AFL Round 20: Pies continue merry march while Tigers confirm culture problem

By Paul O’Connell

A gloomy Saturday morning was becoming by midday a warm sunny afternoon. At least I knew I could see, feel and smell the weather at the ‘G.  It really felt like I was going to the footy, a rare Saturday avo just like in the good old days. I make no apology in saying that I can’t stand going to Telstra, the dome, Docklands, Dockyards, Etihad or whatever else it is, was, has or will be called. And as for a roof at the football – well let’s hope StKilda always blame playing too much under the roof and not enough outside for missing out in 2009.

I got off the phone from TAFKATBM or Spanna as most of us know him, just as I read Ramon’s email reconfirming the horror of Mother’s Day ’91. I realised we are getting older when Spanna called out to his daughter Amanda to see if she would drive today so he could join me for a beer after the game after our planned victory. Amanda was not even born when we lost to Richmond in ’91. Scary that kids who are Collingwood supporters are now driving cars yet have never experienced a Pies premiership … just like many of us oldies did.

Our selections contained no surprises. The injured Sack replaced by Wellingham. For one of the rare times I could remember we seem to have some real depth and few injuries. Clarke or Cox could also easily have been included for this sort of role. Suddenly we have a great backline – two absolute guns in Heath and Harry, a much improved Maxwell, Presti in career best form (I now call him Prestige) and several others who can rotate in different roles depending on match-ups. I know it is horses for courses but I can’t help thinking we are better off using L. Brown rather than N. Brown down back when needed.

Speaking of L., it is his 200th game. We must say well done as not many get to 200. I remember reading when Lockyer played his 150th (a while ago now) that only 7 per cent of all players get to 150. So much less than that get to 200. I must confess I knew little about him before he came to Collingwood. An interesting player, very mobile for his size, can obviously play several roles, a shocking set shot for goal from what I have seen, a touch of hardness now and then, but seemingly always a bit player.

Now to the game. Well you have to be pleased when you win by over 15 goals, even when the last 1/4 is a non event, with Bowden getting junk stats in his last 1/4 of football (for Richmond). It has to be said Richmond was shocking. I know it was windy and we made some blues but it is hard to remember a worse effort in terms of field kicking than that on display by the Tigers. I read with interest during the week that the Saints were after Jordan McMahon. Well on today’s effort you would think the Tigers would be happy to off-load him.

We started slowly by not being able to get the ball out of the centre. When the Tigers went a goal up Spanna was raising the alarm bells and the volume of his voice. But then everything seemed to just click. There was constant movement and backing up and the last 20 minutes of the first 1/4 seemed like an avalanche. Whilst we were well up we missed a lot (partly due to the wind) and we commented at 1/4 time we could have been 10 or 12 goals up given the opportunities and flow of play. I think we had 7 single goal kickers for our first 7 goals at 1/4 time. Leon was quiet all term, Harry was trying to take on anyone and everyone and not always succeeding, Swan took 16 minutes to have a disposal but hard to say too much other than positives. I should add that Swan’s first 3 disposals were kicks to targets inside 50, and 1 of them was after a great mark. Interesting to see Pendles run and bounce with real momentum. Can’t recall seeing that much before. I sort of quickly scan read Buck’s article in The Age re the top 10 midfielders and those who missed out, and did not see Pendles even mentioned. Very strange – but maybe I missed it.

We just continued on the in the 2nd 1/4. O’Bree, Pendles, Swan and Beams were dominating at ground level and the scoring kept coming. I must comment on 3 great long handballs today from Beams who shows composure and vision beyond his years. We must pull out all stops to make him a 10 year Pie. One passage of play stood out where we had a chain of handballs and dodges on the members’ back flank and wing before Medhurst kicked long to Dick in the pocket who passed to Swan in the square on his own. In another 1/4 Swan also kicked another goal from the square after beating 2 opponents both in the air and on the ground. What a player he is.

Things continued again in the 3rd 1/4 and all of a sudden we had 20 goals on the board, along with 18 behinds. Anthony is still having trouble kicking and Cloke of course too. How can a bloke kick a goal from the boundary outside 50 and then miss from the edge of the square? He was good though all day and is starting to fire at the right end of the season. Our onballers were all good. Leon ended up kicking 4 despite uncharacteristically fumbling a few times and dropping a couple of marks. But his pick up and goal at top pace was a real highlight. Heath was great all day in defence (and kicked a good goal) along with Maxwell while Harry was a bit down but did some good things including a great long goal. Prestige was in vintage form at times. I almost felt sorry for Nathan Brown the way Heath was cutting him up. But then remembered him kicking 5 in a single 1/4 (is that right?) on Clement in his 1st year with the Tiges just before breaking his leg.

We got outscored in the last 1/4 and Daisy was being a bit of a lair at times but who really cares. Those who seemed to be injured – Wellingham & Dick – came back on. Both reports were Tigers. Didak contained himself better than against the Hawks. A good all round performance with 13 goal kickers. Apparently our record is 14. Big stats for several players and no real passengers, and also a record number of interchanges.

And of course I must comment on the brawl – such a rare event these days. It was a flashback to the 70’s. King wacked Dids in the guts, players run in from everywhere. Dids eventually takes the free, gets run down and suddenly it was all in. The umps smartly threw up the ball and all of a sudden there were about 3 playing football and 33 wrestling or jumper punching. Did Dids deliberately get caught so 5 Pies could jump on King? How bizarre was it when King was cheered so strongly by the Tiger fans when he came off – they were about 10 goals down at the time. I think Rawlings was right when he said they had a culture problem, despite a quick denial from the incumbent Brendon Gale.

