COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES V GEELONG CATS MATCH PREVIEW
- CATS BY 56 POINTS
AFL ROUND 9 2016: COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES V GEELONG CATS Geelong proved they are the real deal in defeating considerable opposition in Adelaide last week, and will be looking to hang onto second spot with a win against Collingwood. The Cats have won both times they have played at the MCG this year, and this will be the last time they do so until round 21. A win could see the Cats finish the week on top of the ladder, should North Melbourne lose against an in-form Carlton. Whilst this is unlikely Geelong should hold up their end of the bargain and be far too good for a Collingwood side which has endured an eventful first two months of 2016. The Magpies have been erratic this year, losing winnable games to St Kilda, Melbourne and Carlton. Pressure is also mounting on Nathan Buckley, and injuries and poor form have seen some players completely lose their way. Despite this they have mustered three wins, and enter round nine just a game outside the eight. Last week they held Brisbane scoreless for a quarter, and kicked an impressive 20 goals. So for all the negativity surrounding the Pies they are not to be underestimated, and an upset win could put them right back into the top eight mix.
THIS WEEK IN FOCUS: : Geelong enter this clash as settled as they have been for some time, their solitary change the least made for the year. A big focus this week will be on goal kicking, as the side has kicked 35 behinds over the past two rounds. The Cats have dominated the majority of their last two games, but let Adelaide back into the contest last week, with the Crows coming within a kick of a final quarter lead. The Eagles the week prior were similarly never completely defeated until late. As a result it could be assumed Geelong will emphasise shutting the Magpies out of the contest early by kicking accurately. George Horlin-Smith will play his first game for 2016, Chris Scott on Thursday stating his VFL form was too good to ignore. Horlin-Smith is 23 and with 39 games to his credit really should cement his position in the side, or he may not get too many more opportunities. Cam Guthrie announced himself to the AFL last week, his speed and power around the contest resulting in 36 disposals and eight clearances. He is likely to receive more attention this week, given the influence he had on the win against the Crows. Collingwood have a number of players who can be used in a run-with role, such as Jack Crisp and Levi Greenwood, so should be better positioned than most sides to nullify the Cats midfield.
The Magpies head into this clash resurgent after last week's demolition of Brisbane at the Gabba. Kicking the first eight goals, the four points were sewn up by quarter time. A number of young players made an impact, and have been retained in the side. Ben Crocker, a high half-forward who captained Oakleigh Chargers in the TAC Cup last year, is playing his third game, whilst Josh Smith will be playing his fifth. Travis Cloke has still been unable to force his way back into the senior side, so the Pies will again rely on Darcy Moore up forward, with Mason Cox and Brodie Grundy rotating through the ruck and forward line.
TEAM NEWS: Geelong has made just one change this week, something which has not been the common trend this season. George Horlin-Smith gets another crack at senior footy, at the expense of defender Tom Ruggles. Billie Smedts has been named an emergency following his 34 disposals in the VFL last week, coincidentally against Collingwood.
Collingwood will welcome back key tall Ben Reid, who has again struggled with injuries this season. Ben Sinclair has been left out after suffering concussion. This game will be Steele Sidebottom's 150th AFL match.
PREDICTION: Geelong should comfortably account for Collingwood and win their seventh consecutive match. Even if they keep the Pies in the contest with poor kicking as has been seen in recent weeks, it's unlikely Collingwood will be able to capitalise. The Magpies do have a number of quality on ballers and if they can get first use, they may pose a threat at times, however it is unlikely this will occur across all four quarters.
Geelong by 56
AFL 2016 ROUND 9
COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES V GEELONG CATS
SATURDAY 21 MAY 2016 13:45 AEST
VFL 2016 ROUND 7
FRANKSTON V GEELONG
SUNDAY 22 MAY 2016 11:40 AEST