Pies show up Dons’ Average Joes
HOW do you fix a problem like Joe Daniher?
But if John Worsfold has been a Mr Fix It as much as a coach in the first five rounds of this season, Daniher remains the riddle he can't solve.
Last year's Anzac Day medallist was poor in a poor side at the MCG - a 201cm beacon in a sea of disappointment for the Bomber faithful.
Daniher had given away four free kicks by half time, was complaining to umpires and getting bronx cheers as early as the second quarter.
By full-time, opposed to Lynden Dunn, he'd worked hard offensively for a career-high 22 touches. Indeed, he had more kicks (19) than any other Bomber. But when only nine of those 19 are graded effective and several sail out on the full, it counts for little.
At the opposite end of the ground, there's a theory that once the ball hits the deck Mason Cox can't put pressure on. But Cox had 19 pressure acts.
Daniher had 10. He has now only managed seven goals in five games and struggled to exert influence in a run of poor form that remains a concern at Tullamarine.
Worsfold said this week he might throw Daniher into the ruck more frequently to free him up and combat Brodie Grundy's influence. They proved to be words only as he languished inside 50m.
Mind you, Daniher had an alibi against the Pies - 21 of them.
Essendon's ball movement was a car crash that kept happening. The Bombers kicked five goals in perfect conditions.
The Bombers had nine more clearances, but 17 fewer inside 50s. They won the ball, but simply couldn't move the ball.
Then the sleepy switch took effect. As Essendon repeatedly and slowly chipped the ball from one back flank to the other in the third quarter, a boo grew steadily in the outer from their exasperated fan base.
Brendon Goddard had another onfield meltdown. Cameras caught him arguing with David Zaharakis in the third quarter, getting stuck into Daniher at three-quarter time and Zaharakis again in the last term.
It was ugly.
Collingwood, for the most part, was no oil painting in transition but they were industrious and work in cohesion.
They kicked 5.5 from possession chains starting from their defensive 50m. Essendon had 1.1.
And the Pies' midfield class can't be denied. Scott Pendlebury, Adam Treloar and Steele Sidebottom finished all over Zach Merrett, Dyson Heppell and David Zaharakis.
The Bombers, it must be said, were forced to play two men down for much of the game. Josh Begley was gone in the first quarter with what looks a serious knee injury and Josh Green joined him with a hamstring issue in the second term.
But their issues extend far beyond the medical room.
Unlike Queensland, Essendon are good one week, horrible the next. And in an even competition that demands consistency, they can't be trusted.
COLLINGWOOD 4.4 6.9 8.14 14.17 (101) def ESSENDON 3.3 4.4 4.8 7.10 (52)
Collingwood: S Sidebottom 3 A Treloar 2 J Stephenson 2 M Cox 2 W Hoskin- Elliott 2 B Reid J de Goey T Phillips.
Essendon: J Stringer 2 A McDonald- Tipungwuti C Hooker D Heppell J Daniher J Stewar
Collingwood: Treloar, Pendlebury, Sidebottom, Grundy, De Goey, Stephenson, Aish, Phillips
Essendon: Zaharakis, Zach Merrett, Parish, Goddard, Hurley
Umpires: Ray Chamberlain, Brendan Hosking, Curtis Deboy.
Official Crowd: 91,440 at the MCG.
3 Adam Treloar
2 Steele Sidebottom
1 Scott Pendlebury