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  1. Melbourne fans have seen it all before in 2023. Poor starts and poor kicking for goal. Ultimately, it was what cost Melbourne a Preliminary final berth (at this point) by losing to Collingwood. Apparently, it was only the second time in 85 years that the Pies had beaten Melbourne in a final, but history meant nothing when the Black and White came out breathing fire in the first quarter, and completely ran over the Demons. In the ruck, Mason Cox set the tone, and won the first nine hit outs against Max Gawn, while Braydon Maynard was true to his word about being physical in this game when he wiped out Angus Brayshaw in the early going. The battered Demon departed on a stretcher and will not play in the next game at the very least. Surely, the Demons would have expected this? Going into the game with only one ruck meant Max would be targeted. And Maynard and Adams have reputations from the past. The result was that Collingwood took a three-goal lead into the first change, while once again, the Demons could only manage a single major for the opening term. And that was from the downfield free kick after the Brayshaw incident. That lead which would prove to be the difference in the end. From that poor start, the Demons started to get themselves into the game overcoming that first quarter trouncing. Unbelievably, they were down ten in the contested possessions game in the first stanza, showing how poor their start had been. By then end of the game, they had “out contested” the Pies, but it was to be all too late, after that ordinary opening term. Even at half-time, with the momentum of the game changing, Melbourne had only managed to score one more major. Two goals to half time in a final is never going to get the victory. This was despite more than doubling the Pies inside 50 entries, but Melbourne just couldn’t score goals when needed, and after all the hard work to get the ball there in the first place. It was to be the recurrent theme for the rest of the match. Melbourne winning just about every statistic but little on the scoreboard to show for it. In one respect, this demonstrated the fallacy of statistics. They are a numerical representation of actions in the past, but they fail to show the quality of those actions, or whether there is an association with final outcomes. In this game, there was nothing more amply demonstrated. Kicking for goal was again the Achilles heel for Melbourne 7.11 for the match and several out on the full. It was almost an identical result as the Kings Birthday game when Melbourne posted 8.18. Had Melbourne scored points from all of those out of bounds it would have made the difference between winning and losing. And while many criticise the Demon forwards, the fact is the options aren’t available in the absence of the injured Brown, Petty and Melksham. Petty would all be playing in that role if not injured, while Schache hasn’t shown much to justify a spot, even with all these injuries to others. Then when Angus went down, it meant Petracca had to spend more time in the middle, thus taking away another forward threat. It also doesn’t help when the coaches persist with putting Max outside the 50m arc when in attack and letting the full forward take the ruck leaving his opponent free to do whatever he wanted. Surely winning the ball in the forward 50 should be the target? The final quarter became a hope of comeback for the Demons, and they scored three majors, while holding Collingwood to a mere two points with the ball living almost exclusively in Melbourne’s forward half. But it was all too little too late, although even in that final effort, there were misses which should have resulted in two fingers from the goal umpire, which were not. The chance was there, and to put it simply, the Demons blew it! Despite a poor opening, Max finally took control in the ruck, without any backup, and finished with 31 hit outs, 22 disposals including 10 clearances. Clayton Oliver was outstanding with 31 touches resulting in an incredible 742 metres gained. The backline were the real heroes, who at the end of the match had held Collingwood to a meagre 60 points, including that paltry 2 behinds in the final quarter. They did everything right, since they denied the Pies their basic game plan with May, Lever and Bowey all with nine intercept possessions. Michael Hibberd held the dangerous Jamie Elliott to two points, and it was only