AFL Round 21: What, me worry? Seems we have nothing to fear

By Suzy Lewis

PESSIMISM:
1 : an inclination to emphasize adverse aspects, conditions, and possibilities or to expect the worst possible outcome
2 a : the doctrine that reality is essentially evil; b : the doctrine that evil overbalances happiness in life

It was a blustery Melbourne day as I walked to the MCG through the Fitzroy Gardens, grappling with the unexpected feeling that I might need to clear the social calendar for some of/much of/the last weekend of September as the Pies had locked in a top 4 berth.  The Piessemist was not with me, as he was attending the Writer’s Festival, therefore challenging the stereotype that the only reading that happens in a Collingwood supporter’s life is when they are read their rights after being nabbed for shoplifting.

Being the daughter of the Piessimist, I spent much of the walk thinking how the Swans would cause an upset, riding on a wave of sentiment (retiring players) and endeavour (still a mathematical chance to make the eight), combined with our ability to lose the matches we are expected to win (insightful as always, Nathan Buckley).  I reflected back to watching the Anzac Day clash on the Queenscliff ferry, and calling for the sacking of Mick Malthouse, questioning the captaincy of Nick Maxwell, and frequently uttering unpublishable phrases about the rest of the team.

Fast forward to 23 August 2009, with various media wags touting us as a smoky to make the Grand Final, and the usually conservative Floreat ‘Pecans’ (nutty bunch) lifting the lid (albeit for only a day or two), and citing comparisons between that champion team of 1990, and the Magpies of today.  Nearing the ‘G, my pessimistic mind wondered “Have we peaked too early like Nicky Webster, or the little fat kid from Hey Dad?”

And so to the first bounce, where the lacklustre weather conditions matched the lacklustre performance of both teams.  Jack Attack kicked the first major of the game and thankfully, the Swans kicked three straight points.  Pendles and Daisy were involved in everything, and Medhurst showed that his stunning form of 2008 was not quite a distant memory (even though he missed a couple).  The netball-esque taps were on show again from the Pies in the first quarter, but they were not coming off as they had in previous weeks, which I interpreted as a bad omen.  Maxwell took one of many diving marks in the back line which was met with cheers from the Magpie faithful, symbolising his rapid rise from public enemy no.1 to favourite son.

Swanny seemed relatively quiet in the first quarter, well held by O’Keefe, and Leroy Brown and Tooooovey showed exactly why they were on the recent Age list of players that supporters love to hate. Neon pinpointed Jack Attack on a good lead where he hit the post.  John Ramsdale, aka the Geography Junkie, remarked “we used to have two Dicks in the team but now there is only one”.  No sooner was I wondering whether I had missed a big news story involving eunuchs than the GJ clarified this by saying we used to have Brad Dick and Dead Eye Dick, John Anthony.

The second quarter was equally unconvincing, with Sydney scoring a goal in the first 51 seconds, care of man mountain Adam Goodes.  Usually when sitting among Collingwood supporters during a home game, the most common sentence I hear is ‘you are a d**khead umpire’, but today it was ‘who is on Goodes?’  Leroy’s clumsy demeanour meant that he was able to deliberately rush through a Swans behind under the guise of unco-ordination, then at the other end, we closed our eyes and prayed as Cloke lined up for goal thanks to a Maxwell tackle.

Cameron Wood showed guts when getting into the contest, while Neon Leon seemed to be everywhere and in all the play.  Wood was penalised for ‘in the back’ when he should have been awarded for courage, and the maggot umpires were at their inconsistent best, but regularly in our favour, so the language in the stands did not turn too blue.  Rhys Shaw showed again that he is flourishing from the move up north and Leroy continued his Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde impersonation.  Josh received a soft free kick near goals and kicked truly, followed by O’Bree hitting the post.  Up until this point, I wondered if I had stumbled into a North Melbourne game the crowd was so quiet.

Beams lined up for a sitter but missed, and Dick took advantage of umpire ‘call play on’ inconsistency by pouncing on a spilt ball to run into an open goal and score truly.  Dick later had a shot on the siren but missed, for the ninth time in total, and the Pies went into the big break 9 points up.

Second half underway and Ben Johnson said ‘get stuffed’ to his critics (including me) by selling the dummy well and kicking to Jack Attack who goaled from 50 metres out.  The sense of urgency was still lacking and I wondered if both teams were tanking.  The Pies seemed to have the motto, ‘let’s not get injured’, while the Swans had Mad Monday on their mind.  Chief maggot Scott McLaren evened up the tiggy touch wood free we got earlier by giving one of equal tigginess to the Swans, allowing Goodes to goal.

And then someone turned on the switch.

Brad ‘my surname has facilitated many a lewd joke this season’ Dick dropped a mark but kicked towards the big sticks from a whopping 65 metes out, shepherded through by someone clever (can’t read my own handwriting there), which rolled through for goal of the day.  The crowd found their voice and the Pies clicked up a gear.  Wellingham tackled well, but did not play like a bloke seeking a place in a finals side and kicked to Wood who goaled, with Jack Attack following up with another soon after.

Rhys Shaw kicked the ball out on the full in their backline, and I wondered if he thought he was playing for Collingwood again.  The Piessemist returned from the Writer’s Festival early (clearly it did not take long to dissect that latest offering from Fevola or his missus), and asked the GJ “are they booing Shaw”, to which he replied “yes”.  The Piessemist, a man of few words, succinct as ever, replied “morons”.  How quickly we forget that Shaw did not want to leave the club and was a good player who just loved a Sunday session too much.  Josh continued to look like a lolloping dinosaur and got most of his stats from frees, but was indeed serviceable and even drew applause from the biggest Fraser Hater, Mrs Geography Junkie.

