De Goey could break Brownlow Medal mould
LOVE them or hate them, Collingwood needs to take it up to Richmond on Saturday. For the sake of the competition.
If the Magpies can't beat the Tigers at the MCG, or at least run them right to the end, then who else is going to beat them? If the third-ranked team can't get close, then that's alarm bells.
The one man who is central to this is Jordan de Goey.
Whether you like his club or not, you want to watch de Goey's brilliance and match-winning ability. I am desperate to see him take this game by the scruff of the neck.
Can a man win the Brownlow Medal playing as a half-forward? If it will ever be done, then this is the bloke who can do it.
It might be hard for him to take home Charlie this year, having missed the first three rounds, but he is Collingwood's forwardline equivalent of Dustin Martin. A Mark Ricciuto type.
De Goey is capable of doing some special things on the footy field, but the question for Nathan Buckley, which I posed before last weekend's game against North Melbourne, is where do you play him in a perfect world?
Is he more value in the midfield or more value in the forward line?
You can't have two of him, as much as you would like, so I believe he needs to play predominantly in the forward line.
Guys who can kick you four goals and get 20 possessions across half-forward, as de Goey has done in recent weeks, are best left in their natural habit closer to goal.
He might give you a burst in the midfield, but the Pies bat deep enough as it is and there is no need for him to be in there for any extended period of time.
Exhibit one: I saw him ragdoll Scott Thompson one-on-one last week. Now, I've played on Thompson before and, I'm telling you, that is no mean feat.
Exhibit two: I saw him embarrass North Melbourne defenders on the lead. That type of forward craft can be wasted up around the ball.
Don't get me wrong, some of his clearance and contested ball work is elite, but if you have to pick one position for him, it has to be up forward, because that's where he hurts the opposition the most.
It is a dilemma Geelong has wrestled with in regards to Patrick Dangerfield. Similar with the Tigers and Martin.
He has turned his career around after two controversy-plagued pre-seasons. And sometimes you need that kick up the bum to realise your potential as a youngster - ask Steve Johnson.
There is nothing better than seeing a player showcase their skills and not waste their talents.
The Pies have not skipped a beat since Adam Treloar went down, and that is because of the spread of contributions from the likes of Taylor Adams, Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom at the top end, All-Australian contender Brodie Grundy in the ruck, through to emerging talents Josh Daicos, Jaidyn Stephenson, Josh Thomas and Brayden Maynard.
These guys need to bring their best against the Tigers, just so that there is hope that Richmond can be beaten at the MCG, where, of course, the Grand Final is going to be played.
As it stands, should the ladder stay as it does, West Coast (second) will have two home finals, which you would expect them to win, and then hit the MCG for the big dance. Look back to 2015 how that went.
Sydney, in 2012, was the last interstate team to win a grand final. Fremantle came unstuck in 2013, Sydney in 2014, West Coast in 2015, Sydney in 2016 and Adelaide last year - all against Victorian teams.
The competition needs the Pies to give the Tigers a shake so that we don't necessarily head down a similar path.
It is arguably the biggest game of the season, with potentially 90,000 at the MCG for a classic Saturday afternoon blockbuster.
Let's see if the Pies are up to the task.