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Five talking points: Collingwood v Western Bulldogs

Highlights: Collingwood v Western Bulldogs The Magpies and Bulldogs clash in round 10

1. Cox’s bad bump
In the dying stages, with Collingwood about to celebrate a hard-earned win, the Pies’ forward/ruckman Mason Cox delivered a crude bump that appears certain to be punished by match review officer Michael Christian. Bulldogs speedster Jason Johannisen had his head over the ball when Cox collected him front on and high. The only thing in Cox’s favour is that Johannisen shook off the knock and played on. Cox could be set to receive his second suspension of the season.

 


2. Varcoe’s hamstring woes continue
Travis Varcoe is in the twilight of his career and his experience, class and speed are extremely valuable to the Pies, but the ex-Cat’s time at Collingwood has been plagued by hamstring injuries – and he has copped another one. The 30-year-old left the field in the third term and didn't return, becoming the latest Pie to be hamstrung, following Jordan De Goey, Taylor Adams, Jamie Elliott, Darcy Moore and Josh Smith. Earlier, Bulldogs defender Zaine Cordy suffered delayed concussion in the second term after earlier keeping Pies emerging star Jordan De Goey quiet.

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3. Pies power away after letting Dogs off the leash early
After managing just two goals in the wet at Adelaide Oval last week, it seemed the Bulldogs might again have scoring issues when they trailed 6-0 after 13 minutes. However, they slammed on the next five goals in the space of just 14 minutes to open up a 26-point lead early in the second term as premiership forward Tory Dickson helped himself to two goals on return from a hamstring injury. Thereafter, though, the Pies caused a 61-point turnaround, and 53 points after half-time alone, as they wore the Dogs down and kept them goalless in the second half. It was the Magpies’ first win over the Dogs in five years and they are now 6-4 and in the top eight, at least temporarily. The Dogs, meanwhile, are 4-6 and appear set to miss the finals again.

 

4. Pies tag Macrae … eventually, and only briefly
Levi Greenwood, the Magpies’ only genuine tagger, was promoted for his first game of the season after an injury-hindered pre-season and it appeared a formality that he would be given the job on Brownlow Medal fancy Jack Macrae, who in his previous three outings had averaged 41 possessions (23 contested) and 11 clearances. Surprisingly, Greenwood started at half-back as the Pies backed their system against Macrae, but that plan failed as the dominant Dog had 11 touches in the first term. Greenwood was moved onto Macrae at the start of the second quarter and quietened him down, before the Pies reverted to a more team-orientated approach in the second half as Adam Treloar (40 possessions), Tom Phillips (36) and skipper Scott Pendlebury (32) came into their own. Macrae still had 30 possessions but didn't have the impact of previous weeks.

5. Grundy grinds them down
Magpie man-mountain Brodie Grundy was expected to pretty much do as he pleased against Bulldogs rucks Jordan Roughead and Tom Boyd but in the first half he was upstaged by Roughead, who was a key figure in the Dogs’ early ascendancy with two first-half goals. But the longer the game went, the more Grundy thrived and he ended up with 26 possessions (21 contested), seven marks (three contested), seven clearances and 38 hitouts.

Brodie Grundy is enjoying an amazing year. Picture: AFL Photos