Round 19 Match Preview: Collingwood vs. St Kilda

By Nick Ciantar.

Round 19, MCG.

Collingwood:

Collingwood comfortably defeated GWS last round by the tune of 120 points. Travis Cloke returned to form kicking six goals. Cloke has been under scrutiny this year both on and off the field and his standout game against the Giants will give his confidence a much needed boost. The Pies will be bolstered by the returns of Darren Jolly, Harry O’Brien, Dale Thomas, Steele Sidebottom and Sharrod Wellingham. All were rested against GWS although Wellingham is returning from a much talked about suspension.

Dayne Beams has taken his footy to another level this year. Averaging 30.6 disposals a game (15 games), he has been able to get more of the ball and utilize it well. Beams is a workhorse at the club and is also one of the most dangerous. As an attacking midfielder, Beams has kicked 19 goals so far this year.

St Kilda:

St Kilda was too strong for a ‘rebuilding’ Dogs team. The Saints defeated the Dogs by 76 points with key forward Nick Riewoldt kicking four goals. Riewoldt kicked three of his four goals in the first ten minutes of the game, which reminded fans of the vintage Riewoldt. The Saints have won three of their last four games, with their only loss coming against ladder leaders Sydney. The Saints have been in solid form and will need a four quarter effort against one of the best teams in the league.

Farren Ray comes into the side to replace an injured Adam Schneider and his presence will be much needed. Ray has only played the seven games this year, however he has been a standout at VFL affiliate Sandringham several times. He has been known for his tagging jobs, most particularly Dane Swan in the second half of the 2010 Grand Final. He will expect a similar role to one of the many good Collingwood midfielders on Saturday night.

Key Players:
Collingwood:

Dane Swan, Chris Tarrant, Darren Jolly, Ben Reid, Dayne Beams.

St Kilda:

Lenny Hayes, Nick Riewoldt, Ben McEvoy, Sam Fisher, Farren Ray.

Who’s Missing:

Collingwood:

Luke Ball, Andrew Krakouer, Ben Johnson, Brent Macaffer, Nathan Brown, Martin Clarke, Alan Didak.

St Kilda:

Adam Schneider, Jason Blake, Arryn Siposs, Brett Peake, Rhys Stanley.

Key Match Ups:
Dayne Beams vs. Farren Ray:

St Kilda will need to stop the run and carry from either Dayne Beams or Steele Sidebottom. Collingwood have many good players and St Kilda’s best tagger Clint Jones will get the job on Scott Pendlebury or Swan. Ray will get the job on Beams, as he is the most dangerous Pies player.

Ben Reid vs. Nick Riewoldt:

Riewoldt has been in terrific form and he will come up against a player that he has famously struggled with in the past. Reid has only played the 12 games this year, however he has the ability to run with the best endurance runner in the league. This will be an enticing match up and Riewoldt is the most vital part to the Saint’s scoring power.

Prediction:
Apart from the blockbuster on Friday night between Hawthorn and Geelong, this will be the biggest game of the round. Collingwood are aspiring for a top four position, whilst the Saints are desperate for a top eight spot. The Pies regain five quality players, however their form and team balance will be closely looked at. They have not been able to maintain the same back six all year and this will be pressured against the 5th best attacking side in the league. On the other hand, the Saints only made the one change and are settled on team selection and have good form. Both teams statistically match up well, although the major difference is the contested possessions, which sees Collingwood 5th and St Kilda 14th overall.

The match looms to be a classic fight to the death with great match ups all over the ground. Jolly and McEvoy in the ruck, Sam Fisher on Chris Dawes in the Pies forward line and Chris Tarrant on Stephen Milne in the Saints forward line. Both teams have stars in the midfield with Lenny Hayes, Nick Dal Santo and Brendon Goddard for the Saints; whilst the Pies have Swan, Pendlebury and Beams. The Pies have the upper hand in team class, however the Saints have a vast number of players with finals experience. The Pies will just outclass an attacking Saints team.

Pies by 4 points.

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