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Match preview: Collingwood v Essendon

Pick a Winner: Coll v Ess Duck and Browny preview the Magpies v Bombers
Tension builds before the Anzac Day game in 2017 - AFL,Collingwood Magpies,Essendon Bombers
Tension builds before the Anzac Day game in 2017

SUMMARY
The hype surrounding the annual Anzac Day clash between Collingwood and Essendon has lifted significantly after both clubs posted terrific victories in round four – the Magpies shocking Adelaide with an Adelaide Oval hammering, and the Bombers rebounding strongly to inflict Port Adelaide’s first loss of the season. This is a clash between a Pies side that always gives its all but often lacks polish, and a Bombers team that boasts class everywhere but lacks consistency. Magpie Brodie Grundy has been the AFL’s best ruckman this season and midfielder Steele Sidebottom has also entered the elite category, while the Pies will need to limit the influence of Dons defender Michael Hurley and counter a dangerous attack boasting Jake Stringer, James Stewart and Joe Daniher, with the latter finally discovering some late touch against the Power. 

WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Wednesday April 25, 3.20pm
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide 

LAST FIVE TIMES
R16, 2017, Essendon 18.9 (117) d Collingwood 12.8 (80) at the MCG
R5, 2017, Essendon 15.10 (100) d Collingwood 11.16 (82) at the MCG
R5, 2016, Collingwood 22.10 (142) d Essendon 11.7 (73) at the MCG
R23, 2015, Essendon 14.11 (95) d Collingwood 14.8 (92) at the MCG
R4, 2015, Collingwood 9.15 (69) d Essendon 6.13 (49) at the MCG 

THE SIX POINTS
1.The clubs have met 23 times on Anzac Day since 1995 for 13 Collingwood wins, nine Essendon victories and one draw.

2. Essendon has won three of their past four head-to-head contests.

3. Last year, when Essendon defeated Collingwood twice in a season for the first time since 2005, Orazio Fantasia starred with four goals on Anzac Day and five in the return clash.

4. The Magpies handball more than any other team in the competition, averaging 190.3, and are No.1 for disposals with 404.8 a game. Essendon is mid-table for disposals with an average of 365.

5. The Magpies are ranked second in clearances with 41.8 a game while the Bombers are equal-16th with 33.5.

6. Collingwood boasts four players in the top 40 of the Schick AFL Player Ratings – skipper Scott Pendlebury (No. 3), Adam Treloar (No. 9), Brodie Grundy (No. 20) and Steele Sidebottom (No. 40) – while Essendon has just one, Zach Merrett (No. 27).


Mason Cox has been doing the little things but needs to hit the scoreboard. Picture: AFL Photos

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR ...

Mason Cox
is under no selection pressure whatsoever after demonstrating his importance to the Pies’ structure over the past fortnight. But, two years on from his AFL debut on Anzac Day 2016, it’s time the ‘American Pie’ provided more than just a contest and support ruckwork. In his three outings this season Cox hasn't troubled the scorers, so it would be timely if he nailed some goals and clunked a few contested marks.

PREDICTION: Collingwood by 19 points