Hill who broke free on several occasions to really give Collingwood the win with his three goals. This game was feeling of Déjà vu or Deeja Vu for the Melbourne fans. They know all too well how this type of game would finish. Now the question will be does Deeja Vu happen again in the coming week, as the Demons are facing another straight sets exit from the finals. MELBOURNE 1.0.6 2.4.16 4.9.33 7.11.53 COLLINGWOOD 4.2.26 5.3.33 9.4.58 9.6.60 GOALS MELBOURNE Fritsch 2 Pickett McDonald Neal-Bullen Smith Sparrow COLLINGWOOD Hill 3 McStay 2 Cameron Crisp De Goey Mihocek BEST MELBOURNE Gawn Oliver Pickett Hunter Petracca Neal-Bullen COLLINGWOOD Crisp Sidebottom Hoskin-Elliott Quaynor Hill Murphy INJURIES MELBOURNE Angus Brayshaw (concussion) COLLINGWOOD Nil REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil COLLINGWOOD Nil SUBSTITUTIONS MELBOURNE Bailey Laurie (replaced Angus Brayshaw in first quarter) COLLINGWOOD Jack Ginnivan (replaced Darcy Cameron in fourth quarter) UMPIRES Matt Stevic Curtis Deboy Andrew Stephens Hayden Gavine CROWD 92,636 at the MCG
  2. Are you not entertained? Wow, that was some second half by the Dees. Our skill level and delivery into the forward 50 was the best we’ve seen. And 10 goals to boot! Not surprisingly, the Hot Pies came out with physicality across the board. Star captain Bri Davey threw her weight around like a gladiator racking up 35 positions to be best on ground. Brit Bonicci was coming back from an ACL too and she racked up 17 possessions to also be influential. You could tell at ground level we were not quite matching their intensity and that led to skill errors. Mike Stinear rued those early missed gettable goals which put us on the back foot. Collingwood were up by 14 points midway through the second quarter and Meggs was thinking, is this what a premiership hangover looks like? But no worries. Mick Stinear resets the group at half-time, some astute positional moves, a ratcheting up of the intensity meter, and voila! A scintillating 5-goal third quarter to none, to run away with the 4 points and be top of the ladder. It was inspiring to watch. Yes, entertained. A secret strength seems the evenness of our playing group. Collingwood had 5 players who had more than 10 possessions whereas Melbourne had 13 such players. Remember that quarters have been extended to 17 minutes plus time on, with rotations restricted to 70 so fitness is another factor, especially late in quarters. Special mention: Shelley Heath with 11 possessions and 11 tackles, ran with and limited Bri Davey’s influence in the second half and helped herself to 2 opportunistic goals. What a star! Other mentions: Kate Hore was everywhere with 6 marks and a Captain’s goal. Lily Mithen was full of energy around the ground, Purcell, Paxy and Mackin too. Eliza MacNamara’s second half for her first game for a year was super. She nailed an incredible inside 50 bullet pass to Hore for her goal. Our tall forwards provided lots of great leads and marked well with Bannan (3 goals), Zanker (2.3) and Harris (1.2). Harris also had 7 marks and got to many contests competing well. Ikon Park always has such a nice vibe. Arriving early, you could see the ground steadily filling, eventually with 8,412 people. It was great to see Kate Roffey and Daisy Pearce there to unveil the Demons Season 7 premiership flag and then we were sung to by Australian legend Missy Higgins. Kate promised big things for Melbourne in Season 8 and thanked all supporters with special praise for the DeeArmy. Their banner celebrating vice-captain Tyla Hanks’ 50th game was amazing. Hanksy played her part too with her usual gameday awesomeness and celebrating her milestone with a crushing win. In terms of the game: Q1 Kate Hore wins the toss. Good omen. We notice Razor Ray is out there with his whistle. Awesome. Melbourne has the better of the opening minutes and a couple of near misses from Harris, Zanker and Sherriff. Highlights reel Alyssa Bannan gets the opening goal of the match with a nice assist from Eliza Mac. Collingwood pushing forward. Our defenders look under pressure. Purcell is adjudged to be holding the ball and Makala Cann kicks truly for the Pies first goal. Davey, Bonicci, Brazill are getting on top, laying some big tackles and the Pies get another goal via Tarni Brown. ¼ time: Dees 1.4.10 Pies 2.0.12 Q2 Within 2 minutes of the start of play the Pies get another goal off the back of a thumping inside 50 entry from Davey when