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VFL: Scharenberg debuts in defeat

Hear from two of Collingwood's youngest stars as they near returns from long-term injuries. Hear from two of Collingwood's youngest stars as they near returns from long-term injuries.
Top draft pick Matthew Scharenberg made his VFL debut in Sunday's loss to Frankston.

Matthew Scharenberg, Collingwood’s first selection in the 2013 National Draft, played his first match in the Black and White jumper against Frankston on Sunday afternoon.

Unfortunately the VFL Magpies were unable to mark the occasion with a win. The Dolphins recorded their third straight win, toppling Dale Tapping’s Magpies in front of their home fans to the tune of 17 points.

A healthy Frankston crowd witnessed four quarters of closely contested football, with neither team able to break away on the scoreboard.

Recap Sunday's match with collingwoodfc.com.au's play-by-play coverage.

A raft of familiar faces returned to the field in the round 16 clash, with Quinten Lynch (broken leg), Ben Sinclair (hamstring) and Patrick Karnezis (hamstring) all on their way back from injury.

But much of the pre-game attention surrounded Scharenberg, an 18-year-old prodigy from Glenelg in South Australia.

It has become increasingly common to see debutants in the AFL starting in the green vest and watching from the interchange in their first taste of professional football, and although the VFL does not employ the substitute role, Scharenberg was still made to watch from the bench in the first half as Frankston slowly chipped away at Collingwood’s first quarter lead.

He came onto the field after half time, boosting the Magpies on the back flank.

“I was a little bit nervous but it didn’t really seem to affect my preparation too much,” Scharenberg told collingwoodfc.com.au post match.

“To finally get out there in the third quarter was really exciting.”

As Scharenberg came to terms with his first taste of VFL football, seasoned campaigner Sam Dwyer collected possessions at will to add some much needed composure to the Magpies during the third term.

Aided by strong performances from Josh Thomas, Brodie Grundy and Ben Moloney, Collingwood were able to reclaim the lead thanks to a four goal to nil third quarter.

Yet as sounds of the drums and cheering grew louder from the Frankston supporters on the hill, so too did the confidence of their players.

Despite winning just three games in 2014, the Dolphins kicked six unanswered goals to break the game open and leave Collingwood searching for answers.

“It was disappointing not to get the win,” Scharenberg said.

“It was a bit of an arm wrestle. When the game was in the balance, unfortunately we went into our shell and we couldn’t stand up as a team.”

As for his own personal form, Scharenberg was relieved to finally be pulling on the Black and White stripes.

“After such a long time being injured, it was good to finally get out there and being part of a team again was good.”

“The body has pulled up really well, which is pleasing.

“I played a half today and hopefully I’ll look at playing three quarters or hopefully a bit more next week and we’ll go from there.”

With several games to come for both the AFL and VFL sides, the Magpies will be hoping for more encouraging signs from their exciting new No. 35.

Collingwood   4.3  5.6  9.8  9.11 (65)
Frankston       2.3  6.7  6.8  12.10 (82)

Goals - Collingwood: Grundy 2, Hellier, Ferguson, Matheson, Fasolo, Lynch, Gray, Karnezis
Frankston: Harper 3, Simpson 2, Lourey 2, Haretuku, Newman, Hockey, Alwan, Sutton

Best - Collingwood: Dwyer, Hellier, Matheson, Fasolo, Thomas, Ramsay
Frankston: Newman, Pollard, Tynan, Hockey, Gabriel, Harper

At Frankston Park