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VFL: Pies win fifth straight

Collingwood won its fifth straight VFL game on Saturday, romping home for a 32-point win over a strong Footscray side.

The Magpies were headed at each of the quarter breaks, before an eight goal to one final term earned them an impressive come from behind win.

The result leaves the Pies at 6-1 after eight rounds, trailing leaders Richmond by only percentage ahead of the two clubs’ clash next Sunday.

The match mirrored Friday night’s AFL encounter in many ways. Scoring was difficult for both sides early before the Pies ran away with the win towards the end.

The switch of rookie-listed Brody Mihocek into the forward half was pivotal for the Pies, who had previously struggled to move the ball against the experienced Dogs defence.

Mihocek kicked two goals himself and had a hand in others after his move forward to be named Collingwood’s best player.

The win was especially impressive for the Pies given that two of their best VFL performers so far this year, in Sam McLarty and Brayden Sier, were unable to finish the game. Sier has a suspected adductor injury, while McLarty has a foot issue. Both players will be assessed during the week.

The Pies’ pressure and inside work was at fever pitch in the last quarter. Coach Jared Rivers said that performing the basics well in the last term was key to his side’s fast finish.

“We knew there was a strong breeze going to our end, but we knew that we just had to get it right at the contest first,” he told Collingwood Media post-match.

“They were on top of us for most of the game in clearances and stoppage. We knew we had to at least halve it or win it to give ourselves any chance.”

“The boys in the middle got the job done.”

Another constant in Friday night’s and Saturday’s win was the secret weapon Collingwood has on its coaching panel, in Development Coach and 292-game former Bulldog Matthew Boyd.

“He has great insight. Clearly, he knows a lot about the Doggies and the way they play,” Rivers said of Boyd.

“I think he helped both teams (AFL and VFL) this week and that definitely helped us to try and make a winning plan against these guys.”

The Pies’ win sets up a titanic clash with Richmond next Sunday at 11.30am. The match at Victoria Park will pit first against second on the VFL ladder and will double as the 100th VFL match for Collingwood captain Jack Hellier, the first player to reach that milestone.

Rivers and the Pies are making no attempt to downplay the importance of the match, instead using it as an opportunity to see exactly where the club is placed in the early stages of the 2018 VFL season.

“It’s going to be a challenge for us, but we’re super excited,” he said.

“They’re the team to beat I reckon this year.”

“There’s no better test than against Richmond. It’s at Vic Park, it’s our captain’s 100th VFL game, so it’s a really big week for him and the VFL program.

“We’re really excited about the opportunity.”

Both sides entered the ground under a shared banner recognising National Reconciliation Week. Photo: Shane Barrie

Collingwood        0.2   4.4    7.4     15.5  (95)
Footscray            1.4   5.6    8.9       9.9  (63)

Goals – Collingwood: Hetherington 3, Borthwick 2, Mihocek 2, McLarty, Jarryd Blair, Crocker, Howe, Gallucci, Brown, Wills, Wellings

 Honeychurch 2, Roberts 2, Webb, Hayes, M.Wallis, Greene, J.Wallis

Best – Collingwood: Mihocek, Hore, Hetherington, Oxley, Wills, Sing