AFL Round 14 – Port Adelaide v Collingwood: Staring into the fire

A big day at home with the hedge trimmer on Saturday has topped up the bonfire pile in the paddock. The flames have been burning brightly for nearly an hour when 4.30 comes around, time for a cold beer and the pies game. This is a much bigger game on paper than it was 8 days ago due to the Power’s great win over the reigning premiers last Saturday. It’s the first meeting of the two club’s since the tragic passing of John McCarthy last September and it’s a great sight to see both teams run through the same banner in tribute to J-Mac, a banner which features his number 3 Collingwood Guernsey as well as the number 35 he wore at Port Adelaide last season. Both teams look great and look like real football teams, Port’s Guernsey is just fantastic, best thing they have ever done in adopting this design in place of the old SBS logo style jumper, while it’s great to see the Pies in mainly white with the black stripes and numbers. Would be more than happy if we wore this for every away game. The coin toss provided another nice tribute to McCarthy, with 3 of his best mates from either team present. Brent Macaffer , Jarryd Blair and Nathan Brown represented Collingwood while there for Port Adelaide was Brad Ebert, Hamish Hartlett and Travis Boak.

The game starts and without Ben Reid we are lacking in the big man department down back. Skipper Maxwell has to play tall and picks up Jay Schulz. A precise pass from Macaffer to Cloke sees the big forward go back and kick the first goal of the game from just outside 50. I like what I see and can’t help thinking the big number 32 is in for a big day. Maxwell sneaks into the forward 50, marks and goals and I’m really enjoying this. I take to Twitter to praise our skipper and am immediately bagged by some of my Geelong supporting mates who clearly don’t rate the former Geelong Falcon. And that is when it starts to go pear shaped. Schulz marks 50m out on the boundary and promptly goes back and bangs it through. Port are 11 points up at quarter time and 16 points up at half time. They are playing better in a game played with a very much finals intensity. The highlight of the second quarter is a great grab by Jamie Elliott flying above the pack. Very much reminiscent of a mark Gary Ablett snr took against Essendon’s Derek Kickett and Chris Daniher (I think) in 1993. He goals after it.  I take the radio out at half time to stoke up the bonfire. It has nearly all been burnt anyway. Like Collingwood in 2013? I hope not as I find more bark from the Eucalypts to burn.

Back inside watching the TV for the 3rd quarter and the finals-like intensity has not dropped off. This a hard tough game that is great to watch. Port kick 1.3, we kick 1.1 for the quarter. 18 points down at the last break, still in it but with some work to do.

The final term runs like a few of our big games this season have gone where the Pies fall away and the game becomes something of a blowout. It’s extremely disturbing every time it happens. Port are a good young team and have the backing of a good sized crowded who seem very vocal coming through the TV. With 3 minutes left I’ve had enough and take the radio back out to the bonfire. All I find is smouldering ashes. Port win by 35 points. Eerie, that was J-Mac’s number at Port.  There’s nothing left to put on the fire. Maybe Collingwood have burnt out too. For the first time this season I’m thinking we can’t win the flag. And it hurts, given the success of 2010 and the future success that team promised. But it will be a quick turnaround. Plenty of good new players blooded this season, several injury interrupted players will return better this year and next. Look at how Port have turned it around this year, coming off a very low base. Still sure we will play some sort of finals football, nothing to be sneezed at, as Richmond fans would know. Every chance we will be joined by Port Adelaide too. I hope they make it, great coach, great young players and the President is doing a brilliant job.

The night did get better. While I couldn’t bring myself to watch any more Aussie Rules, the Wallabies great win over the British & Irish Lions brought great joy to this writer. What a fantastic series this has been, the decider in Sydney will be huge.

PORT ADELAIDE         4.2     7.3    8.6    13.8          (86)

COLLINGWOOD           2.3    4.5     5.6     7.9           (51)

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

COLLINGWOOD: Cloke 2, Dwyer 2, Maxwell, Elliott, Kennedy

BEST: PORT ADELAIDE: Broadbent, Brad Ebert, Wingard, Westhoff, Wines, Boak, Schulz

COLLINGWOOD: Seedsman, Maxwell, Hudson, Pendlebury, O’Brien

UMPIRES: Bannister, Stevic, Donlan

CROWD: 31,121 at Football Park, Adalaide

VOTES: 3. Broadbent (PA)  2. Brad Ebert (PA)  1. Seedsman (Coll)

 

About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134

Comments

  1. Luke – I watched the last quarter of this game. Port were good. Made the Pies look strangely slow and disinterested. Even Pendlebury was subdued. I’d rather watch the type of footy the Power are playing than the grinding rugby that Freo puts out.

  2. Hey Luke

    The port jumper is a definite improvement, but I reckon they should trim the teal a little (well a lot … its garish!) Collingwood looked great in that classic strip too and doesn’t it just make the game so much better to watch? Having said this, though, what I’d really love one day is for Port and your pies to play off each year for who gets to wear the black and white stripes. That’d be a real blood match I reckon.

    PS Metaphor about the pies fading chances and the ember remains of the bonfire is spot on – woods need someone to stoke their season with a poker in a hurry

  3. Luke Reynolds says:

    Dips we did look slow and disinterested. Port are great to watch, chose to watch the Wallabies play their style of Rugby instead of Freo’s style on Saturday night. Think I made the right choice. Glad Geelong won.

    T Bone that would be a pre season match with far more meaning than any pre-season currently being played. That poker will need to be red hot.

  4. Luke Reynolds says:

    Dips we did look slow and disinterested. Port are great to watch, chose to watch the Wallabies play their style of Rugby instead of Freo’s style on Saturday night. Think I made the right choice. Glad Geelong won.

    T Bone that would be a pre season match with far more meaning than any pre-season match currently being played. That poker will need to be red hot.

  5. DBalassone says:

    Krak would have been handy as a wildcard up forward. We are just too predictable looking for Cloke all the time. We looked good between half-back and half-forward.
    Pies demise reminds me a bit of Essendon who fell away after being a force in 99-01. They still made the finals in 02-04 but were a toothless tiger. Ah well, at least we don’t have to look forward to another 8 goal loss to Hawks in a finals shootout (although it will happen in Round 21 of course).

  6. Luke Reynolds says:

    You’re right Damian, Krak would have been handy. I think we should play him all the time, whatever he has going on. He’s the X factor we desperately need.

    I’m hoping our demise is more like Geelong in 2012 rather than Essendon 2002-04, ie. quick turnaround after introducing several new players. Probably being over optimistic.

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