Crowd-loving Collingwood Magpies give fans plenty to cheer for
Geelong could hardly find a level above the team that tussled for the Premiership last season, but you can write down that they won’t be any worse. One win was the sometimes commanding – and sometimes wasteful – performance of Esava Ratugolea at full-back.
The balance of players, who were either unavailable, underwhelmed or injured that night, worked against the Cats as Tom Stewart went down in the first quarter and Sam de Koning also hobbled. In truth, the game changed when this pair hobbled away, then again shortly after Howe’s horrific accident.
The most emphatic answer the Magpies gave that night was how they would fare without Howe. Twice they were more than 20 points behind, but roared home like a king’s tide. It’s no small thing to say about the pies that it wasn’t even close.
There was a minor question as to how Ollie Henry would finish in his first game for his new club against his old one.
It was decided like this: a goal for Henry in the second quarter, which he celebrated by keeping his ears on the Magpie crowd, and when he sauntered into the goal court minutes later to score what he felt was an easy second goal, a wild tackle by Collingwood skipper Darcy Moore. All of this took place at the Collingwood end, and now the crowd was calling the shots.
Other questions arose: is there life after Joel Selwood for Geelong? It stared them in the face before the game, when the legendary former skipper made a one-man (and a baby) honor column.
The mark of a great leader is that his team doesn’t collapse when he’s gone, but rather keeps improving. QED. Dangerfield’s leadership style may be different, but the foundations Selwood has laid are solid.
Speaking of leadership, the Magpies’ blessing is that they still have Scott Pendlebury in the post-Pendlebury era.
Another question for Collingwood: is there a way without all-Australian ruckman Brodie Grundy? It’s more nuanced and controversial given that Grundy didn’t feature on most of the Magpies’ fairytale rides last year, but he was a popular player at the club and his departure would always be a test of the fabric.
Tonight’s evidence says they’ll be fine. Darcy Cameron held his own in the ruck, and Mason Cox held his own as he does from time to time by scoring superbly and scoring two goals. After his second, he mimicked Henry’s gesture; he is nothing but a showman.
And with that, one last question: is the game losing its appeal? More than 88,000 on Thursday night and 86,595 this evening say no in capital letters. They’re the converts, yes, but they’re still massed. If the footy is that good for the rest of the season, they’ll all be coming back a lot.
https://www.smh.com.au/sport/afl/crowd-pleasing-collingwood-magpies-give-fans-plenty-to-cheer-about-20230317-p5ct3k.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport Crowd-loving Collingwood Magpies give fans plenty to cheer for