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VFL: Pies open pre-season with draw

Collingwood’s VFL pre-season began in hollow fashion with a draw against Northern Blues.

After trailing for most of the match, the Magpies appeared to have clinched a late win when Irish draftee Anton Tohill scored an opportunistic late goal to put his side in front by a point.

But a late behind from Northern ensured that the scoreboard finished tied at 7.4 (46) apiece.

Max Lynch was impressive early for the Pies, kicking a first-quarter goal to go along with impressive marking around the ground. Josh Daicos was constantly busy around the ball, while Isaac Quaynor showcased the dash from defensive-50 that will likely soon be his trademark.

As the score suggests, Sunday’s game was far from the most free-flowing encounter. A combination of wind, light rain and rusty skills at the early stage of pre-season resulted in what Collingwood coach Jared Rivers described as a “scrappy affair.”

“It was the first game, everything was messy at times,” Rivers said post-game.

“Neither team had a lot of free-flowing footy or marks inside-50, it was just that type of day.”

Rivers credited the improvement of his midfield group as the key to his side’s second-half turnaround.

“After half-time the boys really lifted around the pill,” he said.

“Brayden Sier was better, Rupert (Wills), Alex (Woodward), those guys really got us going.

“I reckon in that second half we had the ball a lot more in our forward half which was the way we want to play.

“It was pleasing to fight back and scrape in for a draw, but there’s things form the game that we’ll learn from.”

Rivers also praised the work of his defence, namely Flynn Appleby, Nathan Murphy, Jack Madgen and Mark Keane in keeping Northern to a low score.

Unfortunately, the Pies didn’t escape the match unscathed. Ben Reid wasn’t seen after quarter-time as he nursed a quad injury. Captain Jack Hellier left the ground late in the final term after hurting his knee.

The extent of both of the injuries won’t be known until the pair undergo scans during the week.

Collingwood’s VFL pre-season continues on Friday evening as it hosts Coburg at the Holden Centre. The game is scheduled to start at seven o'clock.

Max Lynch marks in a pack of Blues. Photo: Shane Barrie