Morris-Dalton kicks it off the ground. Moments later Sabreena Frederick for the Pies has a snap in the goal square but kicks it like Joe Daniher and somehow misses the unmissable. A lucky break for the Dees! Davey then earns a holding the ball free kick in the goal square and duly converts. Pies up by 13 points and getting on top. Mick sends Kate Hore to defence, and she immediately marks and repels a Pies forward entry. Eliza James, a Collingwood forward, is off with an ankle injury. Unfortunately, she doesn’t return. Second-gamer Georgia Campbell takes a contested mark in the goal square and converts. She was a Father-Daughter selection with pick 41 in the 2021 AFLW draft and her Dad, Adrian, played 2 games for the Dees in 1993. ½ time: Dees 2.7.19 Pies 4.3.27 Q3 Melbourne starts brightly with some fast ball movement where Zanker takes control of the footy in the goal square and nicely executes an overhead kick for a goal. That’s how you do it Sabreena. Next a scintillating passage of play begins deep in the backline and ends up with Shelley Heath running into an open goal. The Dees are in front as teammates gather around Heathy. Eliza Mac then intercepts and hits up Kate Hore with that sublime inside 50 pass and Captain Kate goes bang, slotting it perfectly above the goal umpire’s head. Momentum is with the Dees as now as Harris intercepts an errant Magpie handpass to kick the fourth goal of the quarter. Under two minutes now and Harris takes another contested mark in the inside 50 and centres her kick where Banno takes a Mark of the Day and goes back and goals. Banno can now add contested marking to her impressive bouncing, goal scoring and celebrating CV. Less than 30 seconds to go and Hanks steals the ball from Davey to hit Harris on the lead but in an anticlimax, her after-the-siren shot hits the post. No matter. The Dees have turned the pie warmer off and the Pies have gone cold. They’re no chance from here. Collingwood coach Steve Symonds said the Pies missed the ‘run’ of their injured first choice defenders Ruby Schleicher and Lauren Butler. Our tall forwards have certainly dominated. ¾ time: Dees 7.11.19 Pies 4.4.28 Q4 The Pies only score 3 points for the quarter as the Dees dominate and kick 3 goals 2 points. Heath creates something from nothing from a ball up for her second goal. What a game she’s having! Zanker then marks strongly and goes banana on her left foot for her second goal. Sherriff marks inside 50 and then unselfishly handballs to a running Banno for her third goal. It’s game over. Full time: Dees 10.13.73 defeated Pies 4.7.31 If you’re one of those people who say women’s footy is not skillful or entertaining enough for you, please watch the highlights of the third quarter and see if you still feel that way. Coaches and next week Melbourne Coach Mick Stinear said the group started well but didn’t convert early and became concerned when Collingwood got on top. He felt it was an attractive game to watch with both teams having ascendency at various times. When asked, he said Melbourne was conservative with the new AFLW rotation rule limit of 60 interchanges. Collingwood coach Steve Symonds said Melbourne was a really good team last year and have gone up another level this year. When their pressure dropped off, Melbourne was able to get their run-on gaming going and they’re hard to stop. He is a fan of the longer quarters. Next week we take on GWS at Manuka Oval, Canberra on Sunday September 10 at 5:05pm. MELBOURNE 1.4.10 2.7.19 7.11.53 10.13.73 COLLINGWOOD 2.0.12 4.3.27 4.4.28 4.7.31 GOALS MELBOURNE Bannan 3 Heath Zanker 2 Campbell Harris Hore COLLINGWOOD Brown Cann Davey Morris-Dalton BEST MELBOURNE Hanks Bannan Purcell Zanker Heath Hore COLLINGWOOD Davey Bonnici Rowe Cann Morris-Dalton Brazill INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil COLLINGWOOD James (ankle) Brazill (nose) UMPIRES Chamberlain Devenish Simmonds CROWD 8,412 at Ikon Park
