AFL Round 7: Collingwood defeats Gold Coast, latest news and scores

Jordan De Goey and Will Hoskin-Elliott were passed fit, but Collingwood’s illness outbreak stretched far beyond two players. Get the latest reaction and news from the Pies’ win.

Collingwood coach Craig McRae hailed the spirit of his team following their 25-point win over Gold Coast, revealing the Magpies had been “scrambling” to assemble a fit group as illness swept through the group last week.

As the Magpies turn their attention to a clash against Richmond – and the potential return of Dustin Martin – this week after pushing inside the top eight, McRae revealed the extent of the illness that had played havoc with the team’s preparations for the Suns clash at the MCG on Sunday.

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McRae said the Magpies had “half a dozen” players “plus a couple of coaches” in doubt for the match after falling ill during the week.

Jordan De Goey and Will Hoskin Elliott had missed training on Friday with what had been described as gastro, while McRae revealed emergency Callum Brown’s late switch into the starting line-up was also due to doubt over whether he would be well enough to play.

The illness came on top of the loss of frontline ruckman Brodie Grundy and Nathan Kreuger to injury last week.

Craig McRae chats to Josh Daicos after Collingwood’s win.
Craig McRae chats to Josh Daicos after Collingwood’s win.

“We are really proud of our performance. You don’t see what goes on behind the scenes for a week, we have been scrambling all week to try to see what our best team is going to look like,” McRae said after the Magpies’ four-goal win.

“We have had a lot of injury and illness, obviously to those that you know about going out of the team.

“We are just proud of our boys to be able to reset ourselves and put our eye on the prize and come here ready to play and kicking seven goals in the first quarter was a fantastic start.

“(There were) half a dozen and a couple of coaches (sick). There is a lot of coughing and spluttering going on now so I have been told to get out of there.

“With Covid going on at the moment, we test everyday so there is no risk of that but the man flu, it can be terminal for some, can’t it?

“At one stage during the week I did not want to answer the phone because it was going to be another text that someone was sick or that there was another injury. It was one of those weeks.

“To be honest, three or four players I got told wouldn’t play this week or were unlikely and they all played and played their roles so that is great spirit and the team benefits from that.”

Jordan De Goey tries to spoil Charlie Ballard.
Jordan De Goey tries to spoil Charlie Ballard.

After Gold Coast kicked the opening two goals of the match, the Magpies set-up the win with seven straight goals in the first quarter.

But the Magpies had to fight off several fightbacks from the dogged Suns to claim their fourth win of the season, which was highlighted by four goals from forward Brodie Mihocek and three to bleached-blond excitement machine Jack Ginnivan.

The match was the Magpies’ first without Grundy, who faces up to three months on the sidelines after injuring his PCL.

But McRae was happy with what rucks Darcy Cameron (two goals) and debutant Aiden Begg delivered, despite Jarrod Witts dominating the hit-outs.

“I have got great respect for Wittsy, we knew what he was going to bring to the table,” McRae said.

“I was really proud of Darcy, he took the mantle and said ‘I want to be that guy’ and completed really hard and I think clearances went down by a couple.

“But even young Begg comes in and the clearances, while Begg was against Witts we won by four, so maybe we didn’t quite win the hit-outs but it was the stuff that we did around the ball where we supported that.

“This is a work in progress, this is not just the one week without Brodie, we have got three months of it. I’m sure it’s not going to look the same the whole time but today I am really pleased with those two guys.

“I think based on today those guys particularly played their role really well it would be hard to change on that and next week we have got (Toby) Nankervis and (Ivan) Soldo so every week is a different challenge.”

The Magpies will face Richmond at the MCG on Saturday off the back of the Tigers’ 109-point win over West Coast with the prospect of superstar Martin returning.

“I’m glad Dusty’s back, that’s awesome,” McRae, a former assistant coach at Richmond, said.

“I sit here with great respect for Richnond. I am not sitting here without my time there, there are a lot of people there I still love and players included but we have got a job to do.

“We know how they play, we know their strengths and they were awesome against West Coast.

“We come here in six days time and give it our best shot.”

NEW BEGG-INNINGS AS PIES FIND RUCK SAVIOUR

- Nick D’Urbano

It’s amazing how much can change in a year.

At this exact time last year, in the corresponding fixture, Gold Coast delivered a hammer blow to not only Collingwood’s season but to Nathan Buckley’s coaching tenure – as the Magpies fell to their worst start since 2005.

Fast forward 12 months and the ghosts of last season seem nothing more than a distant memory.

With a rookie coach at the helm and an exciting new game-plan on show, Collingwood, now sitting in eighth place after seven rounds, is starting to cook again.

