AFL Finals Week 1 – Collingwood v Port Adelaide: So much teal

Walking into the MCG for this Elimination Final, I’m struck by how much teal there is to accompany all the black & white. The Power fans have come out in force. The Port Adelaide renaissance, led by Chairman David Koch and coach Ken Hinkley, has been a surprise and a rare good news story in an Annus horribilis for the AFL. But I’m supremely confident going into this game, despite our 35 point loss to the Power in Round 14 at Football Park.

Collingwood dominate the first 5 minutes but it’s the South Australians who kick the first major when Justin Westhoff puts one through. Not long after that Jay Schulz marks and goals. Dane Swan, after missing an easier earlier shot on the run kicks the Pies’ only goal of the 1st term from a set shot deep in  the forward pocket. In a mainly Collingwood members area, there are 3 vocal Port supporters in the row behind us. They are full of praise if the decisions go their way (“brilliant umpiring” is called for all of the Power’s frees) but deride any decision against their team.  They blame Eddie, Demetriou, Kevin Rudd and the Syrian conflict among other things for the terrible decisions given against their beloved Power. But they are entertaining. 6 points down at the 1st break.

Travis Boak kicks the first goal of the 2nd quarter in the 1st minute. Immediately after Heath Shaw gives away a free to Angus Monfries which results in a goal to Port before the ball even makes it back to the centre. Three goals down but you get the feeling the Pies will kick into gear soon. But then Jay Schulz jumps on top of Nathan Brown to take as good a mark as has been seen at AFL level in 2013 and then kicks the goal to give Port Adelaide a 24 point lead. Finally the Pies get their first goal of the second term as Marley Williams kicks truly on the run from 50. A Gavin Crosisca/Ben Johnson type left foot defenders goal. Williams reminds me a lot of these two club greats. Cloke and Macaffer both goal and we’re back. A late goal for Port to Wingard and the quarter ends with Heath Shaw throwing the ball in Angus Monfries’ face. It goes unpunished but Heater is losing the plot. Port Adelaide up by 12 points at the main break.

Lachlan Keefe, strangely playing up forward and in back up ruck kicks the first goal of the quarter and we are back to just 6 points down. Swanny, almost single handedly keeping us in the game, marks, plays on a goals. Scores level.  The Cooooolllingwood chant goes up. The fans can sense victory now and the atmosphere has lifted markedly. Two minutes later and Swan kicks another goal. This is the Collingwood we came to see. But that’s it from the Pies in this quarter as they start to kick the ball straight to Power players far too often. Wingard and Wines goal for Port who lead by 8 points at the last break.

Beams and Cloke both goal to start the last quarter and we’re back in front. We will win this now. Or so I and every other Pies fan at the ‘G thought. But the errors continue. For the rest of the game. We don’t score another goal while Port kick 4 more. Collingwood’s disposal is shocking. Usually skilful players like Steele Sidebottom are unusually unskilful. Even the great man Pendles kicks one out of bounds on the full. He’s strangely out of sorts tonight. The crowd, myself included, are numb. We weren’t meant to go out in the first week of the finals. We’re used to losing Preliminary and Grand Finals, not elimination finals. The Port fans loudly enjoy the last 5 minutes of the match as many Pies fans start filing out. I stay until the bitter end. I shake hands with the three Port supporters behind me who, despite wearing Port beanies and scarves and barracking loudly for the Power, reveal themselves to be West Coast fans from Perth who are just here to “barrack against Collingwood”. Good on them, they’ve had a great night.

An inconsistent season ends. The brilliant performances against Geelong and Sydney aren’t where we are at it seems, just a teaser. There will be change after this effort. I’m a believer in Buckley and am sure he will get this club back where we should be.

Just when I thought the night couldn’t get any worse there was one final insult. Outside the ground we walked past a busker absolutely murdering AC/DC’s “T.N.T.”. Really didn’t want to hear the line “T.N.T.  I’m a power-load” being sung well after losing to the Power let alone being butchered by a terrible busker. He received no coins from me.

 

PORT ADELAIDE                   2.4      6.6     8.9     12.15             87                 def.