  3. Friday Night Footy, and the only game in town, is the Mighty Dees up against the Hot Pies at our second home, IKON Park. And as a bonus Missy Higgins will sing to us before the match and (hopefully) Eliza Mac is back! Before the match the Demons will unfurl their 2022 AFLW Premiership Flag and spectators are encouraged to be there from 6:30pm. Princes (IKON) Park is a popular ground choice by our players. It offers elite facilities, wind shelter from the grandstands, and a high-quality playing surface. Most importantly the players say they can hear and feel the crowd supporting them which they can feed off. It is a great venue for fans too with easy viewing, transport and parking. Dees supporters have really warmed to IKON especially since we’ve had some brilliant recent wins there (including finals) and it’s not as remote as Casey for Meggs and others. Remember that Collingwood and Melbourne were part of that initial cohort of 8 clubs that began the AFLW back in that 2017 first season. Interestingly our first ever game against Collingwood was at Princes Park (Round 2 2017). The Dees came away victorious that day by 19 points and a certain D Pearce from Melbourne was the game high disposal gatherer with 16 possessions and 7 laid tackles. While this is our first ever ‘Season Opener’, Collingwood will have played in 6 out of the 8 season openers. Selection this week Coach Mick Stinear says we are at ‘ground zero’ following our reaching of the top of the mountain with the 2022 AFLW Premiership cup and Tyla Hanks, our newly minted vice-captain, has echoed these comments. So how does the last season’s statistically best defence and second-best offence improve in 2023? We’ll see on Friday night but there are some questions first. How will the team cope with the loss of Daisy? In the practice games Eden Zanker starred as a marking forward but who else comes in? Gaby Colvin is back from her ACL and working toward selection, but who would she replace? Tahlia Gillard was a revelation in 2022 at full back and a vital cog in our defensive group and Libby Birch one of the best marking interceptors. Maddie Gay is very important in gelling our the backs too. Eliza MacNamara is a running wing but who does she displace? Blaithin Mackin just improved week on week last year so who takes the other wing? Meggs thinks Mick has some selection headaches. Yes It was good to see we have some developing ruck support for Loz Pearce with Georgia Campbell (1) impressing in practice games and working her craft during the VFLW season with Casey. Given the injury report and that only 2 players from the grand final are not playing (i.e. Daisy and Maeve Chaplin), we await selection news with eager anticipation. Dees list changes Saraid Taylor (28), a young tall from Richmond and Georgina ‘Chook’ Fowler (12), a forward from GWS with a Rugby7s background have joined the Dees. Blaithin Mackin’s (31) sister, Aimee who has impressed everyone with her Gaelic Football videos must be over her hamstring concerns and available but it’s Mick’s call whether she plays. Sammie Johnson is also back training after giving birth to son Luca and featured in the Hawthorn practice game. It’s only 4 months since she gave birth! Our opponents, the Pies Former Collingwood co-captain Steph Chiocci has moved to St Kilda along with experienced mid Jaimee Lambert. A huge loss was gun forward Chloe Molloy to Sydney, to be their co-captain. The Pies do see the return from ACLs of experienced stars Bri Davey and Brit Bonnici, and we’ll see on Friday how well these two have recovered. The Pies also recruited onballer Tarni White from St Kilda who we expect will play. Gun defender Ruby Schleicher is listed on their injury as a ‘test’. Ruby would be a loss for them. Meggs view We have a settled playing group with a strong contested midfield group led by Hanks, Purcell, West, Mithen, and Paxy. Our main ruck Pearce has support from Campbell, Harris, with Zanker and Gillard too. The defence has Birch, Gillard, Gay, Goldrick, Heath, and someone comes in to replace Chaplin. Maybe Wilson. Our forward group has star power in Hore, Bannan and Zanker. The 2023 NAB AFLW Season opener promises to be a typically tight and contested game. Expecting Collingwood to come out really strong so we need to match them in contested footy. Our balanced depth is our strength, and our mix of forwards create difficult matchups for the Pies. Our practice form was a bit scratchy with wins over Blues by 21 points and Hawks by 58 points. Neither opposition team is expected to make finals. At least the cobwebs have been blown away. The Pies lost at home to Geelong by 14 points and away to Fremantle by 1 point. Over 8 years our coach has jointly shaped our club and family environment at Melbourne FC which is a launchpad for another successful season ahead. The Dees don’t get too ahead of themselves, they live in the moment, and embody the #demonspirit. The players know they’re back at ground zero, they will