Another Cakewalk!

Despite the headline I’m not thinking as far ahead as many in the media. The Mothers’ Day round saw the 4th 50+ points win for the Pies on the trot, and apparently the 1st time since ’97 (according to Radio 774) that we have kicked 150+ in successive weeks. However when I mentioned that to Steve Fahey he was quick to point out we only won 7 games that year.

It was a comprehensive win, with a lot of ball sharing and the continuation of a different style of play (much more handball and going more direct) and a bit of a changing of the guard. My apprehension at seeing Reid, N Brown and Macaffer regularly making up half the back 6 was misplaced as we continued to work the ball well out of defense. I have seen a different side of Reid over the last couple of weeks. Whilst I used to think of him as Ben “rag-doll” Reid due to how easily he often gets brushed aside in contests, this has been countered by some strong marking (a game high 8 marks), good dash and long kicking (sometimes to position).

I have often been amazed and amused by the no. of seagulls at the G during night games, and bemused that it is rarely mentioned by commentators. However things were different last night, both on radio and TV. In fact Malcolm Blight even suggested the Roos looked like seagulls given their very light blue stripes. In fact I thought the Roos looked more like umpires as from the 4th deck of the AFL Members they looked all white. Stretching that just a bit further and given the often confusing umpiring which largely seemed to go against us in the first 3 quarters, one could argue we were playing against the real umpires, 22 umpire impostors, and their pets in the air. Unlike Melbourne who handballed to umpires the night before, we appeared in danger of not touching the Roos for fear of being banned for life!

Enough banter and on to the game. We seemed “on” right from the start. It always appeared a matter of how far. Jolly and Ball (the only 2 Pie debutants this year) are getting better each week. We worked the ball quickly with lots of run and handball and the goals kept coming, pretty consistently all night, except for the 2nd half of the 2nd Q til Dids goaled after the siren. Dawes had a quiet first half but finished the game strongly and his presence seems to give us the confidence to kick to a contest when there is no obvious short option, rather than chip backwards. It also takes the pressure off Cloke. Some of the handball sequences were extremely quick and somewhat risky but generally worked out. One such sequence I do recall was on the MCC wing where Swan had a couple lightening handballs in a chain of about 8 that resulted in Cloke dribbling a goal (not quite as flashy as Leon’s). Straight after this Swan kicked long to the square twice in a row from centre clearances (probably from Ball), the first of which resulted in a goal. Thomas and Johnno continue to have good seasons, with the former having by far his best year and he is a much better player having discovered his left foot. As mentioned by Ramon his lightening handball was amazing, more like an animated scene from Avatar than reality. In fact it even looked better from a distance than on TV.

Whilst the hitouts were about even we dominated the clearances, especially through Ball and Swan. Wood kept almost taking marks, and when he did take one it was given to Dawes (best described as a team mark). His highlight was a 40m knockout into the forward 50 from a centre bounce (memories of Craig McKellar in the early/mid 70’s), and his lowlight was kicking off 1 step into a man at full back when seemingly taking an eternity to decide what to do.

The defensive pressure from the forwards was fantastic again, to such an extent I always felt there was going to be a turnover our way when they chipped it around in their back 50.  Leon was back in some sort of form, Medhurst continues to make the most of his chances and Cloke has had a good last 4-5 weeks. It is hard to see Anthony getting back in just now. In fact our 1st and 3rd (Lockyer) highest goalkickers from last year can’t get a game. I also like to see Didak kicking for goal, even though he kicked 2.4 this week. He’ll kick more than he misses. Sidey was on fire around goal and must have thought he was back in the under 18’s. He and Beams are both guns and are having great 2nd years.

Heath had the ball on a string, and despite 4 or 5 howlers had a good game. Harry seems to be overdoing it a bit lately, trying to out-muscle everyone but not breaking free as he was in the first couple of rounds. Maybe back to some basics for a while. The skipper and Toovey were solid. Being a one-eyed Pies fan, you will note I say little about the opposition.

Looking ahead we have 4 tougher weeks coming up. Amazing to see we play the Dogs yet again in a few weeks. Is that 4 times in about 15 games?

Votes for the Horsburgh were hard to give as it was such an even performance.

3 to Swan. Heaps of stats as usual with lots of good usage and dynamic in the 2nd Q

2 to Ball. He seems to be getting better each week and does all the hard things very well..

1 to Sidey. 5 goals in an even team performance meant he had to sneak in

The Saverio Rocca Medal goes to Swan.

Go Pies!

Paul O’Connell

DANNY ROACH MEDAL

OK the Danny Roach votes are a little more difficult to give now having read Stork’s report where he has justifiably rapt up nearly the entire team after a solid win. In a big win, picking the three worst is always a difficult task as its always going to be a hard call on a couple of players ( maybe we need to give only a 2 & 1 vote in big wins & a 4,3,2 & 1 vote in big losses??).

The way I saw it

3 votes : Cameron Wood – felt a bit sorry for the big fella, just a slow thinker and this gets further highlighted by the fact that Jolly seems pretty switched on. Didn’t do much around the ground and made a few errors so earnt the 3 … to his defence he got a few good taps including the two mentioned in Stork’s report where Swan streamed out of the centre and kicked long.

2 votes: Harry O’Brien – also did some good things (and was possibly injured???) but made a few too many errors for mine. Failed to position himself goalside at stoppages, dropped marks instead of spoiling as third man up and had goals kicked on him again!

1 vote: Nick Maxwell – harsh call I know but didn’t seem to get as much hard ball as usual, as well as someone from the backline had to get them as we still let a few too many goals through! Could really have inserted any player here (except for Luke Rounds who despite a strong vote of confidence from the Floreat Pica faithful failed to gain selection).

I hereby award Cameron Wood the Ben Davies medal. (In honour of a pretty limited player who played for both clubs.)

Wanted to put the umpire who gave the 50m penalty against Heath Shaw in the votes ( I hope it wasn’t the same ump who paid the “team “mark and several dicey free kicks in front of goals) but I’m aware of a new campaign starting tomorrow night regarding supporting umpires so I left it out!

All in all a good win and we will know where we really stand in four weeks time as we face a tough month ahead!

Floreat Pica,

Paul Fahey

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