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VFL: A win in the country

Patrick Karnezis pauses during the three quarter time break at Morwell on Saturday. Photo: Shane Barrie.
City meets country has never been more evident than when Collingwood took on Richmond from the unfamiliar surrounds of the Morwell Recreation Reserve in round 12 of the VFL.

Horns blared from cars perched along the boundary and the locals selling raffle tickets had never been more popular as the Gippsland community thrived in their moment in the VFL spotlight.

While Morwell’s local team may be the Tigers, it was the Collingwood fans who were left with something to celebrate after their side claimed a comfortable 44-point win in perfect football conditions.

VFL captain Jack Hellier told that the match was an important opportunity to give back to the community.

“It’s great to come out here and give the locals something to come down and enjoy,” Hellier said.

“I certainly enjoyed the occasion and I’m sure they would have loved it too”.

One man who knows the Morwell community better than most was Collingwood development coach and Morwell premiership player Tarkyn Lockyer.

“Like most country areas, they love their sport and the footy and netball club at Morwell is really strong,” Lockyer said.

Recap's coverage of Saturday's 44-point win.

“It’s really pleasing to come down and sample a little bit of country footy but it’s great to give a bit back to the community as well.”

Standing in as coach for the absent Dale Tapping, Lockyer was impressed with the side's return to form after recent losses to Sandringham and Footscray.

“It’s pleasing for the boys to come away with a good win.

“I thought the attack on the ball and the attack on the contest was really good. It was a real team effort today.”

In what was an entertaining and highly skilled contest, Collingwood kicked the first goal of the day and held Richmond at arm’s length for the majority of the afternoon.

Coaches and fans alike would also have been left impressed by the returns of Corey Gault and Patrick Karnezis, who signalled their intent by kicking the first two goals of the match.

Lockyer believes the inclusion of the pair was a valuable asset in defeating the Tigers.

“I thought it bolstered our forward line a little bit,” he said.

“I thought some of Corey’s stuff was excellent (with) the way he competed. And Patty just has that touch of class in the way he attacks the ball.

“Over the next couple of weeks we’ll build their game time and we look forward to them having an impact later in the year.”

As Karnezis boarded the team bus, he told that he was encouraged by his performance on return.

“The body is feeling really good. I only played three quarters so it was obviously limited game time after missing four weeks or so. But I got some good run in my legs and I’ll hopefully just keep improving.

“I think the lack of talls in the last three or four weeks has hurt us. But I think with myself coming back and having Corey Gault back as well helped fix that and gave us some targets.”

While the talls may have been the early focus, it was their smaller teammates who did the damage on the scoreboard.

Jack Hellier kicked two goals in a best on ground performance, while Lachlan Ferguson kicked a season-high five goals.

Third-year rookie Caolan Mooney added another three, while ruckman Brodie Grundy signalled his intent to break back into the senior side with two goals and a dominant all-round performance against Richmond’s Shaun Hampson.

The VFL Magpies will be eager to impress once again when they take on the Northern Blues at Preston City Oval next Sunday.

Collingwood   5.4  10.8  15.14  19.18 (132)
Richmond       1.1  6.2     9.4     13.10 (88)

Goals - Collingwood: Ferguson 5, Mooney 3, Hellier 2, Gault 2, Grundy 2, Allan, J.Williams, Matheson, Martin, Karnezis
Richmond: Stephenson 2, Banfield 2, Lloyd 2, Gordon 2, McGough, McBean, Arnot, Williams, Lennon

Best - Collingwood: Hellier, Broomhead, Yagmoor, Gault, Marsh, Ferguson
Richmond: Barlow, Jackson, Wynne, Banfield, Stephenson, Wall

At Morwell Recreation Reserve.