follow the process and the results will manifest. Expecting big things in 2023. Isn’t it a great time to be a Melbourne supporter with our women, reigning champions and opening a new AFLW season and less than a week later the AFLM are playing a Qualifying Final at the G. Meggs has tickets to both games and is highly optimistic of successful pie nights. Go Dees! Melbourne by 19 points THE GAME Melbourne v Collingwood at Ikon Park, on Friday 1 September 2023 at 7:20pm (Melbourne time) HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 3 wins Collingwood 2 wins At Princes Park Melbourne 1 win Collingwood 0 wins The Coaches Stinear 0 wins Symonds 1 win MEDIA TV - live on 7 and Kayo. Check your local guides. Radio - check your local guides. THE LAST TIME THEY MET Collingwood 7.7 (49) defeated Melbourne 1.8 (14) at Victoria Park, 28 February 2021 Collingwood stamped itself as one of the AFLW 2021 premiership favourites after disposing of the wayward Demons by 35 points in Indigenous Round 5 in 2021. Star forward Chloe Molloy (now with Sydney) was unstoppable with 3 goals. Collingwood kept Melbourne goalless until late in the third quarter until ruck Loz Pearce kicked a great goal on the run. Magpies ball magnets Brittany Bonnici and Jamiee Lambert (now with St Kilda) had days out with dominant displays in the midfield. GOALS Melbourne: L Pearce Collingwood: Molloy 3, Davey 2, Sheridan, Cann BEST Melbourne: Hanks, Paxman, Scott, L.Pearce, Hore, Mithen Collingwood: Molloy, Davey, Bonnici, Livingstone, Lambert, Schleicher THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B L.Birch 9 T.Gillard 17 HB S. Heath 30 M.Gay 3 S.Goldrick 23 C S. Lampard 8 O.Purcell 2 E.McNamara 22 HF T. Harris 7 L.Mithen 14 A.Bannan 16 F E.Zanker 29 K.Hore - C 10 FOLL L.Pearce 15 T.Hanks 5 P.Paxman 4 I/C B.Mackin 31 G.Campbell 1 E.West 11 C.Sherriff 18 M.Fitzsimon 24 EMG G.Colvin 32 C.Wilson 20 S.Johnson 25 New faces: None
 Notable absences: Maeve Chaplin (concussion) Jordi Ivey
 Milestones: Tyla Hanks - 50 games COLLINGWOOD B S.Casey 22 S.Livingstone 12 HB S.Sansonetti 16 S.Karlson 20 A.Brazill 10 C J. Allen 6 B.Davey - C 3 T.White 29 HF G.Campbell 13 E.Morris 21 E.James 2 F N.Morris-Dalton 17 S.Rowe 7 FOLL S.Frederick 1 M.Cann 25 B.Bonnici 8 I/C A. Porter 9 E.Fowler 15 L.Brazzale 24 T.Brown 26 A.Sheridan 14 EMG I.Barnett 4 C.Blair 28 E.Smith 33 New faces Grace Campbell Selena Karlson Eleri Morris Nell Morris-Dalton Tarni White 
Notable absences Lauren Butler (foot) Jo Lin (foot) Ruby Schleicher (foot) Injury List: Round 1 Maeve Chaplin (concussion) Saraid Taylor (foot)
  4. King Gee, a name synonymous with hard work wear, was emblematic of the hard work done by Melbourne against Collingwood at the “Gee” to win the first King’s Birthday match in more than seven decades. As a result, the Demons have never lost a modern day version of the King’s Royal Blockbuster match and long may that continue! The final margin of a mere four points probably overstated the closeness of the match since, for the third week in a row, the Demons could not kick straight from set shots in front of goal. This week it was 4.10 from those set shots. And while the coach thought it was the least of his worries post match, the fact that such poor outcomes keep the opposition in the game and capable of challenging to the end is something that needs to be sorted in the weeks and months to come. The final score of 8.18 really summed it up. Fortunately, a stingy defensive structure kept the opposition well out of the game, so all credit for the win should lie with those defenders. Having said that, the forwards without their straight kicking boots, as least put on plenty of pressure to keep the ball in the attacking area with 17 tackles inside 50. That the Collingwood forwards managed only four for the game, demonstrates that their game style is all about “run and gun”, without a lot of hard work forward of the ball. To this point of the season they have papered over that deficiency, but were exposed by the brilliant defensive unit of the Demons, who repelled attack after attack. The three talls in defence means stability down back and enables players around them to be free to do damage. While Jake Lever was held to a solitary mark, Adam Tomlinson popped up with ten for the game. Nine intercept possessions each for Christian Salem and Trent Rivers were complemented by eight each for Steven May and Jake Lever while Judd McVee chipped in with seven. The combination