AFL Round 9 – Collingwood v Sydney: Madam, I’m Adam

By Matt O’Connor

 

“Madam, I’m Adam.

And it’s time you caught the early train home.”

Granted, that’s probably not how Sydney Swans superstar Adam Goodes introduced himself to the gormless 13yo girl who racially abused him from the front row on Saturday night. But the man is so goddamn impressive, you wouldn’t put it past him.

Goodes rose above this one-sided romp like a colossus not once, but twice, on a night in which he unintentionally wrested the AFL reconciliation baton from another great indigenous player, Nicky Winmar, 20 years after he lifted his jumper to the Collingwood Social Club.

The stats don’t tell the full story, but they are not a bad place to start. 19 kicks, 11 handballs, 11 marks, 3 tackles, 3 goals 2 behinds. And one eviction.

But to this you must add the powerful, graceful running that has underlined his mighty career, his capacity to inspire through example, his innate sense of occasion. Never mind that this was his 328th game at the age of 33. The Pies had knocked the Cats off top spot last week and were widely tipped to get the job done again in front of a meaty crowd of more than 65,000. Goodes and his merry band of blonde midfielders turned up ready for a showdown, and the result was never in doubt.

Goodes was supposed to be past his best, to be basking in the autumn glow of a second Premiership, putting his feet up and buffing up the Brownlows.

And in truth, he had hardly set the world on fire since the last September Saturday in 2012. Whether it was Indigenous Round or Collingwood at HQ that set him alight, or just that he was “due”, is hard to know. Maybe it was a combination of all three. But whatever the motivation, Goodes jumped onto a floodlit centre stage early in the first term, and departed to a standing ovation just before the final siren, job done.

For most of the first term, the game resembled a contest as both sides threw themselves into an extended bout of British Bulldog. Scott Pendlebury twice broke the lines to set up goals for Jarrod Witts and Travis Cloke, and later in the quarter the Pies picked their way through the battlefield to find Cloke again.

But these were the exceptions. It soon became apparent that the Swans had been doing some early sandbagging with later gains in mind. Goals to Craig Bird and Daniel Hannebery in time-on put them 9 points in front at the first change.

The Goodes train started rolling in earnest during the second term. He ran onto a Mitch Morton pass seven minutes in, and slotted career goal number 400 to stretch the lead to 16 points.

Two minutes later, following a ferocious contest involving several players on Collingwood’s half-forward line, the Swans prised the Sherrin free and swept it to a charging Goodes on the wing. He linked up with Hannebery, who found Ben McGlynn thirty out for another goal. All three had run too hard for their Pie defenders, who had pressed up when the ball was in their forward line.

At the next centre scrimmage, Goodes won the cleanest clearance of a congested day in heavy traffic, and sent the Swans forward in a chain of possessions that ended with Morton outmarking Nick Maxwell. Morton missed the set shot, but the die was well and truly cast.

The Pies were having a stinker by this stage. The worst Swan on the ground was Dane, who was banished to the backline for a brief stint after having no impact in the middle. Maxwell, Harry O’Brien and Jordan Russell took turns in trying to curb Goodes, all to no avail. Quentin Lynch was unsighted on Heath Grundy.

The only straws worth clutching were the stopping jobs on Josh Kennedy and Lewis Jetta by Marley Williams and Brent Macaffer respectively. But the subduing of Kennedy in particular only served to emphasise just how many options the Swans had running through the midfield.

Four goals to one in the third quarter continued the trend. Jetta sailed away from a labouring Maxwell late in the term and bombed a long, straight drop punt to push the margin out to seven goals. My boys and I slumped back in our Southern Stand seats and let the blood-red tide wash over us.

A disturbing element of the night was that the Pies seemed to be having a reasonable dip, but without any discernible impact. This industry continued into the last quarter, and we managed to eke out four goals, including a couple to Jamie Elliott who had kept on the job for most of the game.

