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Rocca: Senior players ready for action

Jarryd Blair shone in Collingwood's 91-point win over Bendigo at Victoria Park on Saturday. Photo: Shane Barrie.

Development Coach Anthony Rocca believes Jarryd Blair and Sam Dwyer are ready to return to senior action if called upon, following their roles in Collingwood’s 91-point win against Bendigo in the VFL on Saturday.

The pair, in their third match since returning from injury, were key contributors in the midfield all afternoon.

Dwyer’s clean ball handling, zip around the packs and ability to link up through the centre made him the clear standout as best afield.

Blair worked his way into the match during the first half before taking control of the game in the third quarter, sidestepping an opponent at half forward in trademark fashion before goaling.

“There’s a couple of guys who have really put themselves into contention to play AFL footy and that’s Blair and Dwyer, to name two of them,” Rocca told collingwoodfc.com.au.

He also had some kind words for a handful of other senior players including Lachlan Keeffe, who spent time in attack after three years of playing predominantly down back.

“Alex Fasolo was good off half back, particularly with his skills.

“Lachlan Keeffe went from back to ruck to forward and showed some real effort down forward, hitting up really well.

“It’s what we’ve missed in our VFL - that tall, hit up player for the first half and in previous weeks but today we got it in the second half with Keeffey.”

Keeffe’s ability to play a variety of roles made him one of Collingwood’s most important players.

As the only Magpie standing taller than 193cm, the 204cm Keeffe was relied upon to share the ruck duties with Quinten Lynch (192cm).

It resulted in him being swung between half back and half forward for the sake of team balance.

“It compromises our forward line a little bit because we didn’t have a real tall forward line, which at times isn’t bad, but the tall players we’ve got there are not really contested players, they’re more hit up-lead players,” Rocca explained.

“Cathal Corr played a great game. He’s only six-foot-one but he’s built like a rock and every time he entered a contest he either brought the ball to ground or marked and kicked goals, which is great.

“Those boys were stepping up in the absence of some real key forwards. I thought we had some zip at the contest as well with both Blairs (Jarryd and Jack), Dwyer, Callum Matheson.

“Tim Allan also did a good job in trying to cause a contest.”

The match was played in overcast and windy conditions which meant the contest, while fierce, never reached any great heights.

“I just take out what we wanted to perform today,” Rocca said.

“Yes, there is an opposition, but it’s all about what we can do and how we can manage our ball movement, our defensive actions and the way we can control the ball going into our 50.

“I feel that we’re not 100 per cent sharp yet at nailing all our kicks inside our 50, and never are we going to be 100 per cent, but it’s just about being more efficient more consistently and hitting targets inside 50.”

The Magpies now have seven days to prepare for a big day of football next Saturday, starting with the first home and away match of the VFL season against North Ballarat and continuing with the second round of the AFL season against Sydney that evening.

Rocca’s VFL Magpies will enter the season proper quietly confident of what they will be able to achieve.

They have won each of their four practice matches and, importantly, have restricted their opposition to a total of 49 scoring shots across the four games (an average of 12.25 per match).

“We’ve restricted the opponents to low scores in every game so our defensive acts are pretty good at this level,” he said.

“North Ballarat is a very competitive side. We’ve come up against them in the past and they’ve shown real grit against us, so we know that they’re going to be fine-tuned and ready to go for it next week at Vic Park.

“For our guys, we’ve just got to keep implementing the things that we’re trying to teach.

“We haven’t got it 100 per cent yet. We’re fine tuning things and the guys are trying to do that to the best of their capabilities.

“We’re winning games, putting the score on the board and keeping opposition scores low in the meantime.”

Collingwood     3.1    6.5    12.8    16.14 (110)
Bendigo            0.2    0.2      2.6       2.7 (19)

Goals - Collingwood: Corr 3, Martin 3, Allan 2, Thomas 2, Dwyer 2, Kennedy, Clarke, Blair, Keeffe
Bendigo: Redfern, Bacon

Collingwood: Dwyer, Martin, Lynch, Keeffe, Fasolo, Corr

Collingwood Squad
1.
Alex Fasolo, 2. Sam Dwyer, 6. Tyson Goldsack, 7. Ben Kennedy, 9. Marty Clarke, 11. Jarryd Blair, 17. Jack Blair##, 21. Quinten Lynch, 23. Lachlan Keeffe, 24. Josh Thomas, 27. Tony Armstrong, 31. Jackson Ramsay, 37. Kyle Martin*, 38. Peter Yagmoor*, 48. Caolan Mooney*, 51. Cathal Corr#, 53. Jack Hellier#, 56. Nick Riddle#, 57. Tim Allan#, 59. Jake Williams#, 65. Tom Tyquin#, 66. Trent Cody#, 69. Callum Matheson#

Bendigo Squad
1.
Jesse Walin, 2. Galen Munari, 3. Mitch Hough, 5. Joe Redfern, 7. Jake Aarts, 8. Devin McFarlane, 13. Matt Farrelly, 14. Riley McIvor, 15. Ben Archard, 16. Jack Sheahan, 17. Tom Hams, 18. Sam Heavyside, 19. Jeremy Lambden, 20. Angus Watts, 21. Trent Donnan, 24. Comanche Walls, 26. Jarod Bacon, 29. Steven Stroobants (c), 30. Billy McInnes, 31. Brandon Hayes, 32. Jordan Hargreaves, 33. Liam Byrne, 35. Grant Valles, 37. Lachie Collins, 38. Trent Bacon, 39. Seb Greene

*Denotes AFL rookie
#Denotes VFL listed player
##Denotes VFL Development List player

 

 
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