Magpies Try To Fly In To Finals On A High

Image courtesy of foxsports.com.au/Colleen Petch/News Limited
Nathan Brown shut down Jarryd Roughead last week. Image courtesy of foxsports.com.au/Colleen Petch/News Limited
Last Five Matches

Semi Final, 2012 – Collingwood 73 d West Coast 60 at MCG
Round 22, 2012 – West Coast 107 d Collingwood 58 at Patersons Stadium
Round 13, 2012 – Collingwood 85 d West Coast 82 at MCG
Qualifying Final, 2011 – Collingwood 82 d West Coast 62 at MCG
Round 10, 2011 – Collingwood 105 d West Coast 53 at MCG


Form

     Rd 17       Rd 18       Rd 19       Rd 20       Rd 21   
Collingwood       L    W  W  W  L
West Coast   L  L  W  W  L

It has been a case of history repeating for Collingwood the past fortnight; the Magpies maintained their phenomenal record at ANZ Stadium in downing Sydney by 29 points in round 20, but as has been the trend against Hawthorn in recent years, they couldn’t the Hawks from putting points on the board with the league’s benchmark outfit recording a comfortable 35-point victory .

Whatever slim hope West Coast had of playing finals has just about gone after it was dusted up by a rampant Geelong last Saturday night. The Eagles managed just two goals to half-time as the Cats went on to record a whopping 66-point win . Another heavy loss by Essendon to North Melbourne shows the Eagles win over the Bombers in round 20 was nothing to crow about, and their only other win in the last six weeks came when they squeaked home against an undermanned Gold Coast side at Patersons Stadium.

Collingwood has recalled veteran Alan Didak for the first time in three months while speedster Ben Kennedy is back in the team, as well. Jamie Elliott (hamstring) and Ben Sinclair (shoulder) are missing through injury. A hamstring injury has sidelined Eagles star Luke Shuey while premiership star Andrew Embley has been dropped ahead of what will probably be his 250th and final AFL game next weekend. Matt Rosa and Chris Masten return to the side.


Key Men

(Magpies) Nathan Brown – There weren’t too many Magpies who got the better of their Hawthorn opposites last Friday night, but Nathan Brown was one of the team’s standouts. While Lance Franklin had his way with Lachlan Keeffe, Brown blanketed in-form key forward Jarryd Roughead. The Hawks’ big man failed to take a mark the entire game and finished with just one goal as Brown showed why he is one of the most underrated defenders in the competition. The challenges keep coming with Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling looking to put quiet nights against Geelong behind them.

(Eagles) Matt Priddis – The Eagles had few winners against the Cats, but midfielder Matt Priddis held his own in the face of sustained Geelong pressure. He finished with 29 touches, and it was the fifth time in eight games he has led or tied for the most possessions for his team. He plays his 150th AFL game on Friday night and will have his hands full against arguably the best midfield group in the competition.


Prediction

Just under 12 months ago these teams were slugging it out at the business end of the season with Collingwood taking out their semi-final clash at the MCG by just 13 points . Things have changed markedly since then, with the Eagles struggling mightily to perform at anywhere near the level they have the past two seasons. That ‘Pies victory was their eighth in nine starts against West Coast, and the Eagles have gone down to Collingwood on nine straight occasions in Melbourne. The last four of those have been at the MCG. In fact, West Coast’s record at the ‘G has been awful in recent times; the West Aussies beat woeful Melbourne there earlier this season, but prior to that victory, the Eagles had lost 11 of their previous 12 assignments at the ground. It’s a six-day turnaround for the visitors, which means almost nothing is pointing towards an upset in this clash. Collingwood by 32 points

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