Collingwood v Essendon

Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au
Dayne Beams has been in blistering form for Collingwood this season. Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au

Collingwood will try to arrest a two-game losing streak on Saturday night at the MCG against an Essendon side which has lost six on the bounce.  Much has changed since the Magpies triumphed in a one-point thriller on Anzac Day at the ‘G in round five.  While Collingwood is sitting comfortably in the top eight, James Hird’s Bombers have been in freefall over the past three months, after starting the year with eight wins from their first nine games.

The ‘Pies welcome back Andrew Krakouer from a knee reconstruction, and the inclusion of the livewire small forward couldn’t have come at a better time with his side posting just 28 goals in total across its last three games; the worst return of any team in the league over that period.

Where it Will be Won – Last week Essendon let Richmond rack up a whopping 412 disposals, and if Collingwood’s on-ballers get anywhere near that mark, it will be a long night for ‘Dons fans.  Dayne Beams appears the man most likely to take advantage of the spluttering Bombers midfield – Jobe Watson, aside.  Beams has led the Magpies’ possession count in their last four games and has lifted his average from 22.8 disposals per game last year to 31.2 this season, which is fourth best in the league behind perennial ball magnets Dane Swan, Gary Ablett and Matthew Boyd.  He has also rocketed in to Brownlow Medal contention alongside teammates Swan and Scott Pendlebury.

Prediction – Nathan Buckley has dropped the underperforming Chris Dawes, but even if fellow struggler Travis Cloke doesn’t hit his straps, Collingwood should still find more than enough avenues to goal through its small forwards and array of goalkicking midfielders. Collingwood 39+

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