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Plan B for the Pies if Dawes is out

IT WILL become the selection question of preliminary final week should Chris Dawes lose his battle of wounded knee: Who replaces him and supports Darren Jolly?

Few of the past and present coaches The Age canvassed on this thorny question last night thought there was an easy solution for Collingwood if Dawes didn't get up for Friday. It was a case of choosing between lesser problems, if not evils.

Former Collingwood coach Tony Shaw thought Nathan Buckley should deploy Tyson Goldsack as the relief ruckman, while bringing in nippy small Ben Sinclair rather than a tall such as forward Jackson Paine.

A seasoned assistant coach from a rival club said he would go with Goldsack too, but would promote Paine. The problem was that Goldsack was a ''tackling machine'' in the front half and removing him from the forward line would deprive the Pies of some of that ''frontal pressure'' that they rediscovered last Saturday against West Coast.

Only a minority of those surveyed liked the notion of Cameron Wood, a specialist ruckman, returning as a second ruck.

While Dawes has struggled this season, his role as the back-up ruck and big-forward foil for Travis Cloke isn't easily filled by the Magpies, who have a clear preference for playing one specialist ruck.

Buckley, as the coaches acknowledged, would appear to have three options for filling the Dawes' role:

1. Recall specialist ruckman Wood, who hasn't played at senior level - or at all - since he played in place of Jolly for the round 22 game in Perth against West Coast's Nic Naitanui and Dean Cox; in rucking terms, this was like being promoted to open the batting against Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson. Wood - and the Woods - floundered. Jolly's presence was critical to Collingwood's reversal of that result at the weekend.

The advantage of bringing in Wood is that a) Jolly's banged-up body would receive respite, b) that the Swans play two rucks in Shane Mumford and Mike Pyke, the latter isn't Cox or Naitanui and the opposition doesn't gain rotational advantages, and c) there's genuine insurance if Jolly is hurt.

The last point is the most compelling argument for Wood. In the 2002 grand final, the Brisbane Lions lost Beau McDonald in the first quarter. Had they not played Clark Keating and McDonald, what would have happened?

The downside is that Wood hasn't played since August 25, isn't versatile and offers little besides ruck relief. On the basis of Buckley's form thus far, it doesn't shape as likely - the Pies were sufficiently horrified by round 22 to play Nick Maxwell, jockey-sized relative to Essendon's David Hille, as the second ruck.

2. Promote Paine, a first-year tall forward, in lieu of Dawes - the same structure the Pies used in the round 23 game against Essendon. Since Maxwell isn't available this week, the obvious candidates for the relieving role are Goldsack, who is 193 centimetres, with what an assistant coach deemed ''a really good spring'', or the stronger-bodied Nathan Brown. In this scenario, Jolly would take every centre bounce, as he did in the Essendon game.

3. Bring in a smaller player, rather than a tall forward, bearing in mind that fresh legs might be paramount. Paul Seedsman, Ben Sinclair and Marty Clarke were the emergencies last Saturday; presumably, the inclusion would be one of the first two, Seedsman having performed well against the Swans at the same venue in round 19.

To compensate for the loss of Dawes in attack, Chris Tarrant would likely be pushed forward - at least at the outset, with Goldsack and/or Brown filling in as the relief ruckman.

This third option is Shaw's preference. ''I'd ruck Goldsack,'' said the ex-coach and club great. ''He's a good runner, he can jump … I'd bring in Sinclair as another small.'' Shaw didn't believe another tall target was needed in attack.

One slow on Goldsack as second ruck would be his slight frame, with one former coach noting he was 13 kilograms lighter than Dawes.

In days of yore, Collingwood was wont to throw debutants to the wolves in finals. But the notion that the Pies would promote leviathan youngster Jarrod Witts (208 centimetre) or skinny Jonathon Ceglar (198) for their first game against the Swans can be dismissed. Clubs are far less adventurous in these measured times.

If Dawes doesn't play, any option taken will be a departure from the norm. None is without risk.

39 comments so far

  • Regardless of who they use, I'm sure they will use the same illegal blocking tactics that they used against the Eagles rucks last week, and that they seem to have copied from Hawthorn, who used it against both Sydney and West Coast recently. Only Leigh Mathhews seemed to notice this. None of the other commentators or umpires!!! And if Brown is used in the ruck, who is going to put their hand on the shoulder of the leading forward to prevent them jumping for a mark?

