Maxwell too smart

AS Nick Maxwell did what he pleased in Collingwood's victory in Sydney it became hard to fathom just what the Swans coaching panel was doing.

Allowing Maxwell to roam as a "loose man" in defence was the present he and the Magpie Army would have been rapt about in his 200th match.

Why the Swans did not at least put a player against Maxwell had me stumped. And, that happened at least once in my illustrious cricket career.

For while he has copped plenty of bakes from fans and some media commentators over the years, the Collingwood backman is one of the best when allowed to cut-off space, link up on counter-attacks, or be "third man up" to spoil in a marking contest.

Some would say Maxwell fluked being a premiership captain and is over-rated, but within the Magpie Nest, and it's a big one, he is one of the favourites.

There's nothing too flashy about the way Maxwell plays, but you do not reach the 200-game mark by just sheer luck.

Under siege after a first-round loss to Fremantle, the Magpies responded brilliantly.

There was plenty for Maxwell, pictured, to smile about as he led the Collingwood team from the field.

It was not just the "old guard" of Maxwell, new captain Scott Pendlebury, and Luke Ball who led the way.

There's plenty to like about the poise of Jack Frost in defence, Jamie Elliott in attack, and Brodie Grundy in the ruck.

When Collingwood plays with dare it's mighty hard to stop

In the air or at ground level, Elliott is one of the most dangerous small forwards the the competition.

The Pies again proved the trip to Sydney holds no fears for those in black and white.

Collingwood has won nine of the past 10 duels with the Swans at ANZ Stadium.

On this occasion they did so with minimal impact on the contest by gun onballer Dane Swan.

The Magpies were quick to hose down speculation Swan is injured following his lowest possession tally in a long time.

What Saturday night did show is that when Collingwood plays with spirit, aggression and some dare, it's going to be mighty hard to stop.

After a 0-2 start to the season, the Swans are feeling more heat, especially after recruiting Buddy Franklin from Hawthorn.

The Hawks showed it's No Buddy, No Worries in Friday night's dramatic victory against Essendon.

Despite injuries to some of its best players, Hawthorn shows the hunger for success is still strong, especially when up against one of its greatest rivals. 

For the Bombers it's now time to focus on playing the Blues when they clash with Carlton on Sunday at the MCG.

There's been plenty to like about Essendon's play.

The winless Carlton will be desperate, just as it always is when up against the Bombers.

Collingwood defender has night out in 200th

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