AFL Round 2 – Collingwood v Carlton: Faith in humanity restored

Poor Mick.

In the remains of the day I used to spot the silver fox marching across from Westpac Centre through Melbourne Park, over the footbridge and past the MCG to his low rent Jolimont digs. Now at Carlton, it must be quite a journey to and from Priceless Park, or whatever it’s called these days.

As an environmentalist it must also pain Mick the many forests pulped in the name of his Ed issues, and the contract he willingly signed, and later recanted after a pang of buyer’s remorse.  It’s easy to understand how his family lost faith in humanity. Fancy giving Mick a measly decade to deliver the goods at roughly $1m p/a, only to ease him into his dotage with just as generous a superannuation package.  It’s enough to have poor Christi busking in Fed Square.

But this game wasn’t about Mick, or at least it wasn’t until Mick magnanimously took one for the team.  And nor was Mick thinking of Ed, as Mick claimed, despite mentioning his distaste for Ed’s conciliatory bread.

No, this was another chapter in the greatest rivalry in Australian sport, a 120 year struggle between good and evil far outweighing two men’s egos.

For the combatants’ supporters, all week senses are heightened, nerves on edge. Children best behave.   And for those who barrack for neither side it’s basking in the assuredness that one of the two most hated teams in the competition will be experiencing abject pain at the final siren.

A warm morning and gusty conditions augmented the game’s finals feel.  The dark clouds looming ominously to the west would later fulfil their dramatic promise.

Having walked virtually all the way to the station before realising I’d forgotten my cursed Myki card wasn’t a promising start, but I reconciled that an extra couple k’s walk was nothing compared to the physical toll the combatants would pay.

A short sharp session at the Prince Patrick before the game with my mate ‘Tarpey’ (nicknamed after the battling ‘Pie defender of yesteryear) settled the nerves.  We discussed his poor ailing Labradors to further ease the tension. The surviving one is 120 in dog years – twice the age of the old dog coaching the Blues. Remarkable!

To the game, and the Blues were already up and running before the early deluge had fans decamping. Walker, Garlett and Yarran made the most of their opportunities in lieu of an injured Betts and Megan’s boyfriend. Was Mick’s insider knowledge going to be the key to the downfall of his former boys, whom he professed his love and said he’d never plot against?

But there is a new spirit within the 2013 Magpie line-up, balanced with the kind of bullishness typified by Buckley, whose stoic response to the war of words around him was reminiscent of an Easter Island statue. That said, at 10 points adrift when the final quarter began, there was no margin for error.

Not only was the potential disaster of yielding the first goal averted, the Pies quickly goaled, and goaled again. Swan and Pendles upped the ante.  Relentless, composed Collingwood was back, but Carlton kept coming.  Always coming.

Enter wee ‘Billy’ Elliott, who defied Charles Darwin and the Blues defence to jag five goals in a career defining performance. If the Big Q Stick does nothing else at Collingwood he will forever be venerated for his Herculian efforts against the arch enemy, bravely outlasting Kruezer in the absence of a busted up Jolly.  Another unlikely hero presented in the poised form of Sam Dwyer, a 26 year old freshman who’d been passed over more times than a Snack block Turkish delight. And in the interests of balance, Sam Rowe’s debut after overcoming cancer was also a fine example of humanity on display.

The Magpies’ big game experience, combined with an injection of fresh spirit, was enough in the end.  I floated through Yarra Park to Jolimont Station.  Not only had the planets aligned, so had the train timetable for the first time in living memory. I enjoyed the Carlton-centric carriage of despondency.  My thoughts turned to Malty and his lonely trek home from the ‘G.  We wanted to like you, it didn’t have to be this way.

Poor Mick.

Collingwood 3.3       5.5       10.10               17.15.117
Carlton           3.0       7.3       12.8                 15.10.100
Goals

Collingwood: Elliot 5, Blair 2, Pendlebury 2, Sinclair 2, Clarke, Dwyer, Goldsack, Shaw, Sidebottom, Swan

Carlton: Garlett 3, Walker 3, Yarran 3, Bell, Henderson, Lucas, Murphy, Rowe, Simpson

Best

Collingwood: Elliot, Swan, Pendlebury, O’Brien, Shaw, Sidebottom

Carlton: Murphy, Judd, Garlett, Gibbs, Henderson, Jamison

Umpires

Meredith, Jeffrey, McInerney

Crowd

84,247

Malarkey Medal

3. Elliot

2. Lynch

1. Dwyer

About Jeff Dowsing

Washed up former Inside Sport and Sunday Age Sport freelancer. Now just giving my stuff away to good homes. Not to worry, still have my health and day job. Published & unpublished works fester on my blog Write Line Fever.

