Werribee will be looking to bounce back and return to the winners’ list when it hosts Collingwood at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday.
Saturday, May 5
5pm at Avalon Airport Oval
The story so far
Werribee’s 1-3 record belies its strong start to season. While it was well beaten in last weekend’s 38-point loss to Richmond, it was in winning positions against powerful Geelong and Casey Demons sides across the opening two rounds and notched a comprehensive 41-point win over Williamstown in round three.
Collingwood enters Saturday’s match coming off a bye and with its season at 2-1. Other than in their 16-point loss to Port Melbourne in atrocious conditions in round two, the Magpies have looked in formidable touch, notching a 28-point win over Essendon in round three and handing down a 130-point thumping to the Northern Blues in their season opener.
The two sides met twice in 2017, the round-five fixture in Wangaratta seeing Werribee overturn a 47-point second-quarter deficit to notch a remarkable 11-point victory over Collingwood in one of the games of the season.
The round-16 encounter at Etihad Stadium was less memorable for the black-and-gold faithful, Werribee starting strongly before ultimately fading to go down by 32 points.
• Having been dealt a serious dose of midfield pressure by Richmond last week, Werribee should prepare itself for more of the same against Collingwood. The Pies' tackling effort went a long way towards securing their round-three victory over Essendon, Rupert Wills and Gus Borthwick leading the way with 10 tackles each.
• Werribee is currently the number-one team for uncontested marks in the VFL, while Collingwood is not far behind in third, which sets the stage for an open, free-flowing affair. That being the case, the key to victory could well be held by the team that is better able to restrict its opponent’s space rather than trying to find more of its own.
• With his four games as 23rd man now complete, Jack Henderson looks a good chance to be promoted to the 22 after his impressive shutdown role on Shai Bolton last week. If he does, he will no doubt have another big task on his hands if assigned to another small forward, with the likes of Alex Fasolo and Josh Daicos having looked dangerous across the Pies’ opening three matches.
• Werribee midfielder Joel Bennett will debut as 23rd man on Saturday after bouncing back beautifully from an early-season hand injury to produce strong local form in the Geelong Football League with Geelong West Giants.
• There will be a few familiar faces across the aisle for both camps, with Werribee midfielder Ben Moloney having previously spent four seasons at Collingwood and Pies defender Brody Mihocek having donned the “big W” back in 2014 and 2015.