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A positive start for Tapping

Luke Mason  March 9, 2013 3:14 PM

VFL coach Dale Tapping speaks to his players during quarter time of Saturday's practice match against Essendon at Victoria Park.

VFL coach Dale Tapping speaks to his players during quarter time of Saturday's practice match against Essendon at Victoria Park.

They had some extremely high profile and talented players - not that that was a concern - but for us to more than match it and in certain areas of the game outplay them was really positive for us.
The pre-season is the time for endless optimism, so a four-goal less would hardly be considered disastrous by any coach, no matter how talented a team they oversee.

But in the case of Collingwood's new VFL coach Dale Tapping, there were positives everywhere in his side's 24-point loss to Essendon on Saturday morning.

His team followed its instructions to the letter in the field half against a far better credentialed opposition, slotting nine goals to help open up a 23-point buffer at the main break.

Although the team tapered in the second half, allowing the Bombers to overrun them relatively comfortably, Tapping was enthused by his players' ability to adhere to his pre-game instructions.

"I was really pleased, particularly with our effort and our commitment to the team and to implement our focus areas going into the game. I thought we were unquestioned in terms of that side of it," Tapping explained to collingwoodfc.com.au after debriefing the players in the Victoria Park change rooms.

"They had some extremely high profile and talented players - not that that was a concern - but for us to more than match it and in certain areas of the game outplay them was really positive for us.

"As we became a bit more fatigued we fell away from our structure and (in) our ball movement at times we turned it over and they sort of preyed on that a little bit. It probably wasn't through their hostile pressure on us, they may have scored on the back end of some of our skill errors and turnovers but I was really pleased with the effort and the commitment to what we laid out for the day, I thought you couldn't complain at all."

Tapping pointed to the Magpies hot start as an illustration of his players willingness to implement what they have learned during a long and hot pre-season.

"I would rather us be on at the start of the game. I think that's where the games are at their hottest. Regardless of what the opposition were bringing to the table, it was important that we started well and get into some good habits early because that's what we're going to need throughout the course of the year.

"We certainly tired a bit towards the end but we still had periods in the last quarter when we had three or four shots on goal in the last five or six minutes that we couldn't nail.

"All in all, a positive start."

Collingwood fielded only two players from its AFL list (Jackson Paine and Peter Yagmoor), but they weren't the only players to show the way.

"'Painey' was good. He kicked a couple of goals early and gave us a target. It was his first game so what he rolled out today so he'll go away and get better at it and the more fitness and conditioning he does, he'll get better.

"Yags was good. He played a good role for us across half back and he got some space in the second half so he was good.

"I thought our VFL listed boys were terrific. Nick Riddle down back who skippered the team, I thought he was solid. He really led from the front, kicked a great goal in the second quarter.

"I thought our mids (midfielders) early in the game were really dynamic at the ball and followed instructions really well. Just our general collective effort was really strong."

The Magpies will travel down the highway to tackle Geelong's VFL team next Saturday at Simonds Stadium in its next practice match.