North Melbourne v Collingwood
Saturday, May 8 - 4.35pm AEST
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Saturday’s Round 8 fixture is a clash between two sides desperate for a win.
But don’t let the ladder positions fool you, both teams have shown that on their day they’re high quality outfits capable of challenging anyone.
North Melbourne enters the game high on confidence after an impressive first half performance against Melbourne last week, leading by 19 points at the main break before the Demons roared back in the third term to maintain their unbeaten start to 2021.
Collingwood has lost five games on the bounce, with an inaccurate scoreline of seven goals and 13 behinds not dooming it to defeat last week against Gold Coast, but offering an insight into the frustrating nature of its season so far.
Last time we met
Round 13, 2020
It was the Magpies who came out on top last season in a low-scoring affair, keeping North scoreless in the final quarter to win by 30 points.
Jed Anderson was at his imperious best for North as he gathered 30 disposals and a game-high 9 clearances, while Robbie Tarrant was a strong presence in defence with 11 marks.
Brayden Maynard acted as chief destroyer for Collingwood with 26 disposals and 6 tackles, while Trey Ruscoe was the only multiple goalkicker of the game as he finished with 2 goals.
Kayne Turner v Scott Pendlebury
Newly minted North midfielder Kayne Turner played like a man possessed against Melbourne, taking the fight up to established midfield guns Christian Petracca, Clayton Oliver and Angus Brayshaw.
The result was an arguably career-best performance for Turner, who finished with 27 disposals, 5 clearances and 6 tackles, as he showcased his midfield credentials to the AFL world.
Being deployed in a tagging role, Turner will undoubtedly play on Scott Pendlebury for large portions of this weekend’s game, with the Magpies’ skippers class required to help cover for the absence of clearance king, Taylor Adams.
Pendlebury, as always, is having no trouble finding the football in 2021 and is averaging over 26 disposals and 4 clearances a game.
The hallmark of his game this season has been the frequency he has been able to provide first-class service to his forwards and he ranks first in the AFL for goal assists per game (2.14).
Turner will need to shut down one of the best midfielders of the last decade to give North its best chance of winning, but judging on previous performances he’s more than capable of rising to the occasion.
The key men
Jaidyn Stephenson and Jordan De Goey
This week’s clash is embedded with side stories that rise above and beyond the on-field action, with the return of Jaidyn Stephenson to face his former club perhaps the most notable.
Acquired by North on the final day of the 2020 trade period, Stephenson played primarily as a forward during his time at Collingwood to great success.
He won the 2018 NAB Rising Star, and kicked 2 goals as Collingwood fell to West Coast in the Grand Final that year.
Since arriving at North, Stephenson has earned the midfield time he has craved his whole career and looks like a new player.
Still a dangerous forward outlet capable of kicking remarkable goals, Stephenson is averaging nearly 20 disposals and 2 clearances a game, with both statistics far above his career averages.
The x-factor Stephenson provides this North side is immeasurable, and if he plays his best football against his old side they’ll almost certainly struggle to contain him.
Jordan De Goey was Stephenson’s partner in crime in Collingwood’s successful 2018 season, with the pair forming a lethal one-two punch in the forward 50.
De Goey has been quieter this season, but has shown he is still more than capable of taking a game by the scruff of its neck and winning it almost single handedly.
In Collingwood’s Round 2 win, its only win so far this season, De Goey finished with 4 goals, 3 behinds and 18 disposals. If North’s defence allow him to run riot in that fashion, it could be curtains for the side in royal blue and white.
This game will be the tenth time a father and son duo have competed against each other in AFL history, with David Noble set to come up against his son, John.
Either North Melbourne or Collingwood have been involved in every father son face-off, with John Kennedy Sr acting as North Melbourne coach on the eight occasions he coached against his son, John Kennedy Jr.
The only other occasion a father has coached against his son was in Round 8, 1972, as Bob Rose’s Collingwood side took on a Footscray side containing his son, Robert.