AFL Round 22: Pies need to go back to the drawing board

By Tony Scully

Evening, Floreat Picans, or should I say, Mourning?

I went for a long and arduous pushbike ride on Sunday morning. As I struggled into a headwind (I was thinking of the match later in the day to take my mind off the pain) I was swooped by a zealous Magpie. I thought this was a little early in the season for this sort of behavior but I took it as a good omen.

Looking back, I suspect he/she was having difficulty working out whether I was on the same team. As it turned out a few of the Magpies later on had the same difficulty! For the record I was also wearing black and white.

The game began with a lot less excitement than the previous one against the Scrays. None of the fast clean work was to be seen, and, certainly none of the fast clean (7) goals were scored by the Pies as they worked to set up our last scrape home against the Doggies.
It was an absolute arm-wrestle in the first and second quarters. We got one. They replied. We got two. They replied, but always there was the feeling that we were looking down the barrel. The Dogs missed a lot of opportunities early, but we kept hanging in there. I hoped we could turn around the control of the game after half time as we have so many times this season.
I’m not sure there was a turning point in the game, but a pivotal point was when Neon was about to break free on the half forward flank, his arm was held, not in possesion, and he went to ground. The ball rebounded and the Dogs scored (or was that umpire Ray C?). It’s hard to know how serious the interference was but it didn’t look like a dive from where I sat .
After half-time the Dogs delivery by foot was excellent and they were much more effective in close with quick clearing handball. The Pies seemed to panic and over-ran the ball, handballed half-volleys to team mates, and competed against each other in marking contests on the back line, leaving Doggies crumbers to clean up and score. By three-quarter time half of our players seemed gone, unable to keep up the chase. The Dogs ran all over us like excited bull terriers to finish the game off with third pozzie and a crack at the still struggling Cats.

I wonder whether our players were watching the “real-time ladder” on the scoreboard. It just felt like they weren’t playing for the win; it felt like were trying to hold on to third place with percentage.

How important is Pendles to our finals hopes?  I think we saw the answer Sunday night. Sure hands ‘in tight’ were in short supply.Wellingham was unable to replicate his look-alike’s skills ( Is that why Pendles grew the ‘tache). The engine room was ineffective, imprecise, impotent.

C. Wood was no match for the stronger, more aggresive Minson. Leon had a shocker, delivering better passes to their forwards than ours. Dick shrunk in my estimation. Swan has been ordinary for two or three weeks, I suspect he’s carrying an injury. Didak, serviceable by his standards, but indecisive within scoring distance. Unusual. Travis, although double and triple teamed, didn’t make the most of his limited opportunities to score. Two misses from very makeable distance if I’m not mistaken. Plus the one-on-one against Eagleton:  bodied out of a marking opportunity by a bloke half his size,  then left sprawling on the ground as Eagleton created a terrific (soul-destroying) goal. Jack Anthony was better this time around but he’s still struggling to regain the composure from earlier in the season.

The back line wasn’t as tight and supportive as we have grown to expect this season. Maybe it was just the speed with which the Dogs attacked, but our boys looked unwilling to call for the ball. On many occasions we were cornered in the pocket then swamped. I can only think of one player who consistently repulsed attacks and held his direct opponent in check all day:  Heater, who was courageous to the end.

Harry had a dog of a day, so did Presti. Josh put up a fight all day as did Toovey, who was far from our worst. Thomas not dangerous enough. Medhurst will struggle to hold his position on current form. Tarkyn very solid but missed a vital goal. Captain, more errors than in recent memory. Those not mentioned aren’t worth mentioning.

People keep saying it will be a different story at the ‘G. I’m not so sure . They looked like they ran out the game better than us and surely that’s what’s needed on the big stage.

In short the game was poor.

Here’s hoping that confused Magpies can go back to the drawing board and FLOG the Saints this week. I don’t remember ’66 but it doesn’t mean I’m not bitter.

Carn the Mighty Magpies. Bring on the finals.

Yours in hope,

Rub (Tony Scully)

Comments

  1. Steve Fahey says:

    Yes, I took on this challenge last week, wondering whether a Pies/Bulldogs team was possible after the Pies/Tigers and Pies/Swans teams of the past couple of weeks.

    The criteria was playing senior footy at both clubs since 1970

    B: Todd Curley, Jon Ballantyne, Tim Harrington

    HB : Terry “Autumn Leaves ” Wight, Neil Peart, Tyson Lane

    C : Alan Atkinson, Brad Hardie, Josh Mahoney

    HF : Robert Rose, Allan “Butch” Edwards, Richard Osborne

    F : Ian Low, Laurie Sandilands, Darren Collins

    Rucks : “Jumpin'” Jim McAllester, Darren Saunders, Georgie Bissett

    Inter :Brad Fuller

    Special mentions to Tom Davidson and Andy Preston who played at both clubs, but only seniors at one.

    I’m sure that there will be others. Please let us all know.

    Extra special mention to Stork who , after I told him I was doing a team, dragged up a couple of blokes who just missed the 1970 cutoff !!! :

    len murphy 173 games for pies … 25 for dogs. 1928-41
    con mccarthy 129 games for pies … 2 for dogs. 1915-26

  2. Steve Fahey says:

    Coach Bob Rose (of course) Assistant Paul Williams

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