Magpies keen to address slow AFL starts: Hill

Anna Harrington |

Unbeaten in their last four games, Bobby Hill says improvements are still needed at the Pies.
Unbeaten in their last four games, Bobby Hill says improvements are still needed at the Pies.

Collingwood dynamo Bobby Hill can’t pinpoint the reason for the Magpies’ slow starts to games but knows it’s something they need to address, and quickly.

The Magpies conceded five of the first six goals against Port Adelaide to trail by 30 points, then shipped the opening four goals against Essendon on Anzac Day.

While Collingwood recovered in both games, smashing the Power then drawing with the Bombers, their sluggish starts are clearly a concern ahead of Friday night’s blockbuster clash with rivals Carlton at the MCG.

When asked if there was anything he could put the slow starts down to, Hill said: “I don’t know.

“I think it’s just more the way we want to start, we’ve got to get a bit better at that because slow starts are not what we want.

“During the week we’ll train that and get on to that and hopefully get the ball in our hands first in the first bounce and get it forward.

“I think that’s what we’ll practice this week.”

Hill joked it was down to the midfielders to get the ball moving.

“Obviously the midfielders get the first hands (on the ball) – I’m not a mid, I’m a forward,” he said.

“So hopefully, I’m pretty sure they’ll do a lot of that in the meetings.”

The Magpies (3-1-3) have had a mixed start to their premiership defence.

“We’re the hunted now and we obviously didn’t have a great start,” Hill said.

‘But I think the way we’ve handled it and gone forward and stuff like that, I think we’re coming back to our best.”

The forward had a front-row seat to teammate Jamie Elliott’s mark of the year contender.

Jamie Elliott.
Jamie Elliott leaps above Essendon’s Ben McKay for a spectacular Anzac Day grab. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

When asked if he’d seen a better grab, Hill quipped “probably mine in the grand final.”

Essendon defender Andrew McGrath kept Hill goalless while collecting 31 disposals to be among the best players on the ground.

But the Norm Smith Medallist wasn’t overly stressed about whether he would have to deal with a similar match-up against the Blues.

“I didn’t really look too much into it, it’s more just go ahead, play footy and have fun,” Hill said.

Hill and injured Carlton defender Sam Docherty, who have both previously had testicular cancer, were launching the Peter Mac Cup.

The blockbuster game raises funds to support ground-breaking cancer research at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

“It’ll be a great cause and great game this week, especially with two big clubs,” Hill said.

“It’ll be fun and unbelievable to be a part of.”