As Victoria waits with bated breath to learn whether the state’s latest Covid-19 outbreak has worsened, other states have been quick to enforce border measures to keep the virus out.
South Australia has enforced the strictest measures, locking its own residents, essential workers and visitors out of the state if they have been at any of the Victorian exposure sites.
Four people, all within the same family, tested positive on Monday. Victoria’s Department of Health released a host of exposure sites overnight.
A fifth case was confirmed on Tuesday morning as Victoria reintroduced mask and gathering restrictions.
South Australia enforced a cross-border direction as of Monday night.
As of 8.25pm on Monday, all people who have been to a tier 1 (high risk) or tier 2 (medium risk) public exposure site at the specified times are subject to level 6 restrictions and are not permitted to enter South Australia.
“The majority of these people should already be in 14 days quarantine in Victoria and are not permitted to leave quarantine to travel to South Australia,” a SA Health statement read.
Anyone who arrived in SA prior to 8.25pm on Monday and has been to tier 1 and tier 2 Victorian public exposure sites at the specified times are subject to level 4 requirements – they must reside and remain quarantined and segregated from other people at a suitable place for 14 days, must submit to a Covid-19 test within 24 hours of arrival as well on days five and 13, and must wear a face mask whenever they come in contact with the public.
In the Sunshine State, Queensland Health issued a directive that anyone in the state who had been to any of the declared exposure sites during the risk period was “automatically required to quarantine”.
Chief health officer Jeannette Young urged everyone to “reconsider their need to travel to Melbourne’s northern suburbs”.
“From 1am Wednesday, if you are entering Queensland and have been to any of the Victorian exposure sites at the time specified, you will need to quarantine for 14 days in government-arranged accommodation,” Dr Young said.
“If you have been to any of these sites and are already in Queensland, you must immediately travel by private transport directly to your home or accommodation and quarantine.”
NSW Health is “closely monitoring” the situation in Victoria, reminding those arriving from Greater Melbourne that they must complete a declaration confirming they have not attended a venue of concern.
“NSW Health will be contacting people who have completed declarations to ask them to check the Victoria DHHS website and immediately follow the outlined health advice,” a statement read.
“People who have been in the Whittlesea Local Government Area should not visit residential aged care facilities or hospitals unless seeking medical attention.”
Western Australia Health issued similar advice, with acting chief health officer Paul Armstrong saying anyone who has visited the exposure sites needs to get tested for Covid-19 “immediately” and quarantine for 14 days for om the date of exposure.
“All other travellers from Victoria since May 6 should remain vigilant,” Dr Armstrong said.
“We will continue to monitor the situation in Victoria very closely.”
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A panel of experts met on April 14, 2021, to review evidence on blood clots that have been reported in seven people after they received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The panel, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on immunization. It delayed voting on a recommendation to the CDC so that members can further evaluate risk and data. The clotting, which resulted in one woman’s death, led the CDC and FDA on April 13, 2021, to pause use of the J&J vaccine. Dr. William Petri, an infectious disease physician and immunologist at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, answers questions to help put this development in context.
What is this potential side effect of the J&J vaccine for COVID-19?
The potential side effect is a blood clot in the veins that drain blood from the brain. This is called central venous sinus thrombosis. In the vaccine-associated cases of this, platelets in blood, which are important for making clots, have been lower than normal. This same side effect has been seen in the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that also uses an adenovirus to deliver the coronavirus spike glycoprotein. In the case of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the clotting disorder has been linked to antibodies against platelet factor 4 (PF4) that are apparently induced by the adenovirus backbone of the vaccine. This antibody causes the clotting disorder by activating platelets to clot.
It is important to note that this disorder, called vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia, is not a problem with the mRNA-based Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
How many people have experienced this possible reaction?
As of April 13, 2021, about one in a million: Six cases out of the 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine administered in the U.S. These six cases all occurred in women ages 18-48, and from 6 to 13 days after vaccination. That’s about half as likely as getting struck by lightning in a year. A seventh case was included in the ACIP review on April 14.
What do I do if I got the J&J shot?
The CDC and FDA are recommending that people who have received the J&J vaccine within the last 3 weeks who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath should contact their health care provider.
This type of blood clot is treatable with the use of blood thinners or anticoagulants. If a patient has low platelets, however, a doctor would not prescribe the widely used anticoagulant heparin but instead another kind of blood thinner. Untreated, these blood clots can be fatal.
What are the CDC and FDA specifically recommending for the J&J vaccine?
