Collingwood’s VFL side had a fantastic win over the Sandringham Zebras on Sunday afternoon to launch the Pies into the top 8.
It was a slow start for the Pies, with Sandringham getting two majors on the scoreboard early.
Ollie Henry got the Pies underway after he took a stunning mark in the forward pocket and snapped the set shot straight through the middle. Henry played with great confidence and intensity against the Zebras, backing himself in the air all afternoon. Always providing clips for the highlight reel, Henry did more than just touch the clouds. His work across the ground, particularly in defensive transition, was pleasing to see. He finished the afternoon with 2 goals, 3 behinds, 13 disposals and 7 marks.
The story of the first quarter was that of missed opportunity. The Pies kicking five consecutive behinds to find themselves behind by 14 points at the first break.
QT Score: Collingwood 1.5.11 - Sandringham 4.1.25
Two weeks in a row, head coach Craig Black’s quarter time speech has unleashed the side. The Pies were red-hot in the second quarter, going on a streak of six goals.
Henry kicked the first of the quarter, and then the in-form Jack Ginnivan got in on the action. Ginnivan had his best game for Collingwood against the Zebras, kicking a career high 4 goals to go with 15 disposals. Ginnivan has been nothing but impressive in the VFL this season, and now has 10 goals in his last four games. Quick, agile and a strong overhead mark, but what’s most important is his ability to hit the scoreboard. Despite being on the smaller side, the 18-year-old makes the most of every disposal he has.
Sam Fowler was the next to hit the scoreboard. The speedy small forward was back to his damaging best today. Fowler kicked two goals and had 14 disposals, but what was most impressive was his tackling pressure in the forward 50. He had an equal team high six tackles for the match, a crucial role in helping keep the footy in the Pies’ forward half.
Callum Brown and Brayden Sier were dominant in the midfield. In a day where the Pies controlled the contest, Brown and Sier stood out as some of Collingwood’s best. The duo had 17 disposals each to half time, including plenty of clearances.
In Brown’s first VFL game for the season, he showed he has what it takes to get another opportunity at AFL level. He finished the afternoon with 29 disposals, 6 tackles, 6 clearances and 7 inside-50’s. Pies fans will be pleased to see Brown find some form in the VFL, after being listed as the medical sub multiple times this season.
Sier is putting together a nice string of matches in the VFL recently, with another game of midfield dominance. The inside bull had a season high 30 disposals, and could’ve kicked 2 majors if it wasn’t for some wayward kicking. Strong in the contest all afternoon, Sier lead the match with 10 clearances, and as always, had a great connection with Max Lynch in the ruck.
Lynch continues to put pressure on the coaches to give him another opportunity at AFL level. Up against the in-form St Kilda ruckman Paul Hunter, Lynch put on another dominant display. The ruckman had 36 hit-outs to Hunter’s 26, 17 disposals, 6 clearances.
His work around the ground was eye-catching, providing an option down the line and deep in the forward 50.
HT Score: Collingwood 7.9.51 - Sandringham 5.1.31
The game was a bit of a stalemate in the third quarter as the Zebras regained their composure around the football. Ginnivan and Fowler hit the scoreboard early, but it was the backline that held things together for the Pies has Sandringham piled on the pressure.
After kicking two back-to-back goals, the away side were starting to feel like they were getting back in the contest. It was Callan Wellings who intercepted the ball on the forward flank, sold some candy, and launched from 50m to extend the Pies lead. Wellings had the best game of his season so far, notching up 28 disposals, 26 of them being kicks. He plays a crucial role defensively, but what differentiates him from other players is his ability to rebound the Pies into attack.
Alongside him on the half-back line was Trey Ruscoe. Ruscoe has moved into the back six since returning to the VFL side as a means of adding a new feature to his game. He’s been able to develop great composure with the football and utilise his good foot skills to distribute the footy from the back half.
Ruscoe's work rate and willingness to run for his teammates to get in positions where he could receive the ball. Ruscoe led the match for marks (12), had a season high 26 disposals and was key in locking down the Sandringham forwards.
3QT Score: Collingwood 10.11.71 - 8.2.50
The heavens opened at the start of the final term and the football became tough to handle. Fortunately for the Pies, the wind was blowing in the right direction for the final term, a handy advantage as the Zebras looked to get back in the game.
Tom Wilson was a star all afternoon, but really stood up when his team needed him in the final quarter. Wilson amassed a whopping 31 disposals, most out of anyone on the ground, and his highest disposal total for the season. He was outstanding in the aerial contests, utilising his athleticism and height to mark and spoil.
One of the most pleasing aspects to the performance was the way in which everyone played their role and impacted the match. Shoutouts go to the likes of Isaac Chugg who had his best game for Collingwood. It was another 26 disposal game for Lachlan Tardew, while his co-captain Campbell Hustwaite had 25 disposals and a goal. Campbell Lane held down his wing with 22 disposals and Jay Rantall was industrious with 28 disposals.
The back-line has to be applauded as well, with Anton Tohill and Mark Keane making it difficult for their opponents all afternoon; Tohill had 18 disposals, Keane with 21.
Best: Brown, Sier, Hustwaite, Wellings, Ginnivan, Henry, Tohill
Goals: Ginnivan 4, Fowler 2, Henry 2, Hustwaite, Kelly, Wellings