AFL 2 years ago

Collingwood vs North Melbourne Match Preview (NAB Challenge)

  • Collingwood vs North Melbourne Match Preview (NAB Challenge)

    GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 26: The Magpies celebrate a goal during the 2016 NAB Challenge match between the Geelong Cats and the Collingwood Magpies at Simonds Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

  • Collingwood vs North Melbourne Match Preview (NAB Challenge)

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 20: The Kangaroos huddle together during the 2016 AFL NAB Challenge match between the St Kilda Saints and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Norm Minns Oval on February 20, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The NAB challenge is half completed with clubs now ramping up preparations for round 1 of the proper season. This weekend the third of four rounds of the NAB challenge will be played. Collingwood and North Melbourne will head north of the border to Wagga Wagga to play their respective second game. The Kangaroos, a side that has made the last 2 preliminary finals from outside the top 4, started their pre season campaign with an easy win over the lowly Saints. While the Magpies, who have missed the finals in the past two seasons, traveled to Geelong last Friday night and came away with an upset win over the talked up Cats. It's been a promising start for two teams with high hopes for the 2016 season.


Collingwood fielded a relatively weak team versus Geelong last week and were given little hope of victory by most. An 11 goal third term stunned the football world and showed just how much potential this young Magpies list has. The likes of De Goey, Fasolo, Crisp, Sinclair and captain for the night Steele Sidebottom had stellar performances as the Pies held off the fast finishing Cats to win by 8 points. The most impressive aspect of the win was the movement of the ball by the young Pies. Well known as a team that moves the ball slowly along the boundary, this Collingwood team showed skill, pace and accuracy by foot, especially during that amazing third term. Considering the players the Magpies had out, it really was an impressive performance to start their pre season campaign.

The Magpies played that game last week without a few of their absolute star, and this week they will include some big names in their squad. Captain Scott Pendlebury, key forwards Travis Cloke and Darcy Moore, young defender Tom Langdon and promising youngster Tom Phillips should be among the inclusions for the match against the Roos. Cloke and Moore especially may provide one of the more dangerous double forward pairings in the AFL for the next few seasons. Moore, coming into his second season, has actually grown in the off season and now stands over 200cms tall. Cloke will be looking to bounce back after an injury riddled season saw his worst goal return in 6 years.

Many thought this week would see the unveiling of the Magpies prize recruit Adam Treloar at senior level. Nathan Buckley and his staff have instead decided to play Treloar in a VFL practice match on Sunday at the Pies headquarters. That may disappoint a few in Wagga Wagga but all seems on track for the elite midfielder to be a vital member of the Pies round 1 team.

Collingwood will field a stronger team this weekend but there will still be a plethora of young talent on show. It will prove a good hitout for those that are named and the new look Magpies game plan will be put to the test once more.


The two previous seasons of the North Melbourne football club have been extraordinary . Since the AFL changed to it's current finals series formula in 2000 only a few teams had ever made the preliminary final from outside the top 4. Yet the Kangaroos have managed to do so for the past two seasons. North have been a remarkable finals team the past two seasons winning four finals to get to those preliminary finals. They go into season 2016 with the most experienced list in the game (most games played on average) and that can only mean they are at their absolute prime right now.

North Melbourne didn't make too many big changes to their list in the off season, trading mainly for draft picks. One big trade involved Ryan Bastinac going to Brisbane and the Roos picking up the very exciting Jed Anderson from Hawthorn. Anderson, a little like Wells, will add pace and skill to a North side that lacked that last season. North didn't lose too many important players to retirement either with Nathan Grima maybe the biggest loss in terms of best 22.

The Kangaroos started their 2016 pre season with a game against St Kilda in Wangaratta. They sent a fairly strong team up for the game and it showed as they came away with a 44 point win. The standouts in their first hitout of the new year were Drew Petrie (4 goals), Mason Wood (4 goals), Jarrad Waite (3 goals), Lindsay Thomas (3 goals) and Luke McDonald (18 possessions). It was an impressive start to the NAB challenge for the Roos and sets them up well going into their second game.

For this second game, coach Brad Scott has suggested that there will be a lot of changes as the Roos look to give everyone a few games before the proper season starts. The likes of Harvey, Cunnington, Waite and Firrito may be rested but there are a few big names that seem certain to return. The league's number 1 ruckman, Todd Goldstein didn't play in NAB 1 and will be looking forward to getting some game time in. The likes of Hansen, Wells, Black, Mullet, Gibson and Durdin may also be given a run this weekend.

Daniel Wells is an interesting story in himself. Wells has only managed 12 games in the past 2 seasons (only 2 in 2015) and a little like Collingwood's Ben Reid is a player who would make a hue difference if he could stay fit. North ranked 14th for time inside offensive 50 last year but their conversion rate was near the top, and Wells is a player who could greatly increase the amount of times the ball goes inside, and stays inside their attacking zone.

The Roos are likely to field a weaker team versus the Magpies this weekend in Wangaratta but even with a few outs they will still be very competitive,.



2. Brad McKenzie, 5. Ben Jacobs, 6. Lachlan Hansen, 7. Jack Ziebell, 8. Daniel Wells, 9. Andrew Swallow, 12. Lindsay Thomas, 13. Ryan Clarke, 14. Trent Dumont, 15. Nick Dal Santo, 17. Aaron Mullett, 20. Drew Petrie, 21. Luke McDonald, 22. Todd Goldstein, 25. Robbie Tarrant, 27. Taylor Garner, 28. Robin Nahas, 32. Mason Wood, 34. Jamie Macmillan, 35. Aaron Black, 36. Joel Tippett, 37. Will Fordham, 38. Majak Daw, 39. Mitchell Hibberd, 41. Corey Wagner, 42. Declan Mountford, 43. Sam Gibson, 44. Farren Ray, 50. Ben Brown


1. Alex Fasolo, 2. Jordan De Goey, 3. Brent Macaffer 4. Brodie Grundy, 8. Tom Langdon, 9. Jesse White, 10. Scott Pendlebury, 11. Jarryd Blair, 13. Taylor Adams, 14. James Aish, 15. Jarrod Witts, 17. Jonathon Marsh, 18. Travis Varcoe, 19. Levi Greenwood, 21. Tom Phillips, 25. Jack Crisp, 27. Matthew Goodyear, 28. Ben Sinclair, 30. Darcy Moore, 31. Jackson Ramsay, 32. Travis Cloke, 34. Alan Toovey, 35. Brayden Sier, 37. Brayden Maynard, 41. Tim Golds, 43. Adam Oxley, 44. Corey Gault, 45. Jack Frost, 46. Mason Cox


The NAB Challenge is too unpredictable to make a confident tip so once again I'll leave you with a statistical comparison chart.




Score from defensive 50

18th – 12.7%

1st – 21.2%

Score from centre bounce

1st – 15.8%

8th – 12.2%

Shot at goal accuracy

5th – 52.0%

2nd – 53.3%

Defensive 1 on 1 win (against)

2nd – 24.4%

15th – 31.8%

Scores per inside 50

8th – 46.3%

3rd – 49.4%

Points from kick ins

18th – 2.1

3rd – 5.6

Score from attacking midfield

4th – 33.3%

16th – 27.3%

All contested possessions

5th +4.5

6th +3.2

Centre bounce clearances

17th -2.6

4th +1.2

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