Because of this rare occurrence, even though it has not been shown to be due to the vaccine, the CDC and FDA have recommended a pause in use of the J&J vaccine until these cases can be further reviewed.
What are the next steps?
The CDC convened a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on April 14, 2021. The ACIP is an independent board of 15 scientific and medical experts selected by the health and human services secretary that advises the CDC on vaccines for children and adults. People with ties to vaccine manufacturers are excluded from the ACIP membership because of potential conflict of interest.
On April 14, ACIP reviewed the available evidence but did not vote on recommendations because panel members expressed concern that the panel needs more time to evaluate data and risks. The vaccine has been given to 3.8 million people in the past two weeks. Therefore, not enough time has passed to see whether other people might also experience these serious clots. The panel is expected to meet again within a week to 10 days.
Is this similar to what happened with the AstraZeneca vaccine in Europe?
A similar rare problem of blood clotting with low platelets in the cerebral venous sinus and also in the abdominal veins and arteries has been seen in connection with the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine used in Europe. There, 182 cases were reported in 190 million doses – again, roughly 1 in 1 million people vaccinated. The European Medicines Agency investigated this and concluded that central venous sinus thrombosis with low platelets should be listed as a possible “very rare side effect” of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
On April 13, 2021, Johnson & Johnson announced it was delaying the rollout of its vaccine in Europe in response to the U.S. review.
What is the take-home message?
The U.S. has a total of three vaccines authorized under emergency use authorization for COVID-19, and this side effect has not been observed in the other two vaccines, developed by Moderna and Pfizer. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines do not use the same technology used in the J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines. So vaccination against COVID-19 can continue, while efforts are made to determine if the clotting disorder is related by chance or a true, but extremely rare, side effect of the J&J vaccine.
I believe it is a testament to the emphasis by the CDC and FDA on vaccine safety that J&J vaccinations have been paused while this is studied by independent scientists and medical experts.
This article was updated on April 14, 2021 to add additional research and the ACIP committee meeting.
William Petri, Professor of Medicine, University of Virginia
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
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When Matt Stevenson’s mum suddenly died earlier this week, while devastated, he was at least able to book a last-minute flight to New Zealand for the funeral, which takes place tomorrow.
But the sudden pause of the ‘travel bubble’ between New Zealand and NSW after just two local COVID-19 cases were recorded has left him and fiancee, Suzy Hansen, angry and upset.
The Sydney couple will now miss the funeral for Pauline Paku, 72, in Tauranga. The funeral would have also allowed Mr Stevenson to reunite with other family members for the first time in a year.
Ms Hansen, 45, said the pair, feel the move, which was initiated by the New Zealand government, is an “overreaction”.
“It just seems like such an over-response,” she said.
“It’s a husband and a wife, it’s not like it’s somebody he knocked into at Woolies.
“The fact that it’s his wife and they’ve paused the bubble, it just seems over and above what is required.
“Matt’s very angry and I am too that just for two cases, that that’s the case.”
While Matt’s mum, who was 72, did have a chronic illness, she passed away suddenly after a few days in hospital.
The couple, who are both from New Zealand, woke up to missed call at 2am in the morning, and were due to fly home today.
Mr Stevenson is now struggling with the fact he cannot take part in the Mauri funeral service with his family, his partner, said.
They will instead stay in Sydney as they would have to do 14-day hotel quarantine if they went to New Zealand.
“He’s not good. He’s very up and down. Very emotional. It’s a rollercoaster,” Ms Hansen, said.
“A lot of anger and disbelief and just the overreaction.”
The pair, who got engaged earlier this year said while they have each other, they have no other family in Australia to help them cope.
“You might have each other, but you’re alone,” she said.
The New Zealand trans-Tasman travel bubble, which allowed Aussies to go to the nation without doing 14 days hotel quarantine, started on April 17.
Authorities are in talks about when it might resume, after the pause began at midnight.
COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said New Zealand would monitor the situation “very closely”.
“We’ll continue to monitor it, and obviously we’ll make decisions where we need to,” Mr Hipkins said.
New Zealanders could already come to Australia without quarantine.
But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned Australia and New Zealand viewed each other as “another state” and said the scheme could be halted if there were new virus cases.
“Anyone in Australia who is travelling between states is prepared for outbreaks and there possibly being disruption, and I can’t believe I am saying this, view New Zealand as another state in that way,” Ms Ardern told Today in April.