of Salem and Rivers combination was deadly to Collingwood’s chances, both with 24 touches, but with disposal efficiency of 83 and 78% respectively, meaning that they were not only repelling opposition advances, but also starting the next line of attack. Given that the Magpies came into this match averaging 94 points a game, the fact they were held to a mere 62 points in this match was exemplary. The other important factor in the game success for Melbourne was a game plan which denied Collingwood the corridor, which they need to execute their “run and gun” tactic. Time and time again they were forced wide and the inside kick or running past handball denied as the Demons stuck to their task of all ground pressure, with simple hard work. The other area of dominance was the King Gee efforts in the middle by Jack Viney and Christian Petracca. The former, with 32 touches and an incredible 19 contested possessions, led the way to make him King of the “Gee” on the day. While Petracca with 28 touches and 15 contested certainly helped cover the absence of Clayton Oliver. On the wing Lachie Hunter kept punching the ball forward with 28 touches, seven of which were contested, just to add to his game topping 610 metres gained for the side. Up forward, despite the inability to kick truly, at least Bayley Fritsch was able to nail three majors, which took him to 200 goals for the Club. Jacob van Rooyen only managed a single major, but his attack on contest is constant, and probably what the coaches want most of all. Joel Smith looked far more comfortable this week, and when called upon to deliver, did so. None more so than a run down from behind tackle to help change momentum in the Demons favour. Importantly his tall presence caused no end of problems for the Collingwood defence who are too accustomed to Moore being left unattended in the game. Not so today. Finally, a shout out to the vocal crowd of Demon supporters. They had plenty to shout out loud about and while the crowd numbers didn’t meet the expected 90+ thousand, they certainly made their voices heard at critical times during the match. If the MCC and AFL member areas had been more highly populated this could well have reached a home and away record. The Demons take away the four points, which was critical in the overall season context as it keeps the side in the top four position, and stopped Collingwood moving further ahead on the ladder. It put the side into the right position for the second half of the season, where they will be trying to prove they are the true Kings of the “Gee” come the last week of September MELBOURNE 1.4.10 3.8.26 6.11.47 8.18.66 COLLINGWOOD 3.1.19 5.4.34 6.5.41 9.8.62 GOALS MELBOURNE Fritsch 3 Grundy Neal-Bullen Smith van Rooyen Viney COLLINGWOOD Lipinski 2 Cox Crisp N Daicos Harrison Hill McCreery Mihocek BEST MELBOURNE Viney May Fritsch Salem Petracca Tomlinson COLLINGWOOD Mitchell Pendlebury Crisp N Daicos Maynard LATE CHANGES MELBOURNE Nil COLLINGWOOD Jack Ginnivan (managed), replaced in selected side by Reef McInnes INJURIES MELBOURNE Adam Tomlinson (hand) Jack Viney (shoulder) COLLINGWOOD Darcy Moore (ankle) REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil COLLINGWOOD Nil SUBSTITUTIONS MELBOURNE James Jordon (replaced Charlie Spargo in the third quarter) COLLINGWOOD Oleg Markov (replaced Ash Johnson in the third quarter) UMPIRES Hayden Gavine Brendan Hosking Simon Meredith Matt Stevic CROWD 83,578 at the MCG FIGHT MND TOTAL TO DATE $2,454,483 Thank You
  5. “If Melbourne are to finish top four, they have to beat Collingwood next week” — David King (First Crack 4 June 2023) Monday’s Kings Birthday blockbuster will mark the first of its kind after a seven decade reign by Queen Elizabeth II and, if David King is to be believed, it will be a season-defining game for Melbourne. Even though the the Demons seem to be well ensconced in the top four, this situation is in many ways a mirage given the number of teams yapping at their heels a rung or two below them ready to pounce. With a bye and a game against the resurgent Cats to follow, it’s clear how critical the game is for the club which currently only has only one top eight scalp under its belt. To make matters even more dire, the team’s form has been in apparent decline over the past few weeks. The inaccuracy in kicking for goal highlighted further by a seemingly sudden surge of impotency in attack has some supporters up in arms but you don’t lose skills