    Date and time
    September 18, 2012, 5:49PM
    • Ross, are you talking about saturdays game where the umpires thought they were in Perth, gave the eagles 4 free kicks right in front of the goal, allowed Cloke to be hanged onto all night, gave selwood his usual ducking his head free kicks and Natanui everything as he really couldn't step up and showed that he is not quite a great afl footballer yet, just very athletic good footballer, not a great. the same game where a goal was awarded to collingwood, the ump allowed the scoreboard to change, ran the ball back to the middle, almost bounced it then stopped and awarded a point.

      Date and time
      September 18, 2012, 6:43PM
    • Yeah, it was particularly evident last week against West Coast. It's really noticeable with Jolly, because he can't jump. I was really surprised a free wasn't paid for it. During the home and away season, the umps were hot on it. Come finals, they don't call it. On one hand, it was good they didn't pay a picky free, but on the other, it's against the rules. Hmm.


      Julius Seizure
      Date and time
      September 18, 2012, 6:51PM
    • hmmm i just watched the smart replay on AFL web site for the WCE and Collingwood clash and couldn't see what you described - after which goal was the ball up antics your describing occured?

      Date and time
      September 18, 2012, 8:59PM
    • "Regardless of who they use, I'm sure they will use the same illegal blocking tactics that they used against the Eagles rucks last week"

      That's a funny way to describe how Pendles was held onto illegally at almost every bounce.

      "And if Brown is used in the ruck, who is going to put their hand on the shoulder of the leading forward to prevent them jumping for a mark?"

      Nicnak did more of that that anyone else last week. It was quite obvious too. How that got missed, I'll never know.

      Date and time
      September 18, 2012, 9:14PM
  • chris dawes and cameron wood aren't good enough to carry mike pyke's boots.

    the moon
    Date and time
    September 18, 2012, 5:52PM
    • I doubt if they'd want to.

      Date and time
      September 18, 2012, 9:01PM
    • You've missed the point mate. they're not good enough, they wouldn't be asked. It's not a question of whether they'd want to or not.

      The big Canadian's taking monster pack marks and kicking a few handy snags, been impacting games late in the season. What's Dawes done? Not much The only game he had any impact in was the first final, he got dropped and Cloke finally pulled his head out of his woohoo.

      the moon
      Date and time
      September 18, 2012, 10:26PM
    • who's Mike Pyke?

      Date and time
      September 19, 2012, 7:05AM
    • You asked what Dawes has done? - answer - he collected a premiership medallion after kicking 2 goals in the 2010 Grand Final replay.
      So while you lick Pike's boots Dawes can shine his premiership medallion.

      Date and time
      September 19, 2012, 7:15AM

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AFL 2015

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ADE 140 vs NTH 63 Stats
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COL 140 vs STK 66 Stats
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CAR 45 vs COL 120 Stats
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SYD 73 vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118 vs BRI 54 Stats
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WCE 120 vs GWS 33 Stats
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MEL 50 vs FRE 118 Stats
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ESS 82 vs NTH 93 Stats
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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
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WBU 88 vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105 vs COL 100 Report Stats
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Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140 vs CAR 63 Stats
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STK vs WCE 13:45ES
GWS vs ADE 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs COL 16:35MS
HAW vs SYD 19:20MCG
FRE vs NTH 19:40Domain Stadium
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Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
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MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
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ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
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COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
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CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
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NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
STK vs HAW 16:40ES
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Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
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GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
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GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
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Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
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COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
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PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
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HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
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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
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MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
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Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
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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
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ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
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Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
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COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
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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
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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
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WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 21
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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
Fremantle 7 7 0 0 144.44 28
West Coast Eagles 7 5 2 0 156.58 20
Sydney Swans 7 5 2 0 130.51 20
Adelaide Crows 7 5 2 0 123.60 20
GWS Giants 7 5 2 0 117.45 20
Hawthorn 7 4 3 0 152.96 16
Collingwood 7 4 3 0 120.42 16
Western Bulldogs 7 4 3 0 100.00 16
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