Former Collingwood recruiter Matt Rendell believes his old side’s inability to maximise Brodie Grundy’s dominance not only cost them the Round 3 loss to Brisbane, but the 2019 Preliminary Final as well.
The Magpies lost to the Lions thanks to a Zac Bailey goal after the siren, despite Grundy winning 54 hit-outs and Brisbane as a team winning just four. Collingwood only won the clearance count by five.
Similarly, they won the hit-outs 70-14 in the 2019 Preliminary Final against GWS and were not able to get over the line.
Rendell admits he was frustrated at the time and remains so with coach Nathan Buckley’s “conservative, negative approach”.
“It cost them a Grand Final spot in 2019. The loss to GWS … (they dominated the hit-outs) and lost the clearances,” Rendell told SEN’s Dwayne’s World.
“The frustrating thing was they did not do anything different the whole game, Collingwood.
“It runs in line with their conservative, negative approach to basically everything they do, really.
“I did a bit of ruck stuff with them for a couple of years there, but they’ve had different people run the ruck stuff for four or five years … there’s no adventure in it.
“You know (Grundy) is going to win the hit. Everyone knows Nic Naitanui is going to win the hit too, but look at their adventure.
“How they set up for one bloke to get it and the other blokes are either blocking or they’re calling for a ball they know they’re not going to get and it attracts the attention of other players around them. They do it beautifully and it’s so well organised.
“The thing that frustrates me is there’s not dumb players around the ball. Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom, Taylor Adams, even Brayden Sier is really intelligent around the ball and Grundy, they’re intelligent people.
“I can’t believe they don’t come up with better plans for when he’s dominating like that.
“All I could see on Thursday night was four blokes standing next to four blokes and just putting it in the same spot and it gave the opposition a real chance.
“They need to do a lot of work on that and get more adventurous and attacking with it.
“It cost them the game the other night, there’s no doubt about that, and it cost them a Grand Final spot.
“Trust me, Richmond did not want to play us in that Grand Final and they would’ve been giving high fives after GWS got in there. Collingwood really break down their game and defend really well on them and they really worry about Mason Cox and Brody Mihocek and they would’ve been going ‘GWS just handed us the flag’.”
When asked why he thinks Buckley and the Magpies don’t use Grundy’s ruck dominance more aggressively, Rendell said: “I’ve been asking that question for six or seven years”!
“All I can come up with is that they’re so conservative and negative ‘we’ll break square’. You’ve got a massive weapon there.
“If they’re on top in the clearances it’s usually Grundy grabbing a kick … I think when he was doing a grab and a kick they told him to stop doing that at one stage. It’s a frustration for not only me but Collingwood supporters.”
The Magpies coincidentally take on GWS in Round 4 with Grundy going up against Giants backup Matt Flynn.