Tom Mitchell will be key for the Hawks. Picture: AAP
Tom Mitchell will be key for the Hawks. Picture: AAP

Roos slam Pies over Mitchell ‘embarrassment’

COLLINGWOOD'S inability to stop Tom Mitchell has been labelled an "embarrassment" to the coaching staff as the Pies await more bad news on Monday.

The Pies could face GWS next week without Mason Cox, whose forceful elbow to the head of Hawthorn's Daniel Howe should see him suspended.

The elbow could be deemed deliberate and hand him a week's penalty given he ran past the ball and cocked his elbow.

The Pies will also have to replace defender Josh Smith (hamstring), with Daniel Wells and Jamie Elliott still a fortnight away from a senior recall.

But the midfield's inability to contain Tom Mitchell for a second season in a row saw Paul Roos savage the Pies.

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley.

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said the Pies sent Steele Sidebottom and Jack Crisp to Mitchell although it clearly had no effect.

Since Buckley started coaching Collingwood in 2012, only five players have amassed more than 49 possessions in a single game.

Four of them are against Collingwood (Mitchell's 54 and 50 and Gary Ablett's 53 and 49) and the fifth was Collingwood's Dane Swan (49).

Former Melbourne coach Paul Roos disputed Buckley's statement he had tried to tag Mitchell.

"If I'm a Collingwood member ... I've got every right to be filthy today about my football team in that one aspect,'' he said.

"He's got 27 (disposals) at half-time. I watched the last quarter and no one went near him. No one went anywhere near him.

Tom Mitchell had another 50-disposal game against the Magpies. Picture: AAP
Tom Mitchell had another 50-disposal game against the Magpies. Picture: AAP

"It's an embarrassment to the Collingwood Football Club, it's an embarrassment to their midfield group as a whole.

"No other player, let's be really frank on this, no other player has got two 50-possession games, and he's done it against the same team.

"I hate being critical of other coaches, I hate being critical of match committees, but if you're a Collingwood supporter today, you should be filthy with your match committee."

Pies captain Scott Pendlebury said post-match the Pies mixed trying to stop Mitchell and hurt him the other way.

"We went in with a head-to-head mindset of their midfield against our midfield,'' he said.

"He is the best midfielder on the ground. Not saying possessions are overrated but in today's game of footy you can get a lot of football racking up handballs.

"We sent Steele to him and Taylor Adams but he's that good he gets the footy.

Mitchell had 34 handballs against the Magpies. Picture: Michael Klein
Mitchell had 34 handballs against the Magpies. Picture: Michael Klein

"That is three times in a row he has got 50 so we try to hurt him the other way but he's that good a player."

Buckley said both Chris Mayne and Alex Fasolo played strongly in the VFL at the weekend, with Jarryd Blair also strong in the midfield.

A pre-season of training as a defender for Darcy Moore lasted until three quarter time when he was pushed forward to kick a goal and set another up.

He might have to start forward next week in Cox's likely absence, Buckley reasoning the positional switch was because the Pies needed to kick a winning score.

TOM MITCHELL'S TOP 5 GAMES

2018: R1 - Collingwood, 54 disposals

2017: R9 - Collingwood, 50

2017: R22 - Carlton, 44

2017: R17 - Geelong, 43

2015: R20 - Collingwood, 41