However, its fourth win of the season was far from easy, as the Magpies fended off a resilient Suns outfit, which, for the best part of the game, kept on coming when Collingwood threatened to pull away.

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Darcy Cameron proved he can fill Brodie Grundy’s role.
Darcy Cameron proved he can fill Brodie Grundy’s role.

Momentum swings typified the contest, with both sides trading blocks of goals which, at one point, helped the Suns pull within nine points early in the third quarter.

To the Pies’ credit, they kept answering every challenge and were able to kick ahead when it mattered, coming away victorious by 25 points to ensure they’ll finish the weekend inside the top eight.

Collingwood was clinical going forward, as the likes of Brody Mihocek and Jack Ginnivan picked up right where they left off on Anzac Day, combining for seven goals, while Jack Crisp (28 disposals, eight marks, seven clearances) and Scott Pendlebury (25 disposals) led the way in the middle.

Gold Coast, however, will lose no admirers for its effort as the Suns found chinks in the Magpies’ armour by picking holes through their zonal defending, allowing both Levi Casboult and Mabior Chol to stamp their authority up forward.

Touk Miller (36 disposals, 10 clearances, two goals) and Noah Anderson (32 disposals, eight inside 50s) were among Gold Coast’s best, making the most of Jarrod Witts’ dominance in the ruck (45 hit-outs), who was imperious in the middle all afternoon but could not stem the bleeding as the Suns fell to 2-5.

A NEW BEGG-INNING

Just like last season’s contest, a ruckman faced the gargantuan task of going up against one of the competition’s best.

However, unlike the previous meeting when makeshift Suns’ ruck duo Caleb Graham and Chris Burgess went toe-to-toe with Brodie Grundy, it was Magpies’ youngster Aiden Begg who was thrown into the pressure cooker on debut against Jarrod Witts.

Begg was given first crack at replacing the injured Grundy, as he was selected ahead of Mason Cox to provide support for Darcy Cameron and didn’t back down from the enormous challenge.

Despite giving up size and strength to the Suns’ giant, the youngster, along with Cameron and, the Pies’ midfield brigade more than held their own when the ball hit the deck — only losing the clearances by three, despite being comprehensively beaten in the hit-outs (51-17).

Mabior Chol celebrates a goal.
Mabior Chol celebrates a goal.

LEVI AND CHOL IMPRESS

If there were a couple Suns who took to the MCG like a fish does to water, it was Casboult and Chol.

In their first game back in the familiar East Melbourne surroundings, the former Blue and Tiger were a handful for the Magpies’ defence all afternoon, making the most of Collingwood’s zonal marking to gain separation and boot four and three goals respectively.

Casboult has rejuvenated his career since heading north and, along with Chol, has filled in admirably for the injured Ben King. If Gold Coast is to do anything this season it will need more efforts like this from the key forward duo.

250 OF THE BEST

There haven’t been many better midfield one-two punches in recent AFL history than that of Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom – who ran out on Sunday for the 250th time as teammates.

The duo is the last remnant of Collingwood’s 2010 premiership side and has been a constant in the Magpies’ line-up, particularly in the middle of the ground, for over a decade.

Out of all active duos in the competition, Pendlebury and Sidebottom rank fourth, 11 games behind Tigers duo Jack Riewoldt and Trent Cotchin who have linked up 261 times.

Ben Ainsworth and Jack Ginnivan come to blows.
Ben Ainsworth and Jack Ginnivan come to blows.

Scoreboard

COLLINGWOOD 7.3 11.5 15.10 17.13 (115)

def

GOLD COAST 3.1 8.2 11.3 14.6 (90)

GOALS

PIES: Mihocek 4, Ginnivan 3, Cameron 2, J.Daicos 2, De Goey, McCreery, T.Brown, Madgen, Crisp, C.Brown

SUNS: Casboult 4, Chol 3, Holman 2, Ainsworth 2, Miller 2, Rosas

D’URBANO’S BEST

PIES: Crisp, Mihocek, Pendlebury, Lipinski, Adams, Ginnivan, Noble

SUNS: Miller, Anderson, Witts, Casboult, Chol, Ellis

NICK D’URBANO’S VOTES

3 — Jack Crisp (COLL)

2 — Touk Miller (GC)

1 — Brody Mihocek (COLL)

INJURIES

PIES: nil

SUNS: Budarick (ankle)

Umpires: Haussen, Rosebury, Dore

Venue: 28,916 at the MCG

Originally published as AFL Round 7: Collingwood defeats Gold Coast, latest news and scores

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