A Charlie Dean return headlines Collingwood’s team selection for Saturday’s VFL Elimination Final against Williamstown.
Dean will play just his third game in Collingwood colours, as the side lines up for the do or die clash with Williamstown.
Dean played just two games last year due to injuries to his right foot and had hoped to put together a strong season in 2023, however was placed on the inactive list in February after re-fracturing that same foot during pre-season. The clash will mark 526 days since he last played competitive football.
But he is back at the right time of the year, with the Pies beginning their September campaign on the back of an impressive performance against Richmond in their Wildcard Round game last weekend to qualify eighth for the Finals.
The side is littered with AFL listed talent, with Ash Johnson and Nathan Kreuger the spearheads up forward, while Trent Bianco and Trey Ruscoe have been consistent ball-winners across the back half.
Krueger was the star of the 75-point win last weekend with four majors, while Aiden Begg and Reef McInnes kicked three goals each.
Edward Allan continued his strong debut season with 26 disposals, while Lachlan Tardrew, who will play his 100th VFL game for the Club this Saturday, was also pivotal with 24 touches.
The Pies now take on the fifth-placed Seagulls who recorded 13 wins across their season and have the advantage of hosting the game at their home ground DSV Stadium.
Last time we met
Williamstown 68 d Collingwood 44 (Round 7, 2023)
It’s been a few months since the Pies last travelled to Williamstown, with their Round 7 match-up with the Seagulls seeing them go down by 24-points. Typical blustery conditions greeted the Pies that day and saw the home side capitalise with the wind early in the contest, to run out four goal winners. Midfielder Finlay Macrae had 26 disposals in one of his many standout games for the year, while McInnes kicked two brilliant goals including one from inside the centre square.
Aiden Begg v Tom Downie
Williamstown ruckman Tom Downie was best on ground when the two sides met earlier in the year, recording 63 hit outs to go with 20 disposals. Begg was solid that day too and is coming off one of his best performances of the year, with the ruck battle shaping to be a game changer.
Finlay Macrae v Ben Jolley
The young star and the veteran ball-magnet will square off in a crucial battle in the midfield that will be an intriguing aspect of the game. Jolley became just the third player in VFL/VFA history to reach 300 games earlier this year and proved he wasn’t slowing down with 29 disposals the last time the Pies tackled the Seagulls. Macrae has been a standout all season at VFL level and played as both the sub and a key member of the Pies’ wildcard VFL win last weekend.
Nathan Kreuger v Oscar McDonald
Krueger hit form with four goals from 11 touches against the Tigers last weekend and will likely be manned by former AFL defender Oscar McDonald. McDonald’s first half of the VFL season had him in contention to make his way onto a third AFL list via this year’s mid-season draft, and he has been a solid component of the Seagulls’ charge to finals.
The Pies are searching for their first VFL/VFA premiership since all the way back in 1896 and can kickstart that campaign with a win over the Seagulls. Williamstown, however, are the second-most successful club in VFL/VFA history with 14 premierships – the most recent of which was in 2015.
Admission prices for the 2023 Smithy’s VFL Finals Series are as follows:
For all matches through to the preliminary finals, admission prices will be adults $15, concession/pensioners $10 and children under 15 free.
For the 2023 Smithy’s VFL Grand Final, admission prices will be adults $20, concession/pensioners $15 and children under 15 free.
Tickets for this weekend’s matches can be pre-purchased at www.intix.com.au/org/vfl. Tickets can also be purchased at the gate, subject to capacity. Spectators purchasing at the gate are advised the payment method is EFTPOS only.
The Pies’ elimination final will be broadcast live on the Seven Network with the game starting at 3.00pm AEDT. Viewers outside of Victoria can tune in to Seven’s VFL coverage via 7plus.
All matches, including the 2023 Smithy’s VFL Grand Final, will be streamed live and free on AFL.com.au and the AFL Live Official App.
Smithy’s VFL Finals Series Week One
Williamstown v Collingwood
Saturday 2 September, 3.00pm
DSV Stadium, Wurundjeri
IN: Dean, Longmire, Mulvogue
OUT: Ashwin, McInnes, Carmichael
|COLLINGWOOD v WILLIAMSTOWN|