“If there is a hot spot in one of the states of Australia, we may just act in the same way that another state would, with just limitation of people to come in and out of our borders until that issue is resolved.
“We are trying to make it as simple for travellers as possible. Just prepare that there may be disruptions.”
New Zealand is renowned for its virus eradication policy, while Australia maintains it is trying to suppress the virus.
New Zealand has only had 2582 total cases and 26 deaths.
A total of 26 people in hotel quarantine in the nation currently have the virus, and nobody is in hospital.
Around four percent of the population has had one vaccination, according to Our World in Data.
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Official inflation data came in lower than expected, taking pressure off the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates sooner than its current three year time frame.
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IN THE decades after the second world war carmakers were the undisputed champions of the personal-transport economy. Competition and economies of scale made cars affordable to millions of motorists in industrialised countries. In the 1980s and 1990s the likes of General Motors (GM) and Toyota boasted some of the world’s richest market capitalisations. When it came to getting around town, nothing beat the automobile.
Today the picture looks different. Of the five most valuable firms in the moving-people-around business only two, Toyota of Japan and Volkswagen of Germany, are established carmakers. Ahead of everyone by a country mile is Tesla, an American company that has disrupted the car industry by turning electric vehicles from an unsightly curiosity (remember the G-wiz?) into a serious challenger to the internal combustion engine. Rounding off the top five are not carmakers at all but Uber, an American ride-hailing giant worth over $100bn, and Didi Chuxing, a Chinese one that on April 10th reportedly filed confidentially to go public in New York and hopes for a similar valuation.
After being slow to react to the threat from Tesla legacy carmakers are—just about—getting to grips with electrification. Now another disruption lurks around the corner. Changing habits and technology are forcing car companies to rethink how their products are sold, used and owned. In a sign of the times, the boss of Volkswagen, Herbert Diess, concedes that “ownership is not necessarily what you want. You want a car when you need a car.” Competitors are elbowing in; Didi is expected to be the star turn at the Shanghai Motor Show later this month. The private car is not obsolete. But the future business of “mobility”—as the industry has rebranded getting from A to B—will involve much more besides.
The market could be enormous. In 2019, ahead of its flotation, Uber put it at $5.7trn, based on the 20trn or so kilometres that passengers travel each year in 175 countries using road vehicles, including public transport. Consultancies’ estimates are more subdued, and vary considerably. But all point to rich potential. IHS Markit reckons that what it calls “new transport” will be worth $400bn in revenues by 2030. KPMG puts the figure at $1trn. Accenture calculates that revenues from mobility, including car sales, will hit $6.6trn by 2050. New transport will make up 40% of the total.
Individually owned cars will remain a big part of the new ecosystem. They are still the world’s preferred means of transport. For every ten miles travelled Americans use the car for eight, Europeans for seven and Chinese for six. Even in Europe, which is friendlier to public transport than America or China, only one in six miles took place on buses, trains and coaches in 2017. Uber accounts for just 1.5% of total miles driven in its home market.
Indeed, in some ways the pandemic has cemented the car’s pole position. Many people have shunned shared vehicles, be they cabs or buses, for fear of infection. A survey of American travelling habits by LEK, a consultancy, showed that car journeys declined by just 9% last year, compared with 55-65% for public transport and ride hailing. Although today’s teenagers are less interested in getting behind the wheel than their parents were, that changes when they turn 20. Between 2010 and 2018 America lost 800,000 drivers under 19 but gained 1.8m aged 20-29, estimates Bernstein, a broker. Appetite for cars in China, the biggest market, remains strong. In the first three months of the year Chinese car sales rebounded close to their pre-pandemic peak.
The automobile’s appeal endures on the outskirts of cities and beyond. Bernstein reckons that most driving takes place away from congested urban cores. Nearly nine-tenths of car miles in America are driven in the suburbs, small towns and rural locations, where a private car is often the only choice.
Instead it is in the city centres where a revolution beckons. There the classic ownership model is endangered, new modes of transport are emerging and there is building competition from upstart mobility providers that connect customers with a mesh of different services.
Didi, Uber and others provide rides on demand. Having lost money for years, Uber and Lyft, its smaller American rival, should become profitable in 2022, thinks Morgan Stanley, an investment bank. Companies like Zipcar enable people to rent cars by the hour, or even minute. Turo, a Californian firm, is one of several to provide longer-term peer-to-peer car-sharing. BlaBlaCar, a French company that has signed up 90m drivers in 22 countries, connects drivers with spare seats to travellers heading in the same direction.
