Magpies Try To Swan Through Round One

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Dane Swan has dominated the Kangaroos in previous matches. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Last 5 Matches

Round 21, 2012 – North Melbourne Kangaroos 91 d Collingwood Magpies 61
Round 16, 2011 – Collingwood Magpies 147 d North Melbourne Kangaroos 30
Round 2, 2011 – Collingwood Magpies 143 d North Melbourne Kangaroos 56
Round 7, 2010 – Collingwood Magpies 157 d North Melbourne Kangaroos 91
Round 6, 2009 – Collingwood Magpies 127 d North Melbourne Kangaroos 75


Collingwood has no shortage of injury worries heading into this game, but over the past few years the Magpies have shown they can win regardless of which cattle they have on the park. Luke Ball (knee), Alan Didak (hamstring) and Andrew Krakouer (match fitness) will all be missing, along with Dale Thomas (ankle) and Alex Fasolo (hamstring).  Defender Ben Reid has overcome a knee injury to take his place in the side.

No such problem over at Arden Street as Brad Scott only has to deal with the suspensions Brent Harvey and Scott McMahon. North Melbourne was the competition’s big improver in the second half of 2012, but using the combined total of games won last season by their opponents, they have the hardest draw in the AFL this season.  Sudanese refugee Majak Daw has been named on an extended bench but is unlikely to make his senior debut this week. 

This match will be a good test for the Kangas, as they managed to knock off the ‘Pies at the tail-end of a six-game winning streak last season. Collingwood had smashed them the previous four encounters, winning by an average of over 80 points . It was probably North Melbourne’s biggest scalp of the season and an important win for an improving group of young players.

Key Men

(Kangaroos) Drew Petrie – In his three previous matches against Collingwood, Drew Petrie had managed just two goals prior to the round 21 victory last season. In that match he was a focal point up forward taking eight marks and booting three goals. Robbie Tarrant also kicked three and Lachie Hansen two, as the Magpies struggled to contain North’s marking forwards. The Kangaroos won 12 of the 15 games in which Petrie kicked multiple goals, so if he can put his stamp on this game then North will be right in the mix.

(Magpies) Dane Swan – So Dane Swan missed the last clash with North Melbourne and the Kangas won by 30 points . In the four previous matches he averaged 37.5 disposals per game and the Magpies smoked North on every occasion. A coincidence, perhaps, but there’s no doubt Collingwood is a far different proposition with Swan in the team. He was out due to a club-enforced suspension last time around, and the start of this season hasn’t been smooth sailing due to comments made in the media, but if the Brownlow medallist has his head switched on, then the Roos have their work cut out in the midfield.


Prediction

Both of these teams were impressive in the pre-season and not far off qualifying for the NAB Cup grand final. The fact of the matter is that the ‘Pies have had the wood on North Melbourne for some time, and despite the Kangaroos’ young guns showing signs of maturity towards the end of last season, the black and whites have too much experience and too many weapons in an intriguing season opener. Magpies by 22 points

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