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Pies dominant, despite injury carnage

Ben Collins - AFL Media  August 5, 2017 10:30 PM

Treloar goals from midfield burst Watch Adam Treloar get the clearance and burst through for a great goal.
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Levi Greenwood didn't return to the game after a second-quarter knock to the leg. Image: AFL Photos.

It was a dead rubber but there was carnage at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night as Collingwood belted North Melbourne by 54 points.

The result of the low-standard affair – which the Pies won 16.15 (111) to 7.15 (57) – was secondary to a long injury list.

The chief casualties were Kangaroos spearhead Ben Brown (concussion) and skipper Jack Ziebell (ribs), Roo-turned-Magpies Levi Greenwood (left knee) and Daniel Wells (left thigh), along with Pies defender Tyson Goldsack (head knock).

In the process, the Match Review Panel appears certain to scrutinise the actions of Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy and North midfielder Ben Cunnington.

A chaotic body count either side of half-time began at the 20-minute mark of the second term when Ziebell tackled Adam Treloar over the boundary line, with the Pies midfielder dazed after hitting his head on the ground. Treloar played on and was one of the best players afield.

Two minutes later there was no coming back for Coleman Medal chance Brown, who was knocked out in a Grundy tackle reminiscent of the one that last week incurred a one-game suspension for Geelong's Patrick Dangerfield.

Play was held up for several minutes as Brown was carted off the field (and later taken by ambulance to hospital), after which Grundy took the resultant free kick for holding the ball, to the jeers of North Melbourne fans.

Soon after the resumption, Ziebell came off second best in a marking contest with Matt Scharenberg and was taken straight into the rooms for treatment. He manfully returned after half-time to be one of his team's few winners, kicking five of North's six goals in the second half.

Moments after the Ziebell injury, Greenwood ran into a falling Todd Goldstein and immediately clutched at his left knee. Greenwood couldn't place any weight on the leg as he was helped from the field by trainers, and it would surprise if he returned before season's end.

Early in the third term, Goldsack showed typical courage in a marking contest when he was crunched by the oncoming Cunnington, who will also face a nervous wait for the MRP's findings on Monday. In his favour, Goldsack reappeared later in the quarter.

Wells would have enjoyed the first-up win over his former club but little else. The veteran took 15 minutes to get his first touch – a rare clanger kick – before being hindered by an apparent corked thigh, finishing with a team-low five touches and a goal.

It's difficult to judge whether the Pies victory would have strengthened the position of coach Nathan Buckley given the error-riddled nature of the contest.

Both clubs were fresh from big performances – North upsetting Melbourne, and Collingwood drawing with ladder leader Adelaide – but neither showed any real semblance of that form.

Between them they committed 26 clangers in the opening 14 minutes; and by half-time they had combined to tally 6.20 – comprising Collingwood's 5.11 to North's abominable 1.9.

They overwhelmed the Roos with their depth of runners, with the likes of Treloar (a game-high 34 touches and a goal), Taylor Adams (30 and two goals), Tom Phillips (27 and a goal) and Jordan De Goey (27 and a goal) prolific, while defensive playmakers Jack Crisp (27), Matt Scharenberg (a career-high 27), Tom Langdon (29) and Brayden Maynard (27) did as they pleased.

Aside from Ziebell, youngster Ryan Clarke gathered a personal-best and team-high 31 touches, while fellow midfielders Trent Dumont (27), Sam Gibson (27), Cunnington (28) and defender Robbie Tarrant (21) tried hard.

With North big man Majak Daw missing through injury, the experienced Todd Goldstein earned a recall, but he and the developing Braydon Preuss were soundly beaten by Grundy.

NORTH MELBOURNE  1.5   1.9    4.11    7.15 (57)
COLLINGWOOD         2.7   5.11 11.12  16.15 (111) 

GOALS
North Melbourne: Ziebell 5, Mountford, Garner
Collingwood: Blair 3, Thomas 2, Adams 2, Fasolo, De Goey, Moore, Phillips, Treloar, Howe, Wells, Grundy, Elliott

BEST 
North Melbourne: Ziebell, Clarke, Dumont, Cunnington
Collingwood: Treloar, Adams, Blair, Langdon, De Goey, Grundy

INJURIES 
North Melbourne: Jy Simpkin (ankle) replaced in the selected side by Josh Williams, Ben Brown (concussion), Jack Ziebell (ribs)
Collingwood: Levi Greenwood (left knee), Goldsack (head), Daniel Wells (left thigh)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Deboy, Gavine, Pannell

Official crowd: 33,394 at Etihad Stadium