Most of our problems right now relate to future selection dilemmas. Nice space to be in. Wellingham justified his inclusion. I still think we need to slot Clarke in for the finals (he was great down back in the 2007 finals). Dawes did some nice things but struggled below his knees. Will we bring back Rocca at his expense for a run before the finals? Toovey continues to defy our early season doubts. Should we retain Wood when Fraser comes back? Do we bring back N. Brown if the opposition has 2 gun key forwards or do we make do with L. Brown and Maxwell for that role? Let’s hope we do not go too top heavy which many of us felt we were in the 1st part of the season.

I thought I would name a team for the medal rather than a player given there have been so many transfers between the Pies and Tiges since the 70’s, and particularly in the 80’s. I easily named about a dozen and then remembered doing this same exercise in a previous match report a few years back! Have not located that so am doing it again fresh here. Will interesting to compare if anyone has the old email.

B: Lovell Stewart Betts
HB: Morris Peart Tape
C: Walsh Raines King
HF: Brewer Cloke Oborne
F: Edwards Taylor Hummel
R: Teasdale Francis Annear
I: Heard A. James S. Ryan Keays
E: I’ll leave it to others to try to name 4 emergencies!
Coaches: Hafey Malthouse Erwin

Comments

  1. pauldaffey says:

    Paul,

    As a Richmond fan, that team of former Richmond-Collingwood players makes me despair.

    The seeds of Richmond’s demise were sowed in the ridiculous spat of 1983 when Richmond tried to make Collingwood pay for signing Geoff Raines and David Cloke.

    Tigerland has been an unhappy place since then.

  2. pauldaffey says:

    PS. I wish to nominate Steve McKee and Johnny Mrakov as emergencies for your team.

  3. Steve Fahey says:

    Hi Paul and others
    Several emergencies have been offered to date on the Floreat Pica email exchanges including :

    I’ll throw in Alby Pannam and Stunning Steve McKee for emergencies off the cuff.

    Don’t forget Stephen Roach who came over to join Tom Hafey in 1979. We thought , or at least I did, that we were getting Michael Roach. We didn’t

    Can throw in Wally Lovett and Johnny Mrakov as other emergencies !!! Brad Smith didn’t play seniors for Richmond but could also be included

    Other blokes who didn’t play seniors for at least one of the clubs but did get traded were Ross and Craig Considine, who went with Oborne and $100, 000 for Butch Edwards. Craig , also the national junior discus champion, played in the ones for the Tiges. Andy Preston also played in the twos for the Pies -starting to scrape the bottom of a very deep barrel !!!!

  4. pauldaffey says:

    Steve,

    I remember Craig Considine. I think he wore No.36 for the Tigers (inherited from a Hawk-turned-Tiger Ian Scrimshaw).

    I took note of Craig Considine because, from memory, he was national junior decathlon champion and he was still playing league footy.

    The Considines were Old Paradians. I was puttering away with St Bernard’s athletics teams at the time, so I would have noticed an achievement from an OPs runner.

    At the time, Craig Considine’s achievements in athletics and footy struck me as the most meritorious in Victorian sport. I thought he should have been a national treasure.

  5. pauldaffey says:

    Steve,

    While on former Magpies and Tigers, we should mention the Big Kahuna (although Americanisms like that would have been unthinkable at the time), Dan Minogue.

    Dan left the Pies for Richmond (extremely unthinkable at the time) after returning from World War 1 and coached us to our breakthrough 1920-21 premierships. He also coached Essendon, Fitzroy and Carlton.

    I reckon he’s crying out for a biography.

  6. Ripsnorter says:

    You would need to give the great Peter Mccormack a run at full back at some stage although I think he would rather forget his final game at Victoria Park when he turned out for Fitzroy and BT kicked 6 on him in the first quarter at least they could compare notes on Punt Road as the umpires ran the ball back to the centre square.

  7. Peter McCormack is a very good get.

    Did Wally Lovett play at both clubs?

  8. Jason Feldman says:

    Pretty sure Robbie Powell played reserves at Collingwood before the Tigers picked him up in ’96.

    Played a few handy games before he was shipped of the the Saints a few years later.

    Mark Neeld (Richmond player/Collingwood assistant coach) should be on the coaching staff.

  9. Jason Feldman says:

    I can also recall Michael Lockman playing for both Richmond and Collingwood in the one season. May have been ’86. Pretty sure he played against Richmond at Vic Park when the Tigers were slaughtered by over 100 points.

    David Buttifant played a couple games for the Tigers in our wooden spoon season in ’87. Definitely the front runner for Training Services Manager

  10. pauldaffey says:

    Jason,

    Butters is another Old Paradian. He started out with Collingwood under-19s before ending up at Richmond and playing a couple of games.

  11. Steve Fahey says:

    Possibly my last response on this matter !!

    After some consultation with Stork and Paul in recent days :

    Wes Barrot (brother of Billy) played seniors for both clubs

    Robert Schaefer played in the ones at Richmond and the twos at Collingwood, while Chris Curran did the opposite. Dale McCann played in the two at both clubs.

    The coaching and support staff could be rounded out by :

    Assistant Coach – Danny Frawley -ass’t at the Pies, the main job at Richmond

    Ruck Coach -The Big Monkey (current Tigers ruck coach)

    Recruiting Manager – Greg Beck -played at Collingwood, was recruiting manager at Richmond

    Runners – Matt Ryan (B & F runner-up at the Pies, was runner at Richmond under Plough, may even still be) and Tony Walsh (forward scout at Collingwood in Shaw/Frawley days, went to Richmond with Frawley, then to Bulldogs, currently Saints runner)

    Floreat Pica

    Steve

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