A beautiful, warm Autumn day and we’re off to the footy for the first time this season. Thankfully no BT and Luke Darcy tonight. Oldest son Gavin and I have got a lift with Ian ‘Bidge’ Boyd and his wife Barb. I’ve been to many games over the years with them starting from my early teens, and would never have been to an AFL game at Victoria Park, let alone the several that I did, if it wasn’t for them. I’m forever grateful. Bidge, a Weerite beef farmer, is a multiple premiership winning, 400 plus game life member of the Pomborneit Cricket Club but these days is better known as a singer/songwriter on the Australian country music circuit. He has released three albums and has reached number one on country music charts in places as diverse as Norway, Slovakia and Sweden. But footy is the conversation topic on the way to Melbourne.
Gavin and I find our seats in the second row of the top tier of the Olympic Stand. Bidge and Barb make their way to the Great Southern Stand. Wherever you were sitting Collingwood’s first quarter was terrible. Poor disposal and decision making by the Pies. Geelong miss several shots they should have nailed and could well have buried us by quarter time. Only 19 points down at the main break but we haven’t kicked a goal. Goalless first quarters, a trend I’ve noticed since St Kilda’s goalless first term in the 2010 Grand Final replay, means that team pretty much never win.
Half time and scores are level. Jamie Elliot has taken mark of the year for the second year running. Sidebottom was superb and Macaffer is doing the job on Johnson. All Geelong players look the same when looking through black and white eyes, but Guthrie has stood out and Selwood is as classy as ever. The Cats are sharing their goals. Frost has Hawkins well under wrap.
Geelong are the better team in the 3rd term but again fail to put us away when kicking to the Punt Rd end. 3.5 to 2.2 for the quarter. Cloke is being swarmed by Cats and misses a couple of frees he really should have got. This upsets me and the rest of the Collingwood faithful in attendance. Our disposal continues to be terrible. By foot and by hand. How can full time professional footballers miss targets by hand? How can a soft drink for Gavin cost 5 bucks? What do you call out when Lumumba has the ball? By habit it’s still ‘Go Harry’.
Collingwood start the last quarter 9 points down. Despite a two goal burst from Elliot, the Pies always look being a goal or two behind Geelong, reminiscent of the 2007 Preliminary Final. And that’s how it ends, an 11 point loss. The effort and determination by our players is great. Our skills and disposal are woeful. Apart from when Pendles has the ball, and to a lesser extent Sidebottom, the kicking, handballing and decision making was poor. Elliot was the only player to give us any confidence when lining up for goal. Cloke continues to be monstered by multiple Cat’s defenders but then drops a chest mark inside 50. But how can Cloke be double teamed then when the ball goes up the other end Frost is one out with Hawkins? Where do those extra players go? Only just over 63,000 at the game, a much smaller crowd than this contest usually gets.
We are badly missing the pace, skill and good defence of Marley Williams and Paul Seedsman. And Williams’ future is clouded. Ben Reid is as important as any player on the Magpie list. We need him back ASAP.
The trip home is quiet. We diseccted the game on the way back to the car. We all just listen to the SEN after game coverage.
I finish writing this while watching my EPL team Newcastle United go down 4-0 to Manchester United. But this is just the start of a tough week. Colac is full of bloody Geelong supporters. More Geelong than Geelong. The guy I buy the newspapers from every day. Geelong. My Aunty. Geelong. My only employee. Geelong. A fair percentage of my cricket mates. Geelong. My Mum. Geelong. Once upon a time I could have found refuge in Melbourne’s Northern suburbs from all this. But apparently that area is rife with Geelong supporters these days too. Almanacker Geelong supporters. Well done. Enjoy it.
Geelong 3.5 6.7 9.12 12.15 (87) def.
Collingwood 0.4 6.7 8.9 11.10 (76)
Geelong: Hawkins 4, Varcoe, Horlin-Smith, Murdoch, Johnson, Guthrie, Mackie, Stokes, McIntosh
Collingwood: Elliot 5, White 2, Blair, Toovey, Goldsack, Sidebottom
Geelong: Selwood, McIntosh, Lonergan, Guthrie, Duncan
Collingwood: Elliot, Sidebottom, Macaffer, Maxwell, Pendlebury, Lumumba
Umpires: Donlan, Hay, McInerny
Crowd: 63,152 at the MCG