“He just has an incredible ability to play multiple roles, which makes him hard to tag.”
The Magpies have emerged as the early premiership favourites, boasting a deep midfield and a potent attack, which had 13 individual goal-kickers against the Power, almost certainly meaning Jack Ginnivan returns through the VFL next weekend.
Power coach Ken Hinkley said the Magpies were the current team to beat.
“We have seen the benchmark, as far as early in the season. It’s only early, but we did see it. We came to town thinking we were a genuine chance, and we got it handed to us, and we didn’t cope with it,” Hinkley, fighting for a contract extension, said.
“We came to town thinking we were a genuine chance, and we got it handed to us, and we didn’t cope with it.”
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley
Ginnivan has served his two-match ban for the use of an illicit drug. While he booted 40 goals in 23 matches last year, former Giant Bobby Hill has taken his place and was labelled “electrifying” by McRae.
McRae said he did not know how long Ginnivan would have to serve in the VFL. “I got a great report today,” McRae said. “He has done the work and now he just has to wait for an opportunity, potentially, because he has given it to others. I don’t know what that looks like, for how long.”
McRae said he did not hear the boos aimed at the Power’s Jason Horne-Francis, who had a quiet afternoon.
Forward Brody Mihocek has a dislocated finger but is expected to be fit to face the Tigers.
Pendlebury’s party trick a shining moment
There is little Pendlebury hasn’t seen or done through 18 seasons in the AFL. But even he seemed surprised by his own party trick against Port Adelaide at the MCG on Saturday, a moment which will long live in the memory.
As the Magpies put the Power to the sword in the second term, a comical moment on centre wing when the ball wobbled along the boundary but refused to go out sprung to life when Dan McStay scooped up the loose ball, and handballed to Daicos, who quickly handballed to Pendlebury, standing just inside the boundary. Under pressure, Pendlebury, a former basketballer, produced his own Magic Johnson moment, blindly handballing over his head to Daicos, who had dashed around his former skipper. Daicos, having accepted the pass lace out, put the afterburners on, and delivered a running goal from 40 metres.
It was the highlight in a half of football full of joy for the Magpies, who went into the main break 49 points in front – all but having lodged their second win to start the new season.
The Magpies’ overall pressure, willingness to tackle, contested ball and forward half dominance, and touch of magic were on show, highlighting why they are a legitimate premiership threat.
The Power had Lachie Jones run a hard tag on Daicos, but it failed. Jones had one touch to quarter-time, but Daicos still had nine, cleverly being used as the kick in to help break the tag. Daicos found even more room in the second term. His brother Josh was just as dynamic, dominating his wing with almost 600m gained.
Steele Sidebottom, with five score involvements to half-time, was also central to the Pies’ rise, as was midfield extractor Mitchell, who is thriving at his new club but does not need mass touches to impress. Jordan De Goey had moments of dominance when this match was alive. The evenness of the Pies was reinforced in that their opening nine goals were from different sources. Ruckman Darcy Cameron was superb in the ruck, clearly having the better of a proppy Scott Lycett.
The Pies were able to restrict the Power’s time and space, denying them the centre corridor so integral to their winning game plan against Brisbane last week. The visitors, however, had begun well. Full forward Charlie Dixon booted two of their opening three goals inside the opening 14 minutes, the Power having the lead at that point, but what shaped as a shoot-out between the two highest-scoring sides of round one was soon a one-team march.
Potential Power match winners Zak Butters, Connor Rozee and Xavier Dursma had little impact, while it was a curious decision to start former skipper Travis Boak as the substitute.
Power defender Ryan Burton will be scrutinised for his dangerous tackle on Jamie Elliott in the third term. Elliott, while attempting to kick the ball, had his arms pinned when he was thrown to the ground. The sharpshooter was awarded a free kick, and goaled from 25m.
Not so hot
Horne-Francis was arguably the best afield last week with a career-high 25 touches. The Magpies made it their mission to try and physically unsettle him early at every opportunity. And the chief protagonist was none other than Taylor Adams. Horne-Francis, booed at every opportunity by Magpies supporters, had only four touches and 29m gained in the first term. Adams, by contrast, delivered a ripping snap from just inside the boundary, giving the Pies their fifth goal. The man dubbed ‘The Hornet’ finished with only 15 touches in front of a record attendance of 60,744 for a home-and-away game between these two clubs.
Younger brother Nick may generally dominate the headlines, but Josh Daicos is elite. He dominated in his customary role on a wing, having eight touches and more than 200m gained alone in the first term. There was also a courageous mark, and goal, adding to the Power’s pain.
Magpie Billy Frampton was given the job of replacing the injured Jeremy Howe in defence. But the former Power player had an inauspicious start when he conceded 50m for retreating – and not standing still – on the mark in the opening minutes of the contest. The blunder gave Dixon the easiest of goals.
Collingwood 7.2, 13.5, 15.7, 21.9 (135)
Port Adelaide 3.3, 5.4, 8.7, 9.10 (64)
Collingwood: Mihocek 3, J.Daicos 2, Adams 2, Elliott 2, McCreery 2, N.Daicos 2, Sidebottom, McStay, Cox, De Goey, Hoskin-Elliott, Hill, Mitchell, McInnes
Port Adelaide: Dixon 3, Marshall 2, Fantasia, Farrell, Rozee, Georgiades
BEST: Collingwood: Cameron, J Daicos, N Daicos, Sidebottom, Pendlebury, Mitchell. Port Adelaide: Drew, Bergman, Dixon
8: Nick Daicos (Collingwood)
8: Josh Daicos (Collingwood)
7: Darcy Cameron (Collingwood)
7: Steele Sidebottom (Collingwood)
7: Tom Mitchell (Collingwood)