Bike-sharing schemes jostle in new dedicated lanes with electric scooters for hire. Before the pandemic consultants at McKinsey reckoned that renting e-scooters might generate revenues of $500bn worldwide by 2030. Even flying taxis may at last be about to take off; some of their developers, such as Joby, have earned multibillion-dollar valuations.
All these modes of transport are being stitched together into seamless trips by specialist journey-planning apps. These let travellers take a scooter to the underground station, take the metro, then jump in an Uber for the last mile—or pick whatever other combination of price and travel time is most suitable. They charge the individual service providers a commission for including them in a journey. Some are experimenting with subscription plans. Some makers of aggregator apps are startups. Whim of Finland gives access to public transport, taxis, bikes and cars for a single subscription in several European locations. Others are stalwarts of the transport business. Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s state-owned railway company, has an app that also lets passengers use a variety of travel options. Frost & Sullivan, a consultancy, forecasts that such aggregator apps will generate revenues of $35bn within a decade.
Small wonder carmakers want in. Many have done so by investing in the newcomers. In 2016 GM ploughed $500m into Lyft and Volkswagen put $300m in Gett, a European taxi-hailing app. Toyota has invested in Uber, Didi and Grab, a Singaporean ride-hailing firm that could go public soon in a reverse merger valuing it at $35bn. GM has since sold its stake (at a healthy profit) but Toyota and Volkswagen have held on to theirs.
The car companies have also been competing with the challengers head on. It helps that many car firms are familiar with the principle of charging for use rather than ownership. In Britain more than 90% of cars use some form of financing. Arrangements where the customer pays a monthly sum over two to four years to offset depreciation are a lot like a long-term rental. It is not a huge jump from that to a subscription service. Hakan Samuelsson, boss of Volvo, thinks the shift from ownership to “usership” could be rapid.
Five years ago, in a bid to convince investors that it was a “mobility” firm, not an irrelevant behemoth, GM launched Maven, a brand offering both car-sharing and a peer-to-peer rental. The same year Ford, GM’s Detroit rival, acquired Chariot, a shared minibus service, and Volkswagen launched MOIA, which employs 1,300 people developing on-demand transport. In 2019 BMW and Daimler, two German makers of luxury cars, combined their mobility businesses into a joint venture called Free Now, and Toyota launched its car-sharing and travel-planning platform, Kinto, which has since expanded to several European countries.
Some upmarket carmakers, including Volvo (a Swedish marque owned by Geely of China), Audi (part of Volkswagen) and Lexus (Toyota’s premium brand), have tried to woo back younger city-dwellers with subscription services. For a monthly fee starting at between $600 (for a Volvo) and $1,000 (for an Audi or a Lexus), which excludes only fuel, users get access to a vehicle whenever they need one. Lynk & Co charges users €500 ($595) per month for its cars. Its boss, Allan Visser, calls his marque (also owned by Geely) the “Netflix of cars”.
As the relationship between car brands and customers gets more continuous, replacing some one-off sales, it is also becoming more direct. Tesla pioneered selling cars in its own salons, as Apple does with its gadgets. Other carmakers are beginning to follow suit. Lynk & Co sells its cars online. Volvo said in February that it will start doing the same. The trend has been accelerated by the pandemic, which has pushed more car buyers away from dealers’ forecourts and onto the internet. Selling vehicles directly forges a bond with buyers that may help flog services in the future.
Not all of these ventures will succeed. Some have already fallen by the wayside. Ford pulled the plug on Chariot in 2019. Maven was put to rest a year later, as was the foldable-bike venture. A few months ago Free Now quietly wrote off its Hive e-scooter business and in March sold ParkNow, an app that allows drivers to find and pay for a parking space. As Ashish Khanna of LEK observes, ride-hailing will always struggle in outer suburbs where passengers are far less thick on the ground. Assaf Biderman, boss of Superpedestrian, which operates shared e-scooters, notes that city peripheries in particular are still “built for cars”.
But legacy carmakers are not taking anything for granted as they face up to the reality that a few decades from now they may be selling fewer cars in the time-honoured way. If Tesla taught them anything it is that being caught asleep at the wheel can be awfully costly.
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The Brisbane Lions are going to have to do some more clothes shopping.
The AFL team were left stranded in Melbourne over the weekend after a new COVID-19 threat emerged in their home state.
Players were spotted out buying clothes to wear after originally intending to fly home the day after Friday night’s match against Geelong — and they’ll need to stock up again after Queensland recorded 10 new cases of COVID-19 overnight, including four locally acquired infections.
