Slow starts are fast becoming a trend this season for Collingwood. In their opening round loss to Fremantle the Pies kicked 2.4 in the first quarter. In the next round against the Sydney Swans they could only manage one goal. On Saturday night at the MCG that trend reached its mathematical conclusion, with the Pies goalless at the first break. Dane Swan was particularly slow to fire. It took the Brownlow medalist 12 minutes to register his first touch for the game. He finished the quarter with five disposals: low by his standards.
2. Collingwood's dancing Dream Team
The Pies' 12-member hip-hop dancing crew, the Dream Team, have attracted critics who accuse the club of trying to Americanise the game. Unveiled as part of the pre-match entertainment, the crew (posse?) were charged with pumping up the crowd ahead of the opening bounce. Suggesting the Pies may want to reconsider their audience, the twerking and crumping was met with plenty of blank faces.
3. Elliott in orbit
Collingwood small forward Jamie Elliot's spectacular pack mark against Port Adelaide in round 14 last season earned him the 2013 mark of the year. He is firmly in contention to claim the honours again in 2014 after taking yet another magnificent grab five minutes into the second quarter. With eyes only for the ball, Elliot ran in from the side, riding Geelong star Jimmy Bartel to complete a towering grab in the goal square. His resulting goal, the Pies' first for the game, sparked a comeback which saw them draw level with Geelong at half-time. And his influence didn't stop there. The 21-year-old booted five goals, equalling his career-best haul set last season in round 17 against Carlton.
4. All quiet on the Cloke front
It wasn't a memorable night for Collingwood spearhead Travis Cloke, who has suffered a poor record against Geelong in recent times. Cloke has kicked just the four goals against the Cats in their past three encounters. The Magpie forward failed to trouble the scoreboard on Saturday night and finished the match with just eight disposals and four marks. His Geelong counterpart Tom Hawkins was well held by young Pies defender Jack Frost in the first half. However he stood tall when the Cats needed him most, kicking three final-term goals including the sealer.
5. Tough tags do their job
Cat Cam Guthrie was handed the challenge by coach Chris Scott to run with Collingwood star Scott Pendlebury. The Pies' 2013 best and fairest winner had 26 disposals but wasn't able to impart his usual influence on the game. Guthrie himself finished with 18 possessions and a goal. Meanwhile Brent Macaffer was given the job of negating Geelong's Steve Johnson. The Cat veteran was unable to break free for most of the match, finishing with 20 touches and a goal.