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VFL: Pies topple Cats

First gamer Corey Gault reaches over his Geelong opponent. Photo: Shane Barrie.
Collingwood stormed home to defeat Geelong by five-points in the first VFL practice match of 2012 at Simonds Stadium on Saturday.

The Magpies trailed the inaccurate Cats by a goal at the final change but rallied to register a three-goal final quarter to sew up the win.

Click here to recap the Live Chat from Simonds Stadium.

VFL coach Tarkyn Lockyer was pleased with the efforts of his team that included only two players who were on the VFL list in 2011.

View photos from Saturday's practice match here.

“I thought considering the conditions, I was fairly pleased with the effort,” Lockyer told collingwoodfc.com.au post match.

"Both sides were fairly similar and predominantly (made up of) VFL players. We only had seven AFL players and they didn’t have any.

“The only guys from last year were Kris Pendlebury and David Folinio. Obviously Kirk Ugle had played a couple of games and Shae McNamara had played a few, but from a VFL point of view, to see the guys that we hadn’t seen play before, I was fairly pleased with some of the stuff I saw.”

Lockyer singled out Ugle and fellow small forward Caolan Mooney for their ability to bring the team to life in the final quarter.

“I thought 'Uges' and Caolan Mooney, particularly in that last quarter, to use their pace and really influence the play was pleasing.

Caolan has only played a couple of games so for an Irish kid to come in with electrifying pace and to use that with the ball in hand a couple of times to set up a goal or two. And the defensive efforts that he gave were very pleasing.

I think he’s probably best suited to playing in the forward line. We’ll persist there and see how we go.”

Lockyer said that while Ugle had endured an interrupted pre-season, his ability to apply pressure inside attacking fifty meant that he was critical to the side's victory.

“He certainly appeared to run the game out  pretty well. Some of those efforts that he put in, particularly defensively, were pretty good.”

The match was played in extreme weather conditions with the mercury pushing 36 degrees in the early afternoon.

Andrew Krakouer returned to the action and won four disposals and one mark before he suffered a torn ACL in the second quarter.

Shae McNamara had some important possessions at full back, and Corey Gault, Paul Cribbin and Lachlan Smith all made significant contributions to the win.

Captain Kris Pendlebury appeared to enjoy being released to the forward line where he slotted two goals, complementing new recruit Cathal Corr who gave the side a strong presence at centre half forward.

Corr spent two years on St Kilda's rookie list and has recently been playing for Macleod in the Northern Football League.

The Geelong team included players such as Jaxson Barham (ex-Collingwood) and Troy Selwood (ex-Brisbane Lions), and found the going tough in front of goal in blustery conditions.

It was the first match to be played against the backdrop of the construction site that was once the Doug Wade Stand. The Cats' struggles kicking into the wind tunnel acted as a warning to clubs at both AFL and VFL level to ensure that they have their kicking boots on when the season proper commences.

The main issue for Lockyer's coaching staff now is ensure that the players recover from a physically taxing first game of the season.

“For a lot of the guys it was their first real hitout for the year so they’re going to be tired anyway, so to couple that with the heat means that early next week it’s about looking after them and getting it right again for next week.

Collingwood 2.0, 4.4, 5.5, 8.7 (55)
Geelong 1.4, 1.8, 5.11, 6.14 (50)

Goals - Collingwood: K.Pendlebury 2, Ugle 2, Gault, Smith, Williams, Corr

Disposals - Collingwood: Head 17, Wallace 12, Williams 12, Ugle 12, Riddle 11, Seccull 11, Heagney-Steart 10, McNamara 10

Collingwood AFL Players
7. Andrew Krakouer
37. Kirk Ugle
44. Corey Gault
45. Lachlan Smith
48. Caolan Mooney
49. Paul Cribbin
50. Shae McNamara