It’s prompted a snap three-day lockdown in Brisbane after all of the new cases were confirmed as the “highly infectious” mutant UK strain of the virus.
“That lockdown will be for greater Brisbane, which is Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and Redlands and will commence at 5:00pm this afternoon,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
It leaves not only the AFL but the NRL fixture in a precarious position as league officials scramble to pull off this weekend’s matches.
Here’s where each of the codes stands:
NRL: Broncos relocating to Sydney
The NRL has decided to relocate the Broncos, who will fly out of Brisbane for the next two weeks to avoid being caught up in Brisbane’s unfolding COVID-19 scare.
Kevin Walter’s men will fly to Sydney on Monday afternoon and set up a mini-hub for a fortnight, remaining in the Harbour City until at least after their round five game against South Sydney.
Friday’s game between the Broncos and Storm in Melbourne is still expected to go ahead as planned, with Brisbane reportedly expected to fly into Victoria before the match.
However, The Australian’s Brent Read reports the NRL is considering a contingency plan of moving the game to Sydney, and making Friday night a double header along with the Bulldogs vs Rabbitohs clash.
“NRL believed to be considering a double header at ANZ Stadium on Friday night as part of their contingency planning,” Read tweeted. “Would involve moving Brisbane-Melbourne to Sydney, although would be a last resort and only if forced on them by government protocols.”
The Cowboys are also slated to play the Sharks at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Saturday and the NRL was considering chartered flights directly from Townsville.
AFL: Lions will have to play in Melbourne
The Brisbane Lions’ premiership hopes are fading by the day as they prepare to fight out of an 0-2 hole on the road.
A shock defeat to Sydney in round one and a one-point loss to Geelong has left the flag fancies behind the eight ball and they now face the prospect of playing their round three match against Collingwood in Melbourne instead of Brisbane.
The AFL has announced Thursday night’s match between the Lions and the Magpies will be moved from the Gabba to Marvel Stadium.
It’s a blow to Brisbane because the Easter Thursday blockbuster against one of the league’s biggest clubs is one of its largest money-spinners for the year. But club bosses will hope to recoup the losses in round 22, when the Lions-Magpies clash previously scheduled for Marvel will now be held at the Gabba.
Brisbane, which trained in Port Melbourne on Monday morning and had expected to fly home this afternoon before Ms Palaszczuk’s announcement, is likely to spend three rounds on the road because its week five match is against the Bulldogs in Bendigo.
AFL journalist Jon Ralph reported four Lions players flew into Melbourne as reinforcements, and will be able to join the team after getting a test, isolating and receiving a negative result.
The AFL may also need to consider relocating the Gold Coast Suns if the situation in Brisbane spreads to other parts of Queensland. The Suns are scheduled to play the Crows in Adelaide on Friday night.
— with foxsports.com.au
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J ONATHON ACOSTA wore a blazer with a guayabera, a traditional formal shirt in the Caribbean, on his first day as a senator in Rhode Island’s legislature. Since then he has worn informal attire, a better reflection, he says, of his mainly Latino constituents. He often wears knitted hats and cardigans. The only wardrobe rule said that people must be “properly dressed”. That changed on March 23rd, when the chamber passed a new dress code stipulating “proper and appropriate attire”, such as blouses and collared shirts with a jacket.
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Before the vote, during a lively debate last week in the Senate Rules Committee, Mr Acosta argued that the new rule “connotes white collar, white people”. He wasn’t elected to wear “a costume”, he was elected to legislate. Dominick Ruggerio, the Senate’s president, retorted that he found it offensive when people are not dressed appropriately. Cynthia Mendes, another senator, later observed that the new dress code appears at a moment when Rhode Island has more women and more minorities than ever.
Dress codes are often a reaction to diversity, says Richard Thompson Ford, author of “Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion made History”. Current trends are away from formality in the workplace; Mr Acosta’s wardrobe is similar to that of a Silicon Valley boss. At the same time, the number of dress codes adopted or enforced by schools has increased. Before the pandemic, reports of children being punished for their dreadlocks prompted Cory Booker, a black New Jersey senator, to introduce legislation banning race-based hair discrimination.
Not everyone sees the suit as oppressive. The Student Nonviolent Co-ordinating Committee, a civil-rights group from the 1960s, wore their Sunday best for protests. It was a symbol of defiance. “The African-American in elegant attire was seen as a threat to white supremacy,” says Mr Thompson Ford.
