Over the next few weeks Dyson Baker will take a look at how every club has fared this year, exactly where every club is at in terms of development and of course how far away each club is from Premiership success. Today, he looks at Collingwood…
Currently: 2nd, 12 Wins & 1 loss, 170%
Collingwood has gone from strength to strength in season 2011 and the 2010 AFL Premiers have continued to breed success, losing only one game so far this year.
The reigning Premiers got off to a flying start with convincing wins over Port Adelaide and North Melbourne, both at Etihad Stadium. The Pies then won their next four beating Carlton, Essendon and the Western Bulldogs in that stretch before falling to the Cats by 3 points in front of 81,000 people in round 8.
Since then the Magpies have only once been truly tested, in round 14 when they narrowly got over the Swans by 6 points at Stadium Australia. They have since beaten fellow Top 4 opponents by 40 points (West Coast) and 45 points (Hawthorn) respectively. On the run home the Magpies may be tested on a few occasions, in two weeks’ time when they take on a rampaging Carlton outfit followed a fortnight later by the “in form” Bombers. Then in round 24 they will look to make amends on their round 8 loss as they take on Geelong on what is sure to be a finals preview.
The Pies travel more in the last 9 weeks than in first 15, with matches at Metricon Stadium (Gold Coast), Paterson’s stadium (Fremantle) and AAMI Stadium (Port Adelaide). You would expect Collingwood to win most of their remaining games although I would think that the Cats will be too good in Round 24.
Prediction: 1st, 20 Wins & 2 Losses, 160.7%
Going Forward: It’s hard to go past the Magpies as flag favourites for season 2011, they haven’t missed a beat and have kept a reasonably healthy list to this point in the season. Any deficiency that was going to be a problem from last season has been quickly fixed and the Pies look to be cruising along. Looking ahead to next season, they will need to start investing in small forwards, both Davis and Didak have played for most of their careers in the forward half and they aren’t getting any younger as they both stare down the barrel of 30. With Cloke finding form of recent months, the need for a key forward has gone out the window. Their centre line is as potent as ever, the only thing that the Pies lack is a secondary ruckman. With Darren Jolly missing most of the season, in fact only managing 5 games this year, Cameron Wood has been found out as a first rate ruckman, he doesn’t have the ability to play first ruck and with Fraser gone and Jolly spending time on the sidelines, it will become a weakness in the Collingwood Midfield.
In conclusion, expect big things from the Pies, whether they will hear the calls of their fans and manage 2 or even 3 in a row is yet to be determined but from a list management point of view, the Pies have done everything right to call themselves contenders, for this year, and probably the next 2 years.
Premiership Window: 2009-2013
Next up… Essendon!