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VFL: Pies cruise past Bombers

Collingwood rebounded from last week’s loss to Port Melbourne with a 28-point win over Essendon at Victoria Park on Saturday.

After conceding four of the game’s first five goals, the Magpies rallied to record a 16.10 (106) to 12.6 (78) victory in front of a healthy crowd at the club’s spiritual home.

Alex Fasolo led the way with four goals for the hosts.

Essendon has proven to be something of a bogey team for the Pies in VFL clashes in recent years and the early signs weren’t promising.

“We just couldn’t get our hands on the ball,” was Collingwood academy coach Brad Gotch’s blunt assessment of the game’s opening passages.

“It’s always a bit hard to judge how you’re going to go when you’re not actually getting the football.”

“To go in not too far down at quarter time was a good result. We were able to regroup the players to say we’ve got to get back into the contest from a contested ball point of view.

“Whilst it didn’t totally turn back our way, we were able to resurrect it from where it was at the start.”

Resurrect it they certainly did. Collingwood’s tackling pressure was markedly improved after the quarter-time break, forcing the Bombers into plenty of turnovers that led directly to attacking opportunities.

Gotch said the side’s team defence was the key in turning the tide of the game.

“Our main score source of the day was turnover. We just defended better as a group in the third quarter which gave us a few more turnover goals,” Gotch said.

“When that happens the scoreboard ticks along, you get a bit more confidence up, a few more players play to their ability, we get a bit more confidence and belief in what we’re doing.”

The sprinkling of stardust needed to convert the excellent grunt work of the Magpies midfield and defence into scores came from familiar sources in Daniel Wells and Fasolo.

Gotch acknowledged Wells still had some work to do to force his way into the senior team, but the signs from the classy midfielder were promising.

“Anything Wellsy touched today was like gold,” Gotch said.

“He was a class above everyone with his disposal and his use of the ball inside 50.

“He still needs (to work on) the running and the spread and those sorts of things, but we can see him progressing in the right direction.”

Daniel Wells on a trademark dash through the centre. (Photo: Shane Barrie)

Gotch said Fasolo’s all-around game impressed the coaching staff in addition to his scoreboard impact.

“Besides the glory of kicking the four goals, he was still competing aerially, and when the ball hit the deck his inferred pressure and tackling was what we need him to do,” Gotch said.

“It’s going to hold him in good stead going forward. Hopefully he gets excited about that and wants to continue to do it.”

Collingwood has a VFL bye next weekend, before returning to action against Werribee on May 5.

Collingwood         2.3      6.4      12.5     16.10 (106)
Essendon              4.2      6.3        8.3      12.6 (78)

Goals - Collingwood: Fasolo 4, Daicos 2, Borthwick 2, McLarty, Murphy, Jarryd Blair, Hellier, Lynch, Wells, Gallucci, Wellings
Essendon: Boyse 3, Younan 3, McQueen, Langford, Houlahan, Mutch, Laverde, Heppell

Best - Collingwood: Wells, Appleby, Fasolo, Hore, Hellier, Lynch
Essendon: Langford, Zerk-Thatcher, Clarke, Leuenberger, Fennell, Younan