COLLINGWOOD                    1.4       4.6     7.7       9.9                63

BEST-

PORT ADELAIDE: Ebert, Lobbe, Logan, Wines, Wingard, Schulz, K.Cornes

COLLINGWOOD: Swan, Beams, Williams, Sidebottom

GOALS-

PORT ADELAIDE: Schulz 3, Wingard 3, Boak 2, Wines 2, Westhoff, Monfries

COLLINGWOOD: Swan 3, Cloke 2, Williams, Keefe, Beams, Macaffer

UMPIRES: Donlan, Dalgleish, Jeffrey

CROWD: 51,722 at the MCG

 

About Luke Reynolds

Somewhere down there between daytime and the dark.

Comments

  1. Peter Schumacher says:

    This was a really fair and well written piece, I have to confess that I was barracking for Port on this one but for any footy team an unexpected loss is never pleasant particularly of course when it ends the season.

  2. G’day Luke, another great piece.
    You provided the sense of atmosphere at the ground there, which mirrored the expectant but unfulfilled feeling at my place.
    Strange call from the busker, given it was a Melbourne crowd. Might have had better support playing the funeral march.

  3. It was good to meet you in person on Saturday night Luke. I only wish that my Eagles were as incompetent as your Magpies.
    Watching your game straight after the Cats/Dockers was like watching 2 different sports. One showed enormous skill and discipline under pressure, the other was like an early season NAB Cup clanger fest romp.
    It was like the Collingwood players were waiting for someone to gift them this game so they could get on and fufil their birth right in the coming weeks.
    Cargo Cult football. Collingwood used to be characterised by backs to the wall mateship and aggression.
    My gut feel is that Eddie has created a monster with his corporatism and Westpac Centre. It has bred a culture of celebrity entitlement among the players.
    Something is rotten in the State of Denmark.
    Really enjoyed the insight and honesty of all your pieces this season. Thanks Luke.

  4. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Thanks Luke, last time I felt like this was in 1989 when we lost an elimination we were expected to win against an unfancied Melbourne. Knives were coming out for Matthews, who hadn’t won a final to that stage. Hope things turn around for Bucks and the Pies, but Peter B has nailed it re: culture of celebrity and entitlement at Collingwood. Substituting fame for success has been a strategy since the 1970 debacle.

  5. Great read as per usual Luke. I’m surprised this “culture” debate has ensued since Saturday night. I think the real issue is that Bucks was out-coached. For the entire 4 quarters, he refused to man up on Port’s loose man in defence (Logan), and worse still when the Pies finally got fast breaks through the middle, Cloke and Reid were BOTH stranded 60-70 metres out on the flanks, meaning we had no deep options to kick to. Port defenders always managed to get back into our 50 before we did – hence all these interceptions – yet Bucks and the media scribes are trying to pin the loss on poor disposal. Can’t believe that at least one of Cloke and Reid was not a deep option at all times. Also throwing CHB Keefe into the forward mix added to the confusion.
    Full credit to Port, they were brilliant, better coached, well-drilled and hungrier for the ball. The press they set up in their forward 50 in the last 15 minutes was impassable. Reminded me of something we used to do.

  6. Luke Reynolds says:

    Thanks all for the comments. Peter B you look so much different than your photo! Some good points made about the entitlement amongst the players. Damian, spot on, Bucks didn’t put in his greatest coaching performance. Some very puzzling moves at times. Port were very good.

  7. Bloody hell

  8. Eloquent in your grief, Danni. No other comment on the effort and attitude of your boys?
    Trading Heater? You might get an Abs Buster and a set of steak knives for him.

  9. We’re rebuilding and Carlton are still playing finals, I have NO words.

  10. Easy, PB.

    You should have reasonably uninterrupted 360 degree views from inside that glass house.

    We’ll be fine in Denmark, thanks very much. How’s it looking over there in Syria?

  11. I did well to be counting votes instead as this debacle unfolded.

    Nice report Luke, we’ll take the better draft picks & draw thankyou, this campaign was never going to penetrate deeper than Nicky Dal anyway.

  12. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Good summary Luke this game to me summed up how much sport is played above the ears with Collingwood just thinking it was going to happen and leaving it to some 1 else .
    Collingwood got in front of themselves and where they were at wonder how much blame Eddie can take for that ? At least order was restored the next day when Richmond played and panicked like deer caught in headlights and Chaplin was shit and Deledio got exposed defensively at least that was entirely predictable ! Thanks Luke

  13. Luke Reynolds says:

    Thanks Rulebook. Was a disappointing night. Very happy though when this piece was selected for the 2013 almanac book. That busker was terrible though

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