Goodes worked deep into defence as the night grew colder, and found himself hard up against the boundary line after another effective clearance. From our centre-wing vantage point, I saw him point at the front row, and knew instantly why. After the barbs he has copped over his career, he is not a man to bridle at stock standard, non-racial abuse.

After identifying the culprit, he took his leave. Later, he did not try and conceal the hurt he had endured, but he was also quick to point to the girl’s callowness and call for perspective.

It was another class act from a man who couldn’t help putting his stamp on the night – whether he wanted to or not. In time, his actions will hopefully come to be viewed as one of the last lessions needed for AFL crowds that have come a long way in the last 20 years (admittedly from a low base).

Outside the ground, we broke with tradition and bought “victory” donuts after a loss. They were hot, white and red, just like you-know-who.

COLLINGWOOD                3.2          3.4          4.5          8.7 (55)
SYDNEY                                               4.5          7.9          11.11     15.12 (102)

 

GOALS: Collingwood: Cloke 3, Elliott 2, Witts, Dwyer, Seedsman.  Sydney: Goodes 3, Pyke 2, McGlynn 2, Hannebery 2, Reid, Bird, Morton, Jetta, Jack, Bolton.

 

BEST: Collingwood: Pendlebury, Macaffer, Sidebottom, Seedsman. Sydney: Goodes, Hannebery, Grundy, O’Keeffe, Jack, McGlynn, McVeigh, Malceski.

 

Umpires: Margetts, Nicholls, Meredith

 

Crowd: 65,306 at MCG

 

Malarkey Medal: Goodes (Syd) 3, Hannebery (Syd) 2, Grundy (Syd) 1.

 

Comments

  1. David Downer says:

    Eloquent summation of Goodes, MOC.

    And “worst Swan on the ground was Dane” – swishhhhhhh.

    Any thoughts on today’s bewildering post-post-script?

    I could taste those donuts too.

  2. Good writing here. Thank you for that alone.
    Don’t quite agree about Dane’s summation. Its his 5th game off the rookie list and coming in for LRT. He usually plays in the back line anyway.

    As the for rest of it. Well if any of us has not indulged in casual racism (wonderful Harry O, kudos) it would be a marvel. I do however vow to hold my tongue first and rearrange my thoughts next. I had no idea. Many of us haven’t. Now I do and I can do something about it, one day at a time.

  3. Primmy, I think he was referring to the B&W Dane, not the R&W Dane!!

    Nice write up Matt!!

  4. Ruck Rover says:

    Nice work.

  5. Rogueswan says:

    “The worst Swan on the ground was Dane, who was banished to the backline for a brief stint after having no impact in the middle. ”

    ScottH, I am pretty sure Prim’s is right. He is talking about young Rampe. I don’t think he was disgraced on the night though.

  6. Lovely stuff, MOC. Puns abounded, and that’s always going to get me in!

  7. Thanks all, for your comments.

    Primmy – ScottH is right. I was referring to Collingwood’s Dane, who is currently in a rare form slump. But he’ll come good.

    For the record, I think Dane Rampe is a ripper, and had another excellent game on Friday night.

    DD – this article was completed before I heard Eddie’s gigantic gaffe. I still can’t get my head around it! I actually do put some stock in his semi-justification that he was tired. I’ve always thought that he has spread himself to thin, and that he should give away at least half of the unnecessary media roles he has committed himself to. Once in a while, he needs to pull back from full throttle.

  8. David Downer says:

    MOC,

    I think Carla would concur with your thoughts…

  9. Tasman Hughes says:

    It seemed like Dane Swan couldn’t do anything right. Definitely the worst Swan on the ground. The rest were brilliant, and I was impressed with Dane Ramp.

    Great article.

  10. Tasman Hughes says:

    Sorry, that was supposed to be “Rampe”.

  11. Keiran Croker says:

    Great write up. Beautifully summed up. Well done!

Leave a Comment

*