Ryan Griffen was a standout in the win over the Power. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Michael Klein
Last Five Meetings
Round 6, 2012 – Collingwood 98 d Western Bulldogs 77 at Etihad
Round 6, 2011 – Collingwood 105 d Western Bulldogs 57 at MCG
Qualifying Final, 2010 – Collingwood 124 d Western Bulldogs 62 at MCG
Round 11, 2010 – Collingwood 113 d Western Bulldogs 103 at Etihad
Round 1, 2010 – Collingwood 129 d Western Bulldogs 93 at Etihad
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Down on troops at the moment, Nathan Buckley has kept the faith with his young brigade for the clash with the upstart Western Bulldogs . Talented young goalsneak Jamie Elliott comes back in to the Collingwood squad after missing the demolition of Brisbane, but with the likes of Dayne Beams, Dale Thomas, Alex Fasolo, Tyson Goldsack and Ben Johnson still out, Buckley has the chance to get some games in to rookies Kyle Martin, Sam Dwyer and Ben Kennedy.
The Magpies are in the midst of their softest part of the draw for the season. Back-to-back wins over the Demons and Lions should be followed up by easy victories over the Bulldogs and the struggling Power. The long-term injury concerns like Beams, Thomas and Fasolo could be ready by the time the ‘Pies reach a tough-ish run home.
The Bulldogs have won their past two, including a gem of a performance in the Darwin heat and humidity in round 10. The good news is Matthew Boyd (calf) and Adam Cooney (hamstring) look like being available after missing that hard-fought nine-point win . Eagles recruit Koby Stevens appears to have overcome a corked thigh but Tory Dickson (ankle) and Ayce Cordy (fibula stress fracture) haven’t come up, leaving the forward line looking a little shallow.
(Magpies) Dane Swan – He started the year on fire leading the Magpies’ possession count the first four games of the season, but not surprisingly, a dip in Dane Swan’s production corresponded with a rough ride from rounds five to nine where Collingwood lost three games in five starts. The ball-magnet has returned to somewhere near his best as the ‘Pies beat up on Brisbane and Melbourne, getting 75 touches across the two games. The Bulldogs have issues at both ends of the ground, but he’ll have a battle on his hands in the middle with the Doggies’ veterans working away.
(Bulldogs) Ryan Griffen – For some time Ryan Griffen has lived in Matthew Boyd’s shadow in pundits’ observations of who the best midfielder, and player, is at the Western Bulldogs. With Boyd having calf issues for most of this season, Griffen has lifted his game another notch and produced probably his best performance of the year in the tight win over the Power. He picked up 40 disposals and laid nine tackles in a superb effort. Given Collingwood’s general reluctance to tag players, Griffen could have another field day on Sunday.
After a seven-game losing run, the Bulldogs have eked out nine-point wins against both St Kilda and Port Adelaide. On both occasions the young Doggies ran the game out the better, but they’ll need to be up for the contest from the word ‘go’ against Collingwood. The Magpies suffocated Brisbane in the first half in their easy win at the ‘Gabba two weeks back, and a similar high-powered effort could see this one over at the long break. The Magpies have won five straight against the Bulldogs and won 10 of their last 11 at Etihad Stadium. Magpies by 39 points
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