Comments

  1. ramondobb says:

    Outstanding stuff, Jeff. Just loved your assessment of MM and Bucks and THE bigger rivalry. I’ve loved Bucks’ attitude and approach to the job and the media circus both this past week and since 2009. And I’ve loathed MM’s equivalent. As a Pies premiership coach, and dragging us from the depths of 1999, I’ll always have a great respect and gratitude for MM at Collingwood. But, I reckon he had the chance to become a part of the Collingwood Family forever, but has chosen a different path and is now seen as a former employee. Maybe his recent antics are all about mind games that may eventually pay off, but it certainly smells of something else.

    Like your pre-game Prince Patrick calming frothies, I had the good fortune of some calming crownies in the CFC President’s lunch. King Eddie did us proud with his almost magnanimous approach to the bitter rivals at lunch. A presentation to Collo for services to the game (and confessing that he approached him to take the CFC CEO job in his early days of the presidency), an invitation to Jack Elliott and very complimentary comments directed towards Prez Sticks and Chairman Fitzpatrick. He spoke proudly of the strong rivallry but the mutual respect between both clubs. He ended it cheekily with a comment about “that’s about enough love for today though”. Interestingly, and astutely there was no mention of a certain coach.

    A stirring victory for the Pies that had us on the edge of our seats all day made for a happy aftermatch with a few celebratory drinks and then an enjoyable 8pm train ride exchanging good natured banter, match, player, coach, adminstrator and footy analysis with some despondent and “unsure of the immediate future” Blues fans.

    Loved the turkish delight reference – priceless!

  2. Neil Belford says:

    Jeff – great article – moving tangentially though and speaking of an exquisite turn of phrase II thought you might like this – he hasn’t lost it …

    “The reports of my death have been greatly understated. Once admitted to the William Beaumont Hospital at Royal Oak in Michigan, I received treatment for concussion, a bleeding ulcer, and Barrett’s esophagus. The positive from all of this is that there are now no known ailments left for me to try.
    I am fully determined to resume the tour on February 9 at the Chelsea Ballroom in Las Vegas. If there’s an audience of any kind in attendance, I just might die with a smile on my face, after all. If I am not there, I shall probably never again be anywhere. Equally, I am determined to play Flint (Michigan) if it kills me (which, on the face of it, it almost has.)
    Thank you to everyone present at both Brooklyn (New York) and Melbourne (Australia) during recent weeks for two of the best nights of what might charitably be termed my “career”. My debt to you will outlive time itself.
    pause at my headstone,
    MORRISSEY
    31 January 2013.”

  3. Thanks Neil (&Ramon) – having been at Festival Hall last December I can also happily report the great man hasn’t lost it on stage either.

    There’s a bit of the Malty about Moz. At times they speak and act in ways which make them so hard to like (as much as you want to), though their talent is indesputable. Both are blessed with a wardrobe full of cranky pants.

    “My debt to you will outlive time itself.
    pause at my headstone.”

    Will say Ed to Mick, and vice versa, no time, ever…

  4. JD – loved the piece. I too floated through Yarra Park (with victory donuts), then Treasury Gardens, all the way to The Rose Hotel for further amber prognostications. You can’t beat beating Carlton.

    And Neil, my favourite Morrissey line (among many strong contenders) has always been: “And now I know how Joan of Arc felt”. I think it perfectly encapsulates his tragicomedy view of himself in the world. Must try and get it into a match report.

  5. ramondobb says:

    In reference to both of your “floating” experiences, and to trot out one of my regular favourite lines, I “skipped through the park as happy as George Costanza after he got the job as a hand model in the Puffy Shirt episode”.

  6. Thanks MOC – yes the Joan of Arc line is a goodun – taken from a song whose title headed a great article by Bruce Guthrie on the weekend giving Jeff ‘Bigmouth’ Kennett a nice serve.

    Personally one of my faves is “the pain was enough to make a shy bald Buddhist reflect and plan a mass murder”.

    Came to mind twice last year when we got done by da Blooze.

  7. Great work Jeff. Bucks has carried himself superbly through all the Mick circus, loved the Easter Island statue reference for Bucks. Will save a few coins to throw in Christi’s guitar case at Fed Square.

  8. Thanks Luke, yeah I’m not sure Christi’s book on Pa moved too many units.

  9. Superb piece Jeff

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