Collingwood ripped over 'shambolic' AFL errors in brutal Lions loss

The Magpies had a disastrous second quarter against the Lions, ultimately dropping their first match of the AFL season.

The umpire signals a free kick against Collingwood on the left, with Magpies players walking off the field on the right.
Collingwood gave away three free kicks at the centre bounce against the Lions for failing to be in the correct 6-6-6 formation. Pictures: Fox Footy/Getty Images

Collingwood's unbeaten streak to start the 2023 AFL season came to an end on Thursday night at the hands of the Brisbane Lions, but coach Craig McRae would have every right to be filthy with his side after a basic error was repeated three times. The Lions, bruised from a round three loss to the Western Bulldogs, booted six goals to none in a powerhouse second quarter at the Gabba to set up the 18.8.116 to 11.17.83 victory.

No less than three times in the first half were Collingwood penalised for not being in the correct 6-6-6 formation for the centre bounce after a goal. Brisbane's midfield had an unexpectedly easier time getting the ball forward as a result.

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Given a warning by the umpires the first time, a free kick was given away the next two times in scenes that had both Magpies fans and their coach exasperated. Part of the problem was Collingwood's lack of a designated ruckman.

Key forward Ash Johnson was contesting the centre bounce for the first warning, before Billy Frampton appeared to be pinged by the umpire as he ran into the centre square from the backline. With commentators and fans equally confused, Channel 7's Matthew Richardson observed that the lack of a designated ruckman had sparked chaos for the Magpies.

“Frampton had to run into the middle to take the ruck, (Nathan) Murphy had to run back - I think they might’ve (been pinged)," he noted. “They’re unorganised and it’s probably because of this ruck situation at the moment.”

Three centre bounce infringements in one quarter was the only invitation the Lions needed to bounce back from their disappointing loss the week before. Charlie Cameron (six goals), and Cam Rayner (four) were the main beneficiaries as the Lions steadied their record at 2-2.

Fox Footy host Jason Dunstall said McRae would no doubt have honed in on that disorganisation, which was robbing their midfield of opportunities to win the ball on their own terms. Meanwhile, Collingwood fans were filthy at the mistakes on social media.

“I tell you what Craig McRae will address at half-time - they’ve coughed up two centre-square clearances because they can’t get organised structurally with the six-six-six after a goal has been kicked," he said. “You can’t afford to give those away.”

Collingwood errors prove costly as Charlie Cameron kicks six

Collingwood had entered the match under somewhat of a cloud, after midfielder Jack Crisp was caught up in a leaked video scandal that emerged on Wednesday evening. The 29-year-old will speak to the AFL Integrity Unit next week, however McRae said there was no excuse for the Pies' performance.

"We don't make excuses for anything," he said. "Brisbane are really good, let's face it. They've beaten Melbourne up here and everyone's saying Melbourne are the team to beat and we've gone down as well."

Charlie Cameron high-fives a Brisbane Lions teammate.
Charlie Cameron booted six goals in a powerhouse display for the Lions on Thursday night. (Photo by Russell Freeman/AFL Photos via Getty Images) (AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Crisp has played an extraordinary 191 consecutive AFL games - the most by a current player - dating back to round 18, 2014 when he was with the Lions.

"He's like every player on our list, we love and support them and 100 per cent have got their back as people and humans," McRae said.

"There's lots of stuff that goes on with our players that I'm not always going to condone.

"I'm a father and I don't always condone the things my kids do, but at the end of the day we love and support them and that's not going to change."

With AAP

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