Coach – Nathan Buckley
Points For – 3rd
Points Against – 8th
Top 5 Best and Fairest
- Steele Sidebottom
- Brodie Grundy
- Scott Pendlebury
- Jack Crisp
- Taylor Adams
2018 Rising Star Noms
Sam Murray (Rnd 3)
Jaidyn Stephenson (Rnd 4)
Ins – Dayne Beams, Jordan Roughead, Isaac Quaynor, Will Kelly, Atu Bosenavulagi,
Outs – Jarryd Blair, Alax Fasolo, Kayle Kirby, Sam McLarty, Adam Oxley, Josh Smith
I got this one desperately wrong last year, I didn’t just have the Pies missing the eight but had them missing by a distance. They had a lot go right last year but also had their fair share of injuries and lost some crucial players along the way. Their midfield looked shaky before the year but suddenly it looks like it bats deep and full of quality.
The backline is probably their main concern. They are light on key position depth and have Dunn returning from a serious knee injury. Darcy Moore chose to hang around but I am not convinced he will take the next step. I have always rated him highly but he just looks a role player. Howe is an amazing intercept mark and they get reasonable drive from their half backs although they looked better with Murray playing.
The midfield was consistently good in the second half of last year. Sidebottom had a career best year and de Goey announced himself as someone who will rip the competition to shreds at stages. You then add Beams on top of Phillips, Wells, Treloar and even Mayne who was incredibly important last year and you have one of the best midfields in the competition. They bat deep and have a lot of quality ball users all the way through.
The forward line surprised last year and the emergence of Mihocek in the second half of the season gave them a marking option outside of Cox (who I still don’t rate despite his accent and back story). Thomas fulfilled some of the potential he looked like he had before the nose candy took a couple of years out of his career and then came Stephenson who just impacted games constantly over the year and kicked goals when they needed them. With all that said, there still looks to be holes in their forward line and in the grand final we saw that they lacked a real quality marking tall who does more than just provide a target.
Grundy isn’t just a quality ruck but the minute the ball hits the ground they have another midfielder, he racked up ridiculous numbers last year and he is probably their most important player. They picked up Roughead which gives them a solid back up should anything go wrong. From a coaching perspective, Buckley really turned it around last year. He didn’t just prove he could coach but his PR people made him appear likeable and look like a man of his people. He looked more relaxed and his players definitely responded and they looked like they wanted to play for him.
I guess the thing we should ignore is that Collingwood had a really soft draw last year, they had a reasonable run during the season and secured top four with that run. That being said, they had to beat quality teams in the finals to make the big show and they looked the part. I don’t seem them missing the finals but they are going to have a harder draw this year and I think that may impact their top four chances. I think they finish between 4 and 6.