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North falls to Collingwood

Ben Collins -  August 5, 2017 11:05 PM

North Melbourne has fallen to Collingwood by 54 points in a disappointing performance at Etihad Stadium. 

The result of the game – which the Pies won 16.15 (111) to 7.15 (57) – was secondary to a long injury list.

The chief casualties were Kangaroos spearhead Ben Brown (concussion) and skipper Jack Ziebell (ribs), Roos-turned-Magpies Levi Greenwood (left knee) and Daniel Wells (left thigh), along with Pies defender Tyson Goldsack (head knock).

A chaotic body count either side of half-time began at the 20-minute mark of the second term when Ziebell tackled Adam Treloar over the boundary line, with the Pies midfielder dazed after hitting his head on the ground. Treloar played on and was one of the best players afield.

Two minutes later there was no coming back for Coleman Medal chance Brown, who was knocked out in a Grundy tackle reminiscent of the one that last week incurred a one-game suspension for Geelong's Patrick Dangerfield.

Play was held up for several minutes as Brown was carted off the field (and later taken by ambulance to hospital), after which Grundy took the resultant free kick for holding the ball, to the jeers of North Melbourne fans.

Soon after the resumption, Ziebell came off second best in a marking contest with Matt Scharenberg and was taken straight into the rooms for treatment. He manfully returned after half-time to be one of his team's few winners, kicking five of North's six goals in the second half.

Moments after the Ziebell injury, Greenwood ran into a falling Todd Goldstein and immediately clutched at his left knee. Greenwood couldn't place any weight on the leg as he was helped from the field by trainers, and it would surprise if he returned before season's end.

Both clubs were fresh from big performances – North upsetting Melbourne, and Collingwood drawing with ladder leader Adelaide – but neither showed any real semblance of that form.

Between them they committed 26 clangers in the opening 14 minutes; and by half-time they had combined to tally 6.20 – comprising Collingwood's 5.11 to North's abominable 1.9.

The Magpies didn't use the ball with the purpose they displayed against the Crows but they were never troubled after quarter-time.

Aside from Ziebell, youngster Ryan Clarke gathered a personal-best and team-high 31 touches, while fellow midfielders Trent Dumont (27), Sam Gibson (27), Cunnington (28) and defender Robbie Tarrant (21) tried hard.

Brad Scott was particularly disappointed in his team's delivery into attack.

"It unravelled when we had the ball in our hand, that's for sure," he said.

"It's really, yes, the worst we have butchered opportunities going forward all year.

"I'm not a big believer in things (being a) one-off, even though that was very different to the way we have used or attempted to use the ball going forward this year.

"But compounding our problem, we didn't defend those mistakes either.

"The numbers probably tell a bit of a story. You can go forward, win the clearances pretty comfortably, win the inside 50s and get beaten by nine goals."

NORTH MELBOURNE 1.5 1.9 4.11 7.15 (57)
COLLINGWOOD 2.7 5.11 11.12 16.15 (111)

North Melbourne: Ziebell 5, Mountford, Garner
Collingwood: Blair 3, Thomas 2, Adams 2, Fasolo, De Goey, Moore, Phillips, Treloar, Howe, Wells, Grundy, Elliott

North Melbourne: Ziebell, Clarke, Dumont, Cunnington
Collingwood: Treloar, Adams, Blair, Langdon, De Goey, Grundy

North Melbourne: Jy Simpkin (ankle) replaced in the selected side by Josh Williams, Ben Brown (concussion), Jack Ziebell (ribs)
Collingwood: Levi Greenwood (left knee), Goldsack (head), Daniel Wells (left thigh)

Reports: Nil
Umpires: Deboy, Gavine, Pannell
Official crowd: 33,394 at Etihad Stadium