Beams was fantastic all day, as was Maxwell, who was always hard at it with little regard for his own safety, much like Gavin Brown.  Beams got many a hard ball get and used the ball very well, arguably being the number one tattoo sleeve displayer on the day.  Trav Cloke, who has had better years, took a very good mark and passed on to Tarkyn who drilled it back to Trav, but he missed.  Leigh ‘Dr Jekyl’ Brown swiftly picked up the ball like a man of half his height but a soft free kick to the Swans gave Jesse White a goal.  Despite this, the tide had turned and the feeling was that we had done enough to win the game going into the last quarter.  I was yet not confident enough to call the win, having grown up with the Piessemist and the GJ frequently recounting all the times they ‘saw Collingwood lose from further in front than this’ (the amount of losing Grand Finals they have watched also comes up as a regular dampener should any hint of optimism arise from anyone who was not old enough to go to the footy between 1959 and 1989).

Tooooovey and Josh applied good pressure and were hard at it in the first minutes of the last quarter, while Leon got back into it like a ferret.  I lost concentration for a few minutes after that, but tuned in again to see yet another gutsy Maxwell mark and good chain of play initiated by Leroy.  Daisy dropped a mark he would usually gobble up (along with the chips he spends all his time plugging), but made amends for it not long after with a speccy in the goal square that had his name written all over it and that Blind Freddy could see coming.  Then he shanked it.

Leroy Brown attempted a Neon Leon with a dribbling kick towards goal which would have brought the house down had it rolled through, but alas, like Presti only weeks earlier, we were all left wondering what could have been.

Jack Attack and Swanny scored truly after good passages of play, while Leroy and Harry O got a bit carried away and missed everything.  Jack was back after an up and down couple of months, no doubt his confidence boosted by a thick head of hair courtesy of his relationship with Advanced Hair Studios (true!).  The cry of “percentage, Pies” was echoing around the ground.  Tarkyn hit the post for the fifth time in the game, and Joffa donned the gold jacket at the 25 minute mark, clearly learning the very hard way from the Anzac Day debacle, and exercising a healthier dose of pessimism that all Pies supporters should show.  The Swans goaled after the siren, and we all breathed a sigh of relief that the game was won, over, injury and report free.  The ‘cakewalk’ version of the song was blasted out over the speakers and the players handed out the free footballs to the little kids being hoisted over the fence by overeager, ebay loving parents (only three reported impalings to date).

And so my pessimism was unfounded.  One week out from the finals, locked in the top four, looking good.  What could possibly go wrong now?  And then that infamous trio of H. Shaw, R. Shaw and A. Didak flashed up on the screen, having a post game laugh with a familiar glint in their eyes, and that uneasy feeling returned…

Some final observations/queries:
* Leroy Brown seems to have firmly placed Nathan Brown on the sidelines…
*  Will Rocca return and where?
* A quiet Didak does not equal a Collingwood loss…
* Thank God we signed Beams…
* Imagine if Adam Goodes played for us…
* Who do we boo in the absence of Barry Hall?  It just did not seem right booing Leo Barry…
* Has the removal of Rhys Shaw from Victoria resulted in the taming of Didak?
* Will Bucks seek revenge on Harry O during the succession years for his comments about Maxwell being the best captain ever?
* Is Normie Rowe available for the national anthem this year?

The Andrew Schauble/Barry Mitchell/Mark Orchard Medal goes to the best on ground today.

Go Pies!!!!

Comments

  1. Steve Fahey says:

    In the spirit of Stork’s Pies/Tigers team last week, I put together a team of blokes who have played seniors for both the Swans and the Pies since 1970. It was compiled Friday morning about 4.30 a.m. while watching athletics so is likely to have some omissions !

    B: Rhyce Shaw, Ernie Hug, David Young
    HB : Greg Smith, Andrew Schauble, Shane Morwood
    C : Paul Hawke, Paul Williams, Robert Dean
    HF : Nick Davis, Anthony Rocca, Paul Morwood (so many famous families in this team !!)
    F: Craig Davis, Graham Teasdale (wearing brown velvet dinner suit), Barry Mitchell
    R: Len Thompson, Paul Licuria, Scott Russell
    Inter : Mark Orchard, Robbie Ahmat, Matt Ryan, Jon Hummel
    Emerg : Ben Wilson, Michael Lockman

  2. pauldaffey says:

    Steve,

    That’s an exceptional effort to name all those. The only one I’d add is Billy Picken, who played for the Swans for five minutes in the mid-80s.

    Des Tuddenham played at Collingwood and coached South Melbourne but he never played at the Lake Oval.

  3. Steve Fahey says:

    Good call Paul

    Picken to CHB, Schauble to FB, Hug to Interchange,Hummel to Emerg !!

  4. Ripsnorter says:

    Richard Osborne and Andrew Smith played for both these clubs in the past thirty years, Andrew Ireland, Ricky Barham and Tommy Hafey have all had involvement at both clubs in playing / non-playing capacities as well.

  5. Steve Fahey says:

    Thanks Ripsnorter/Rory

    Good pick-ups. I had forgotten “Pud” Smith played at Sydney. Ossie played at so many clubs one could be forgiven for overlooking him !!

    I also forgot the unforgettable Dermie !

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