The team that lost to Port when Robbie Gray kicked possibly the best after-the-siren goal since Malcolm Blight, won a game with a kick that was the best after-the-siren goal since Malcolm Blight. Or at least the best since Robbie Gray.
Of course Newnes' goal shouldn’t have happened, which only made the kick more storied and theatrical. Firstly, yes the deliberate out of bounds was there, and it was fair. The intent to knock the ball out of bounds was as well disguised as a man hiding in the corner with a lamp shade on his head.
Last gasp: Jack Newnes takes his kick after the siren to seal the win over Fremantle.Credit:Getty Images
But was the down the field free kick right? No. Andrew Brayshaw was in the air trying to smother the kick when he landed on Sam Docherty. It was accidental, and debatable as to whether it merited a relayed down the field free kick.
What was unarguably wrong was that Jack Newnes was the one to be given the free kick.
In the confusion of the moment the umpires got themselves confused and let the wrong player take the kick. It went to Newnes when it should have been the closer player Gibbons taking the shot. So in this case, the wrong player was absolutely the right player for that kick, unless you follow Freo in which case the wrong player was absolutely the wrong player.
Flaky Pies: Collingwood players react after the loss to Melbourne.Credit:Getty Images
Ben Reid’s injury typified Collingwood. At 31, with legs muscles like tired dishcloth it was not a surprise he would kick two goals then be off before half-time with another soft tissue injury. He is a well-loved club man whose best is still very good, but his body is unwilling and has been for some time.
Ideally Will Kelly would have been their key forward all year. But he has played one game, a premiership hope cannot be brought undone because a first-gamer didn’t get to a second game.
Brodie Grundy looks tired after the workload he has carried, and he may well be sore, but he has been well below par for two months.
For a third match this year the opposition has kicked extraordinarily accurately. Melbourne booted 16.4, Fremantle kicked 10.1 and the Eagles 18.3. In three games the opposition has kicked 44.8.
At some point you have to accept it’s a trend not a series of uncanny nights. Collingwood’s impotent attack was always saved by the protection afforded by their defence-first philosophy of not being scored against. Now they are being scored against easily and they can’t counteract that by scoring.
They have changed ball movement from early in the year when they controlled possession and have since tried moving it faster and to contests to give their forwards a better chance. But they are turning the ball over which leaves the backline more exposed, and still the forwards are not getting a fair look at the ball.
The crucial missing pieces this year might not just be Jeremy Howe and Jordan De Goey but Justin Longmuir.
It is not only coincidence his arrival as an assistant coach to control their backline and team defence at the end of 2017 heralded the improvement on the field and his departure begat the drop away.
He carries a Collingwood name but Sam Weideman carries Melbourne hopes. This was as impressive as the young forward has looked and as punishing as Melbourne's attack has looked in a long time.
Pick of the bunch: Melbourne’s No.9 draft pick Sam Weideman.Credit:Getty Images
Playing closer to goal, he was often opposed by Darcy Moore and held his own in marking contests. His running has been a query but he covered ground and got to smart places. His hands are sure and he kicks well.
You can read too much into a belting win but the look of Melbourne with him forward, even without Luke Jackson alongside him, was a persuasive set up.
Easton Wood’s grab against the Crows was as clean, elegant and simplistically pleasing as any grab taken this year.
He got his foot on Fischer McAsey’s shoulder and hung there. It was a day everything started to click for the Dogs.
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