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Mid-season review: Collingwood

Collingwood's mid-season report card Peter Ryan takes a look at the Magpies season so far
Scott Pendlebury has led from the front in customary fashion for the Pies - AFL,Collingwood Magpies,Mid-season reviews
Scott Pendlebury has led from the front in customary fashion for the Pies

The season so far

Collingwood has had a 'nearly' season so far, losing seven games by an average margin of just 14 points. Poor kicking for goal was the most obvious issue early in the season, but the forward line and the midfield were not connecting. The low point was a 23-point loss to Carlton in round seven, but since then the Pies have played well, attacking through the middle and creating scoring opportunities to win four games and lose two by less than a goal. 

Quarters won: 21 (out of 48)

Players used: 33

Yet to play: Josh Daicos, Lachlan Keeffe, Kayle Kirby, Max Lynch, Sam McLarty, Liam Mackie, Adam Oxley, Brayden Sier, Ben Sinclair, Josh Thomas, Rupert Wills.

Stats leaders

Disposals: Taylor Adams (361)
Marks: Jeremy Howe (83)
Goals: Jamie Elliott (20)
Tackles: Scott Pendlebury (84)
Metres gained: Scott Pendlebury 399.5
Tackles in defensive 50: Steele Sidebottom 159

Best win

Round 11 against Fremantle. With three players off injured, Tyson Goldsack playing with a fractured scapula during the last quarter and the Dockers drawing level at home, the Magpies rallied for a team-lifting 20-point win.

One that got away

Round eight against Greater Western Sydney. After shooting to an early lead, the Magpies held on, and on, and on until Steve Johnson crumbed a high kick front and square and goaled to steal victory in the final minute.

Best and fairest leader: Scott Pendlebury

Surprise packet: Brayden Maynard

Who's struggling: Mason Cox

Missing in action

Chris Mayne. The free agent has played just three games after arriving from Fremantle on a four-year deal. No-one can fault his effort, but he is yet to play well enough in the VFL to break back into the team.

Chris Mayne hasn't been seen at senior level since round three. Picture: AFL Photos

The concern

Nothing has been easy for Collingwood this season, with every game a dogfight. Initially it was conversion that was the problem; now, it's an inability to keep its shape for an entire game. The Magpies have been consistent in applying pressure, but have not been skilful enough on all lines to make the opposition wilt.

Pass mark

Six games at the MCG and Port Adelaide and Gold Coast outside Victoria gives the Magpies a chance in each of their final 10 games. Going 6-4 on the run home would be a reasonable result, but it would leave the Magpies with 11 wins, probably not enough to make finals. 

The coach

Nathan Buckley has done an excellent job under enormous pressure, setting up the team well enough to give them a chance to win. The players are clearly invested in his plan, and they have improved from round six onwards.  

How the best 22 has changed

The class of Daniel Wells and Jamie Elliott made a significant impact when they returned, but it was more the direct style that ensued after round seven that made a difference rather than a shift in personnel. The Magpies also went with a small forward line that allowed it to put more pressure on the opposition when the ball hit the ground.

B: Tyson Goldsack, Lynden Dunn, Brayden Maynard 
HB: Jeremy Howe, Ben Reid, Travis Varcoe
C: Steele Sidebottom, Adam Treloar, Daniel Wells
HF: Jordan De Goey, Levi Greenwood, Will Hoskin-Elliott
F: Jamie Elliott, Darcy Moore, Alex Fasolo
Foll: Brodie Grundy, Scott Pendlebury, Taylor Adams
I/C: Jack Crisp, Jarryd Blair, Tom Phillips, James Aish

In from pre-season best 22: James Aish, Jordan De Goey, Jamie Elliott, Levi Greenwood, Daniel Wells.

Out from pre-season best 22: Mason Cox, Chris Mayne, Jackson Ramsey, Josh Smith, Jesse White.

Who did we tip for your club's best 22 in round one? 

Pies fans: what's your mid-season verdict?

Share your views via the form below and we'll publish the best responses on the morning of Collingwood's next match.

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