Dour Dees force Pies to slug it out

The first stage of Paul Roos' reconstruction of Melbourne was to ensure the Demons were never out of games. This he has achieved in part. The next stage is to get the side into games.

Paul Roos might also prefer to build that plan against another opponent - Roos has lost his last 11 games as a coach against Collingwood.

Melbourne was never, by the measure of the scoreboard and general play, uprooted from the contest at the MCG. The Dees were always in touch but never really threatened to win. Why? Well, they kicked three goals for the game, which is a fairly clear indication of where their problems reside.

The fact that the Demons contained Collingwood to just a single-digit return of goals on a dry Queen's Birthday explains how they have constructed a disciplined defensive structure and mindset. It also explains how 68,124 people can attend a football match and make so little noise.

The game was not dull but it was a game of grit and a gradual overpowering of an opponent than an electric blitz.

Melbourne was on the board inside the first minute and Collingwood answered rapidly, but any sense this would precipitate a shootout were scotched when not another goal was scored for the quarter. Only five goals were kicked for the half.

Meantime both sides pushed up so heavily to the midfield contest that they were both stifled for run and forward movement. When Collingwood went forward it more readily searched out the Demon defender in front than its own forwards in the first term, and Melbourne went too high and long on to the heads of its forwards.

The reach of young Collingwood defender Jack Frost was confounding Chris Dawes' aerial attacks, and Lynden Dunn was shepherding Travis Cloke into unfavourable angles to lead.

Jeremy Howe booted an early goal for Melbourne in the second term and the rhythm and flow of the game was being determined by Melbourne. Collingwood worried how it would work the ball forward.

Eventually the Magpies subtly wrested the ascendancy, controlling more of the flow through the middle but with a loose man behind the ball, both sides found forwards difficult to isolate.

Brodie Grundy stretched Melbourne's defence for height with three marks inside-50 in the second term, but after the first two set shots drifted wide and a snap went out on the full, he played on from the third mark seemingly reluctant to take another shot.

Five goals from Travis Cloke last week did not beget an absolute return to form. The full-forward had minimal influence early but worked his way into the game as he began to run more.

Melbourne had just two frees for the first half and five for the match. While there is no prescription on how many frees a side should get, this was still a surprisingly low number, and Collingwood had the better rub of the green for the day.

After the main break Collingwood pushed Cloke further out to centre half-forward and began channelling its attack through Tyson Goldsack and in turn Scott Pendlebury and Dane Swan. Mixing it up structurally and getting Cloke to roam more drew him out and extended Dunn.

Collingwood captain Pendlebury will play few more workmanlike matches where he comes away possibly the best player on the ground, but only by virtue of the fact there were so few others to stand out.

Collingwood tasked Brent Macaffer to Dom Tyson and he closed him down, amassed possession himself and kicked a goal. Veteran Daniel Cross beat Collingwood's Dayne Beams for most of the day, but when Jay Kennedy Harris came on for the Demons late in the third term and dropped an uncontested mark that he would not like to see the replay of, Beams was able to convert. Just after the final break Beams was able to convert again and despite a bad day he was able to contribute.

Collingwood had more of the overlap run with Paul Seedsman, Heritier Lumumba and Clinton Young carrying the ball through the corridor and wings to give it more drive than Melbourne had.

The story Dour Dees force Pies to slug it out first appeared on WA Today.

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