers held off Eagle challenge, then turned on the power in last term, the result a win and second-highest score of season.
Another clinic at the Cattery, Johnson on fire and Caddy offering most promising glimpses yet. Cats right back to their best.
Competitive loss again for the Suns despite heartbeat Ablett being relatively subdued and loss of key defender Thompson.
Really poor effort after coming so close last week. Need to show more.
Very business-like win in potentially tricky assignment, Franklin barely missed, skipper Hodge a star.
Never in the hunt in the wet, record lows for inside 50 entries and differential. Didn’t adapt to the conditions.
More disaster, a fourth 30-plus point lead blown, a seventh loss by 16 points or less, and a catalogue of injuries. The proverbial ‘’what if’’ season.
Good lesson for young side about the standard required at top end. Skipper Boak led the way, but more need to stand up to hang on to spot in the eight.
Broke their duck against Gold Coast, but that was about it in shocking game. Need much more with Fremantle, Sydney and Hawthorn over next three weeks.
No problems with effort, but plenty with execution, forward line a mess and wasting far too many opportunities.
Picnic for the Swans, 51 scoring shots, 13 individual goalkickers, McVeigh, Hannebery and Malceski doing their stuff.
Eagles gave it a crack, but couldn’t last distance against local rival. Darling a powerhouse up forward, but few went missing when it mattered.
Dogs gave it everything after being jumped at start, and walk away with pride. Dahlhaus a driver in second half, and Liberatore solid indeed midfield.