overnight. This is an issue that historically can vary from week to week among teams and there’s no reason why Melbourne can’t revert back to that early season deadly form in front of goal. And if they do, then watch out because the word is out that they were inspired this week by former coach and MND sufferer Neale Daniher’s moving address ahead of Monday’s Big Freeze. Speaking of reverting back, it’s worth freezing the frame and looking at where Melbourne stood last year when it came up against Collingwood in Round 21 last year. The Demons were coming off a series of interstate trips combined with six day breaks and absolutely blitzed the Magpies in the first half. Absent the latter’s accuracy in front of goal (8 goals from 10 shots), it would have been all over by half time. As it was, the Pies’ accuracy persisted (3.2 to 1.4) as they pegged the Dees back in the third term before they overcame them in the final quarter. It will be interesting to see how differently Melbourne comes up this week with the benefit of a ten day break against a team that’s had a run of easy wins against lowly sides over the past month or so. In fact, it would be fair to say that the last month for Collingwood has a similar feel to the Melbourne experience of 2022 including games against the likes of North Melbourne and the West Coast Eagles where they each won easily in cruise mode and came out with some important personnel unavailable. Sure, the Magpies work hard, play for each other and are a tough running side but it’s been a while since they’ve been tested and are coming into Monday’s blockbuster game without some handy playmakers in De Goey and Sidebottom out of the side and others under a cloud. Luckily for Collingwood, Melbourne’s hand could not be strengthened by the return of Clayton Oliver, hospitalized with blisters on his feet after recovering from a hammy. I was hoping to see him recover on the morning of the game and turn up still connected to a saline drip and still pick up 40 touches in the afternoon. Still, the Demon midfield did okay against Carlton without Clarrie so it’s not the end of the world. There’s also been a noticeable lift in the form of Melbourne’s defence which is returning to the high standards it achieved in 2021. They will miss Jake Bowey but with the tall backs in good form, Christian Salem hitting his straps and Michael Hibberd back after resting his Achilles, expect to see Collingwood tested to the limit and frozen out of the game. Melbourne to ice a game for the ages by two points. Donate to fight MND here THE GAME Melbourne v Collingwood at the MCG, Monday 12 June, 2023 at 3.20pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 84 wins Collingwood 153 wins 5 drawn At the MCG Melbourne 63 wins Collingwood 85 wins 3 drawn Last five meetings Melbourne 1 win Collingwood 4 wins The Coaches Goodwin 0 wins McCrae 2 wins LAST TIME THEY MET Collingwood 15.6.96 defeated Melbourne 13.11.89 at the MCG in Round 21, 2022 Melbourne led by a point at 23½ minutes into the final term when Ash Johnson kicked the goal that put a remarkably accurate Collingwood in front. The Demons had almost 100 more disposals, won the clearances 52-32 and went inside 50 on 65-41 occasions but couldn’t match the Magpies’ shooting accuracy for goal which finished at 71% but was in the 80s for most of the game. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B T. Rivers S. May J. Lever HB M. Hibberd A. Tomlinson J. Smith C L. Hunter J. Viney T. Sparrow HF C. Spargo B. Fritsch A. Neal-Bullen F J. van Rooyen B. Grundy K. Chandler FOLL M. Gawn C. Petracca K. Pickett I/C A. Brayshaw E. Langdon J. McVee C. Salem
 SUB J. Jordon EMG J. Melksham J. Schache T. Woewodin IN M. Hibberd OUT J. Bowey (concussion) J. Harmes (suspended) COLLINGWOOD B I. Quaynor D. Moore B. Maynard HB B. Frampton N. Murphy S. Pendlebury C W. Hoskin-Elliott J. Crisp J. Daicos HF A. Johnson B. Mihocek P. Lipinski F R. McInnes D. Cameron B. Hill FOLL M. Cox N. Daicos T. Mitchell I/C T. Adams H. Harrison J. Noble B. McCreery SUB O. Markov EMG T. Bianco F. Macrae IN P. Lipinski OUT J. De Goey (suspended) Injury and Suspension List: Round 13 Clayton Oliver - Hamstring | Test Luke Dunstan - Knee | Test James Harmes - Suspension | 1 Week Jake Bowey - Concussion | 1 Week Harry Petty - Foot | 1 - 2 Weeks Will Verrall - Pelvis | 1 - 2 Weeks Kye Turner - Groin | 3 - 4 Weeks Tom McDonald - Foot | 6 - 8 Weeks
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