Werribee and Collingwood are set to do battle on the big stage when the square off under the bright lights of Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Werribee vs Collingwood
Saturday, August 5
3:45pm at Etihad Stadium, Docklands
The Story So Far
Werribee enters its round 16 clash with Collingwood at Etihad Stadium riding high after firming up its spot in the top eight with a thrilling win over Port Melbourne. The Tigers had been in danger of slipping out of the eight after two consecutive losses, but the win over the Borough has no doubt done their confidence a world of good and shown they are still capable of matching it with some of the competition’s top teams.
Collingwood enters the match sitting in 10th place at 6-8 after something of a mixed season, though it has certainly claimed a few prized scalps along the way. Among the Pies’ more notable recent victories are a 37-point win over Port in round 10, a five-point win over Footscray in round 11, and a nail-biting two-point win over a red-hot Richmond outfit just two weeks ago.
The round five encounter between Werribee and Collingwood at Wangaratta proved to be one of the games of the season. Looking for a third straight win, the more fancied Tigers were caught napping early against the Pies, who jumped out to a 47-point lead early in the second quarter as they looked to break a run of three straight losses.
What followed was a remarkable two quarters of football from Werribee, which piled on 13 goals to four to charge into the lead by three-quarter time and hold on for an 11-point win.
- Good kicking is good football, and Werribee’s straight-shooting tally of 17.3 against Port Melbourne last weekend went a big way to securing victory. The Tigers will want to bring that sort of accuracy to the table again given Collingwood’s talls and rebounding defenders will be looking to minimise scoring opportunities, though the Etihad roof should help in the regard by keeping the elements out of the equation.
- While Lindsay Thomas proved to be a key target up forward last week with four goals, the ability of the Werribee midfielders and small forwards to have an impact on the scoreboard also proved telling. The Tigers have looked at their most dangerous this year with the likes of Tom Gribble, Joe Maishman, and Matt Munro contributing multiple goals and will be looking for more of the same in order to avoid becoming too predictable with their forward entries.
- A top-10 finisher in Collingwood’s AFL best-and-fairest, Josh Smith is one of the Pies’ more dangerous prospects and offers great rebound out of defence. He was especially damaging in last week’s narrow loss to Essendon, picking up 23 kicks and 11 marks.
- As the leading goalkicker in the competition, Kayle Kirby is likely to prove a handful for the Werribee defence. As well as his scoring ability, he brings great forward defensive pressure and good ability to contest the ball both in the air and on the ground, so it will be interesting to see how the likes of Ryley Barrack handle the challenge down back for the Tigers.
- Matt Hanson enters his 50th game for Werribee on the back of a typically strong performance, having emerged from the clash with Port with 26 disposals, 10 clearances, and 16 tackles. Dane McFarlane also plays his 50th VFL game, having begun his career at Geelong, while big men Harry Boyd and Tristan Xerri make their VFL debuts for the Tigers.
The Bottom Line
Collingwood looks likely to line up with plenty of tall timber among its ranks, so Werribee will need to look to negate that by bringing the ball to ground and utilising the fast deck of Etihad Stadium to run, carry, and spread.
The flip side to that is the fact the Pies are the number-one side in the competition for disposals and handballs, meaning the Tigers will need to clamp down at the stoppages and be clean in their ball use to avoid being hurt on the turnover.