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VFL: Pies downed by Zebras

Ben Johnson looks to take Collingwood's VFL team into attack against the Northern Blues in round four. Photo: Shane Barrie.
Ben Johnson marked his return from shoulder surgery with 19 possessions in Collingwood's 74-point loss to Sandringham in the VFL on Sunday.

Johnson began the match with eight disposals in the first quarter and moved well through the midfield and across half back.

VFL coach Tarkyn Lockyer told that he was pleased with his former teammate's performance.

“I thought he probably looked a little bit more comfortable than what I expected, having missed since round six. For his first game back he looked sharp early,” said Lockyer.

“From a conditioning point of view, he didn’t seem to be troubled much. He played reasonably high game time and his touch seemed OK.

“He was a little bit rusty in reading the game but all in all it was a fairly positive performance.”

Other big names such as Andrew Krakouer and Brent Macaffer contributed well to the cause at half forward and half back respectively. Krakouer was smooth and clean, helping the Magpies keep the ball moving in a free flowing first half.

Recap's live coverage of the match here.

At the other end of the ground, Macaffer was steady all afternoon en route to 19 possessions where he was forced to deal with several of Sandringham's attacking forays.

Lockyer said that both were understandably rusty after playing their first match in six months against Bendigo last week.

“They were similar to last week. Both were rusty in their second game back and we expected that they would be a little bit sore.

“In their first game they got that adrenalin up and about and were really excited. Both were OK but didn’t set world on fire.”

VFL-listed pair Lachlan Wallace (23 disposals) and Ricky Ferraro (22 disposals) continue to hold their heads up high, giving ruckmen Jonathon Ceglar and Jarrod Witts plenty of support at their feet around the ground.

Others including Tom Young (18 disposals) and Luke Rounds (17 disposals) did their cause for returns to the senior side no harm with strong performances in a variety of roles.

Collingwood's VFL season rolls into its penultimate week when the Magpies take on the Casey Scorpions at Victoria Park next Saturday. The match is the first leg of the final doubleheader for the season, as the senior side prepares to tackle North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium at 7:40pm that evening.

Collingwood 2.2, 6.4, 9.6, 13.7 (85)
Sandringham 5.3, 11.7, 18.11, 24.15 (159)

Goals - Collingwood: Ferraro 2, Corr 2, Ceglar 2, Cathcart 2, Wallace 2, Krakouer, Witts, Young,
Sandringham: Milera 4, Siposs 4, Newnes 3, Polo 2, Dowler 2, Marigliani, Peake, Ross, Michaliades, Archer, Cook, Shenton, Winmar, Sikora

Best - Collingwood: Ferraro, Witts, McNamara, J.Thomas, Wallace, Johnson
Sandringham: Shenton, Curren, Marigliani, Ferguson, Sikora, Newnes

Disposals - Collingwood:
Wallace 23, Johnson 19, Macaffer 19, McNamara