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VFL Pies fall short under lights

Alan Didak kicks towards goal during last week's win over North Ballarat at Victoria Park.
A plucky Collingwood came within a whisker of knocking off the highly fancied Werribee but ultimately fell short by eight points under lights at Chirnside Park on Saturday night.

Facing an opponent that smoked Port Melbourne by 72-points in the first week of the season, the Magpies battled hard all night but were let to rue patches at the beginning of the third and final quarters that saw Werribee create a gentle 2-3 goal buffer that proved too difficult to overhaul.

The Tigers appeared to have sewn up the four points when they kicked the first four goals of the final quarter but Collingwood refused to lay down.

Review's coverage of Saturday night's VFL loss to Werribee here.

Dale Tapping's men came home like a train, kicking five of the last six goals to edge within eight points when the final siren sounded.

Defensive Development Coach Mitch Hahn declared the match an important education for a young team that has made great strides over the pre-season.

"Obviously it's disappointing but the effort throughout the majority of the game was really pleasing from all players. We had a few little attention to details things that we can certainly clean up but from an outsider perspective, Werribee is classified as one of the top two teams in the competition and for us, as a team building with a lot of new players coming in, there are certainly a lot of positives to take out of the game," Hahn told after the match.

"Our starts were pretty slow and then the last 10 to 15 minutes of each quarter we started to get on top and overrun them.

"We look at our GPS data and the guys really worked hard and had some fantastic running efforts but in the end, there was just a little bit of forward football from them. The stoppages were won by them and they had some players running forward of the ball and it became a little bit of a shoot out which we don't want.

"But certainly we can't question, as coaches, the effort and the intensity. It's just a few little decisions throughout the period of the game that we can certainly clean up."

Established AFL stars Alan Didak and Andrew Krakouer were typically creative in the centre and continued to gain momentum and contenting as they return from injury and fitness concerns.

The pair was busy all night, with Krakouer's ball-handling and trademark clean hands in close standing out.

Didak played as a high half forward for most of the evening but pushed deeper late in the match where he managed to dribble one of the goals of the night on his non-preferred right foot tight in the forward pocket.

"I think they performed their role for the team," reflected Hahn.

"Certainly Krak, I think, started to get running late in the game and was running on top of the ground. Dids' use through the midfield was really good."

Queensland rookie Adam Oxley was the revelation of the night at half back. The 20-year-old's ability to read the play and back himself overhead left a huge impression on the Chirnside Park crowd as did his willingness to push further up the wing to create and provide an attacking option out of defence.

Oxley kicked the goal of the night early in the first quarter when he left his man and sprinted inside 50 to spoil as Werribee switched the play. He then gathered his own spillage, took the ball at top pace, paused, and then snapped around the corner on his right foot from 30m out.

"I thought Adam Oxley was fantastic tonight," said Hahn.

"He certainly led the way through the air and played on the wing and high forward. He certainly showed a lot of positive aspects. I thought by far he was one of our better players."

Another to leave his mark included ruckman Jarrod Witts who locked horns with established state league ruckmen Daniel Currie and Majak Daw and held his own around the ground. He also dropped back behind the ball where his overhead marking proved important in stymying several of Werribee's forward thrusts.

Josh Thomas was industrious in the centre, winning his share of the ball in tight as well before becoming a dangerous option in space as where his ability to run the lines is quickly improving.

Former Port Melbourne forward Tim Allan also showed flickers of potential as a tall option deep inside fifty during the second and third quarters.

Next week's round of VFL matches will see Collingwood return to Victoria Park to take on Frankston on Saturday at 2pm.

Collingwood 3.1, 5.5 7.9, 11.12 (78)
Werribee    2.6, 6.8, 7.13, 12.14 (86)

Goals - Collingwood: Martin 2, Paine, Oxley, Richmond, Allan, J.Thomas, Didak, M.Williams, Mooney, Moloney
Werribee: Sierakowski 3, Wood 2, Warren 2, Daw, Castello, Currie, Clouston, Maric

Best - Collingwood: Oxley, Heagney-Steart, Seedsman, Riddle, Ferguson, Witts
Werribee: Kennedy, Sierakowski, Moore, Currie, Wilson, Greenwood

At Chrinside Park