AFLW Round 6 – Collingwood v GWS: Collingwood had Hope
Collingwood v GWS
11.05 am, Sunday 12 March
Olympic Park, Melbourne
This week the Giants are back in Melbourne to take on Collingwood at the Olympic Park oval that is nestled between AAMI Park and Collingwood’s headquarters. The Giants won their first game last week but the Pies are favourites today, having recently found form and won their past two games.
As I headed to the station, a magpie eyed me off suspiciously as it sat within arm’s reach on a cyclone wire fence. I dismissed any thought of omens as the magpie warbled tauntingly as I walked away. But when I got to Olympic Park after an uneventful train ride, a portent arrived in the form of few bolts of lightning from the clouds in the distance that were followed by a deep rumbling from the clouds.
Nevertheless, I was optimistic as I found a spot on the fence on the eastern wing of the ground where there was a concentration of people in orange caps, t-shirts, footy jumpers and – inexplicably on a warm Melbourne day – scarves. The Giants got a great reception from the crowd behind me but the ground organisers didn’t see fit to play all of the club song, cutting it short before Collingwood came onto the ground.
The first quarter was played all in Collingwood’s half of the ground, and this set the scene for the rest of the game with Collingwood overwhelmingly winning the inside 50 count. The Pies’ efforts were rewarded with goals from Cameron and Edwards, both from beautiful kicks. The Giants seemed panicked under pressure and had trouble building a chain of possessions. The score line could have been a lot worse but Collingwood’s inaccuracy meant that they added only three behinds to the score by quarter time.
After the break the Giants lifted and were able to kick an early goal through McWilliams. The Giants played with more purpose but were unlucky when, as they were seemingly about to open up play for a rare push forward, they were thwarted by a field umpire who blocked Schmidt’s attack on the ball. The Giants’ defence held Collingwood goalless until just before half time when Garner kicked a goal for Collingwood after a beautiful set up by Hope who has now found her feet in the competition and poses a danger to opposition sides.
As with the other AFLW games I’ve been to, the crowd is peppered with groups of supporters who are friends or family of one of the players. They come dressed in team colours and carry home-made signs to show the world how proud they are. To the left of me were three generations of a family all decked out in black and white and cheering Alicia Eva’s every move. To the right of me was a relative of Louse Stephenson who happily admits to not knowing much about footy, but is nevertheless wearing orange to show her support for the Giants. This support reflects how important the AFLW is in effecting cultural change. Unlike the men’s competition, women have not been able to take opportunities to play elite-level sport for granted. All types of women’s sport have benefitted and important discussions are getting louder and more frequent.
Beeson kicked an early goal for the Giants early in the third quarter, but Collingwood dominated the play and could have given their percentage a valuable boost with the second spot in the grand final up for grabs. Instead, they kicked inaccurately, adding one goal and seven points for the quarter. Fortunately, this inaccuracy saved the crowd from the pointless burst of sadly outdated pop music after each Collingwood goal. This is not basketball. Footy crowds are quite capable of creating atmosphere at a game, and we certainly don’t need to endure some ageing marketer’s vision of a match day experience and poor taste in music.
The fourth quarter was all Collingwood with three goals to the Pies and one to the Giants through McWilliams. The Giants must regroup to take on the Bulldogs at home next Saturday night and hopefully finish off the season with a win.
Collingwood 2.3 3.4 4.11 7.13 (55)
GWS 0.0 1.1 2.1 3.1 (19)
Collingwood: Hope 2, Bernardi, Casey, Cameron, Edwards, Garner
GWS: McWilliams 2, Beeson
Collingwood: Garner, Bonnici, Eva, King, Chiocci, Cameron
GWS: Barr, Dal Pos, McWilliams, Swanson
Umpires: Burns, Guy, Bryce
Votes: 3 Garner (Collingwood), 2 Bonnici (Collingwood), 1 Barr (GWS)