written by Steve Fahey for the Floreat Pica Society
Mid Saturday afternoon I fell asleep on the couch after a tiring week. I had a really weird dream. At least I think it was a dream, because while some parts seemed fantastically impossible, others seemed very real.
I was watching the Pies play. It must have been the late 1990s because there were lots of young blokes playing who would hardly be recognised walking down Smith Street, alongside a handful who seemed to know the ropes.
The really ridiculous parts of the dream were the team we were playing, the venue, the timeslot and a bloke playing for the opposition. The team called the Giants was wearing orange, black and white – as if an AFL team would ever wear orange (or would list their black as charcoal) ! And the game was being played at 4.40, a timeslot a bit like John Arlott’s famous comment about Kiwi medium-pacer Bob Cunis’ bowling “It’s a bit like his name—neither one thing nor the other.” The game was being played at a ground which seemed to have been built in the middle of nowhere. And finally, the captain of the team playing in the orange carried the name of one of the Pies’ most famous families and waddled like a duck. I must have been running a serious temperature !
Anyway, when the game started, the orange team, which was also really young, seemed much more desperate, ran harder and linked better. In slippery conditions, the black and white blokes were masterful at half metre handballs to blokes who fumbled and then dropped the ball. A hipster-looking bloke called Broomhead kicked a clever crumbing goal, enlivening an otherwise bleak opening quarter. The Giants did have one giant who was providing lots of opportunities for their midfielders, despite the efforts of one bloke who looked like a ninja and another bloke who was massive but turned like the QE2.
Things were going from bad to worse for the Pies in the second quarter. When the bloke who waddled like a duck pulled off a great late smother I had a sharp sense of déjà vu but couldn’t place it in that outfit. The Giants were peppering the goals, and got out to lead by nearly four goals. Our bloke kicking the ball in seemed to think he had to kick it to their giant and some bloke who looked older but was called Young limped off with the rare distinction of having more clangers (three) than disposals (two). Ironically the game changed just after he limped off when a really desperate looking bloke came on playing like he thought he might never get to play again. His enthusiasm appeared infectious and when the hipster-looking guy and a really short bloke with a disgraceful curly fringed haircut kicked goals we were only a goal behind.
Pies were going down injured everywhere –a bloke who also waddled and was covered with tattoos and a bloke whose job appeared to be to stop the orange waddler from getting the ball also had to go off. A short tough-looking left-footed bloke with lots of tattoos, the captain (who looked like he was playing in a different time zone to everyone else) and another bloke with a terrible haircut called Thomas were getting lots of the ball, but we were finding it hard to score and the blokes wearing green seemed to think you could hold the captain and throw him on the ground anytime at all. The commentators were also annoying me – they seemed to really want the orange team to have “an historic victory”, because they said it frequently. We seemed to be always trying to catch up, but were never quite able to do so.
The black and whites looked exhausted in the last quarter but kept at it. The coach put the Ninja guy and the QE2 guy in tandem around the ground, which seemed to work to reduce the impact of the giant Giant. The Pies were playing at fever-pitch intensity, with a smiling bloke, the captain, the bloke who looked like he might never get to play again and the really short bloke with the disgraceful haircut leading the way. Even the commentators and the green blokes now had changed their tune and seemed to be willing us to find a way to win. How fickle. A dashing goal to a blond defender was eventually countered by a brilliant goal by a hyphenated Giant. When bad haircut bloke Thomas kicked his third we hit the front for the first time deep into the last quarter. When the smiling bloke kicked another one, we were home.
The black and whites had prevailed in the face of adversity and the players sang the song with gusto, while simultaneously trying to drown a fresh-faced bloke in the middle with coloured drinks. It was a great dream and I hope I have a similar one next weekend.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 3.4 6.6 8.11 9.13 (67)
COLLINGWOOD 2.3 5.5 7.7 11.9 (75)
Greater Western Sydney: Smith 2, Boyd, Hunt, Palmer, Whiley, Bugg, Greene, Hoskin-Elliott
Collingwood: Thomas 3, White 2, Broomhead 2, Williams, Blair, Sinclair, Sidebottom
Greater Western Sydney: Greene, Kelly, Mumford, Smith, Shiel, Treloar
Collingwood: Pendlebury, Thomas, Blair, Broomhead, Williams,,Ball
Umpires: Donlon, Fisher, Hosking
Our Votes: 3 Pendlebury (C) Greene (GWS) Kelly (GWS)