AFLW Round 6 – Collingwood v GWS: Not a good morning for the Giants
Collingwood versus Greater Western Sydney
11.05am, Sunday 12 March 2017
Olympic Park Oval, Melbourne
There were a lot of things that I didn’t enjoy about this game.
Firstly, since when has 11.05am been a reasonable time to start a game of football? Well, maybe at junior level it’s OK, but at the top level in the country it’s a bit weird. It shows that the AFLW was a bit of an afterthought for broadcasters – wedged in at unusual times in order to fit around the men’s JLT series (which started on TV after this game). But I shouldn’t complain too much. Dockers fans had to watch their team play at 3.05pm WST on a Friday, one week after watching their team play at 10am WST on a Saturday. Hopefully the fixture next season is a bit more reasonable.
Also, the venue left a little bit to be desired. Olympic Park is far from the old days as an athletic track and home of the Melbourne Storm. It is definitely a training venue and is not made for fans. There’s no seating for fans apart from a hill, and that hill has concrete steps on it which resulted in a few hundred cases of that well known affliction “numb bum”. On that hill there are light posts which block views – no, not the big lights that light up the field, but smaller ones which I assume are to light the path around the ground. The only food and drink available was from food vans which had sold out of all drinks by the end of the game. Of course, the reason for that was because it was a very warm day with no shade. Some smart people who had planned for the showers that were predicted by the Bureau of Meteorology were able to use umbrellas for shade!
With a running track separating the fence from the field, when the play was on the opposite wing it felt that it may as well have been miles away, so you look for a replay screen which… wasn’t there. I’ve become so accustomed to watching footy in magnificent comfortable stadiums with big colour TV screens that I forgot to do what I would do at a country game – bring the binoculars.
I probably would have ignored all of these negatives but my team, the Giants, had an ordinary day. While they didn’t score in the first quarter they were only two goals behind and an early goal to McWilliams in the 2nd quarter put them right back in the game. It was only two and a bit goals apart at the half time break, but Collingwood put the foot on the accelerator in the third quarter. If not for their inaccuracy (1.7 in the third quarter) the margin could have been even greater. Unfortunately for us, the Pies regained their accuracy in the final term (3.1 to 1.0) to blow the Giants away.
Some players were particularly noticeable on the day. The first was Steph Chiocci. I couldn’t miss her. You see, I was sitting next to someone who must have been a friend or family. In between trying to wrangle her kids who repeatedly hit me with their Collingwood scarf (only sometimes accidentally…) she would scream “GO STEPH!” “GO STEFFI!!!” and give me tremendous greasy looks when a free would go against the Magpies and I’d say “good decision”. Chiocci through no fault of her own quickly became my most hated Collingwood player because every time she touched the ball, or even got near the ball, my ears took a battering, and she got near the ball a LOT.
Moana Hope, despite not getting off to a great start in the AFLW, seemed to find her form again (benefitting from plenty of delivery, of course). The crowd lifted every time she got close to the ball and roared for her two goals. It was nice to see her deliver something similar to her performances for the Bulldogs in the exhibition games and the Sharks in the VWFL.
Helmeted Brittany Bonnici was noticeable for her headgear, her tackling and getting plenty of touches of the footy. Emma King was one of the first players I’ve seen match Erin McKinnon in the ruck and she was a key reason why Collingwood got their hands on the ball first. For the Giants, Jessica Dal Pos was probably their best, and Phoebe McWilliams kicked two goals from limited opportunity including a great set shot from a tight angle in the final quarter.
But, even though there were some reasons why it might not have been a cracking day out for the Giants, it was heartwarming to see the hundreds of people hanging around after the game, and the effort by the Pies (and a couple of Giants) to stay and sign autographs. The Giants girls were obviously disappointed by their performance so it was great that they made time for their fans. Here’s hoping their next visit to Melbourne, in 2018, is a more pleasant experience which nets the club four points.
And hopefully that game starts at a more reasonable hour…
COLLINGWOOD 2.3 3.4 4.11 7.13 (55)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 0.0 1.1 2.1 3.1 (19)
Collingwood: Hope 2, Cameron, Edwards, Garner, Casey, Bernardi
Greater Western Sydney: McWilliams 2, Beeson
Collingwood: Bonnici, King, Hope
Greater Western Sydney: Dal Pos, McWilliams
Umpires: Burns, Guy, Bryce Estimated crowd: 2700
Our Votes: 3. Bonnici 2. King 1. Hope