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King in awe of Collingwood’s back six as Melbourne’s inside 50 differential analysed


Collingwood are straight through to a Preliminary Final after beating Melbourne 60-53 in Thursday night’s Qualifying Final at the MCG.

The Magpies set the game up with a dominant opening quarter kicking four goals to one, but the Demons were able to wrestle the momentum back for much of the last three terms.

While the Dees often held field position, they weren’t able to turn it into scores as they managed just 7.11 from 69 inside 50s.

Given the Magpies only had 37 of their own inside 50 entries, King believes the win should be credited to Collingwood’s back six.

King was in awe of the likes of Darcy Moore, Isaac Quaynor, Nathan Murphy, Jeremy Howe and co as they simply beat Melbourne’s forward line in a battle that decided the game.

“I was in awe of Collingwood's back six last night,” King said on SEN Breakfast.

“I thought that's the best that I've seen them play for some time.

“I can't wait to get to some vision later on today and just see what changed. What were the subtle differences that they've made through the last fortnight? Is it just the individual performance of a few?

“Was it just Darcy Moore being unbelievable? Isaac Quaynor being just undefeatable really? He was just bulletproof back there.

“They just look so calm and comfortable all night. I haven't seen them as settled as that.

“They were under siege. 69 inside 50s Melbourne had for only seven goals.

“I look at that and I think, we can always take the Melbourne angle and we can hammer them for not having this and not having that, but they just got cold beaten last night.

“I think that it was the one area in Collingwood's game that we were all concerned about that they'd leaked some easy scores in the previous six weeks.

“But I think when you when you see that performance – it’s not the complete performance by Collingwood by any stretch - but to see what their back six was able to do under genuine heat, I thought was the was the most pleasing.”

While Collingwood’s defence no doubt got the better of Melbourne’s forward line, Kane Cornes believes the Dees were partly to blame for that loss.

With such an inside 50 dominance, Cornes believes their entries were simply too easy to defend as they went slow and high and allowed Collingwood’s talls to nullify the ball.

“How much of Melbourne played into that though?” Cornes said.

“At what point do you realise the long slow high ball inside 50 that goes 40 metres in the air is not working?

“How many times did we see that? This is the issue for Melbourne for years that we've been discussing, and they won a premiership and that was largely from some stoppage dominance and guys getting hot at the right time.

“They could not get a forward winner last night and they weren't helped by the entries and how slow and high and how easy they were to defend.”

As well as their poor entries, King believes Melbourne’s forward line didn’t pose enough threat apart from the likes of Bayley Fritsch and Kysaiah Pickett.

“How honest do you want to be?” King asked.

“To me, (Joel) Smith poses no real threat, (Tom) McDonald it was his first game back so it's hard to be overly critical of him but didn't really look like doing anything meaningful in the game.”

Cornes gave credit to Collingwood for ensuring Melbourne couldn’t get quality inside 50s and he believes the Demons played into their hands as the Magpies tried to use their shallow entries to turn the ball over and score themselves.

“There's a whole lot in it,” Cornes said.

“You’ve got to give credit to Collingwood's ability to slow and delay the ball going in.

“There was no fast play, whereas on the flip side, Collingwood's had 37 entries but a lot of them were chaotic and fast and overlap.

“That was off the back of at times, Melbourne's shallow entries. If you're trying to launch the ball behind centre going inside 50 that just plays so well into Collingwood's hands.

“That is exactly what they want, and they get the rebound game going from that. So, credit to them.

“But then Melbourne, they just played safe. They played far too safe and you can't play safe against this side who works harder back than any team in the game.

“When you've got those interceptors there bringing the ball to ground or marking it. Good night.

“The lack of connection (between mids and forwards) from Melbourne is the big issue without being too critical of their performance because they would say, ‘Oh, hang on. If (we kick straighter), we win’.”

While some believe Melbourne would have won if they executed better in front of goal, King wasn’t in that camp.

Even though the Demons no doubt had their chances, he believes they wouldn’t have had that late dominance if Collingwood weren’t playing from a fair way in front after leading 45-18 mid-way through the third quarter.

“Yeah, I don't think that's necessarily right because I think they banked the game,” King said.

“Collingwood play the scoreboard. When they dictate terms early and lead by 20 points, it's a different game.

“I don't think it's as simplistic as that.”

Collingwood now earn a rest and they’ll host a home Preliminary Final at the MCG which will likely be on Friday, September 22.

Melbourne now faces a Semi Final meeting against the winner of the Carlton v Sydney Elimination Final. That game will likely be next Friday at the MCG.

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