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.

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?

    Commenter
    Ross
    Location
    Sydney
    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.

      Commenter
      genghis
      Location
      Lounge
      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.

       

      Commenter
      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?

      Commenter
      Jimako
      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.

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

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

      Commenter
      BC
      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.

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

      Commenter
      Gaz
      Location
      Yarrawonga
      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.

      Commenter
      EarthBob
      Location
      Earth
      Date and time
      September 19, 2012, 7:15AM

More comments

Make a comment

You are logged in as [Logout]

All information entered below may be published.

Error: Please enter your screen name.

Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Please enter your comment.

Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

Post to

You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

Thank you

Your comment has been submitted for approval.

Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Featured advertisers