Around two dozen other statehouses have some sort of dress code, as does Congress. Women have been told to cover up their bare arms in the chamber of the House. Some rules are unspoken. Sonia Sotomayor was reportedly advised to wear neutral nail polish to her confirmation hearings as a Supreme Court justice, to avoid scrutiny. After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore big gold hoops at her swearing-in ceremony to Congress in 2019, she tweeted: “Next time someone tells Bronx girls to take off their hoops, they can just say they’re dressing like a congresswoman.”
This article appeared in the United States section of the print edition under the headline “A coded message”
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From the beaches of Cornwall to the slums of Mumbai and the cityscapes of New York, brothers Nicholas and Alex Bourne embarked on a trip together to explore what it means to have a sibling with Down’s Syndrome.
‘Handsome’, their new documentary, charts how after a childhood where Nicholas has been part brother, part carer for Alex, he now faces the uncomfortable truth that they must both become more independent.
The two travel to meet other siblings with Down’s Syndrome across the world.
It is a frank, sometimes uncomfortable, account of the changing relationship between brothers with a special bond.
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The forward-line also remains a concern. Mason Cox has grown on me. There’s a role there for him, providing a target and a level of predictability for those around him. But, he’ll never be a Tom Lynch, Tom Hawkins or Jeremy Cameron.
If they’re relying on Cox as their key target – particularly with De Goey spending more time in the midfield – then I think the Pies are in trouble.
Still it’s not personnel that concerns me the most. This group is still talented enough to challenge the best teams, but not the way they’ve been playing recently.
In the final year of his contract, ‘Bucks’ has dealt with this type of pressure before.
Heading into 2018, he probably faced more scrutiny than anyone in the history of the game. A champion of the biggest club in the land, in the era of social media and saturation coverage.
At that stage, the knock on the Pies was ball movement. It was often slow and easy to shut down off half-back and they were beaten in their opening two games.
It wasn’t until a win on the road against Adelaide in round four that you could really tell what they were trying to do with ball in hand. There was dash and daring and control all at the same time.
‘Bucks’ seemed to change the sentiment around Collingwood too, from a team most opposition supporters despised to one many admired.
It was a happy place to be, and you could tell he’d developed a deep connection with his players. As we know they rode that momentum within a kick of a premiership.
Despite only narrowly losing the preliminary final to GWS in 2019, a match they went in red hot favourites, by then there were already some worrying signs. In the end that scoreline probably flattered them.
Leading into that finals series the Pies biggest problem was again ball movement, and in turn the ability to kick goals. Albeit in the wet, they simply couldn’t score against the Giants until they threw caution to the wind and their opponents froze a little.
Last year, a trademark, backs-to-the-wall elimination final win over West Coast papered over the same cracks. Either the Pies slipped into some bad habits, or the opposition had worked them out. We all understand that the opposition doesn’t just let you play the way you want to play.
But again last year the Pies were the lowest scoring team to play finals by some margin.
Jeremy Howe, with his intercept play and elite kicking should help them in transition and, who knows, so too might the man-on-the-mark rule. So often that corridor kick is blocked, and the Pies have been forced down the line. More than many other teams the new rule might help them.
But that remains to be seen.
Against Richmond in the pre-season series there were some familiar problems. They managed only three goals to half-time, and they only really looked dangerous once the Tigers had taken their foot off the pedal.
It’s why I have no problem with De Goey spending more time in the midfield.
In an ideal world he probably spends more time forward, but if the ball movement is what it has been then it wouldn’t matter if Royce Hart, Jonathan Brown and Tony Lockett were in that forward line.
With poor ball movement De Goey is wasted inside 50, so the Pies are right to inject him into the centre square more often.
Overall, Collingwood is in danger of entering footy’s no-man’s land: enough top-end talent that they’ll never struggle but perhaps not enough to overcome those ball movement deficiencies.
The greatest risk is to take no risk at all.
For Buckley, finals footy is a must to secure his future because ultimately the buck does stop with him.
Can the Pies be brave enough to push more players forward of the ball in a bid to score more efficiently and, clearly by doing so, be more vulnerable defensively? In round one last year they smashed the Dogs, with that more daring style of footy.
On pre-season form, Luke Beveridge’s men should turn the tables but the Magpies have proved people wrong before. Can they do it again?
Carey’s tip: Bulldogs by 18 points. Click here for round one teams and expert tips.
Two-time AFL premiership captain and columnist for The Age.
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