AFL Preliminary Finals – Sydney v Collingwood (Floreat Pica Society): And now, the end is here

Dear Floreat Picans,

Well, despite my doubts last night, the sun did come up in Sydney town this morning. And here I sit in the Virgin Club lounge sadly punching out the final match report for the season.

As I walked into the lounge I was confronted by a sea of black and white CGU/Westpac polo shirts, as the Pies entourage were all licking their wounds and awaiting the midday departure of DJ841. As expected, it was an eerie and flat feeling and I decided to respect their space and didn’t interrupt their “footy grieving”.

With the pain and misery of the game last night, and Steve’s accurate assessment in the DRs (and a pretty good article by Peter Lalor in the Australian) I decided to try to have a bit of fun with the report in an Austen Tayshus meets Where’s Wally (well he does where a Swan’s beanie) attempt at “find the Sydney suburb”. And sorry, Steve, I just couldn’t find a way to fit McDonaldtown railway station in the report, but I’m sure you can find a way.

Go Pies.

Floreat Pica Society – 2012 Preliminary Final Match Report

And now, the end is near,,,,,, and so I face the final curtain.” Sid Vicious –My Way, 1978.

As soon as the final siren sounded on that dark Qualifying Final night two weeks ago, Sid’s punk version of Franky’s My Way hit me as we entered knock-out final territory. Since then, Sid’s haunting earworm has been with me as a sort of Mascot through the finals series.

So “Sid-an-I” ventured to Sydney for the big Prelim Final at ANZ Stadium, a happy hunting ground in recent years.

Prelims bring back some great memories. The Pies in 2010 played the greatest 2 ½ quarters of footy that I’ve ever seen on the way to the glorious premiership prize. Of the other Prelim wins, all offered joy and hope that was ultimately unrewarded. Back in the Final Five days where 2nd and 3rd battled it out we watched Hafey’s Heroes fight their bloody guts out and saw herculean performances from the likes of Billy, Moorey, Strop, The Hulk and Daics.

I still recall the 1981 Prelim as one of the greatest games and feelings of all time. The Hulk’s brute strength and skill, Billy being Billy and DAICS! The second greatest goal of all time and an unintentionally ostentatious display from a 20 year old superstar that was only surpassed by his magical moment in the drawn 1990 QF as a wily old wizard. Deep into the last quarter and the Pies behind by a kick, he marked on HFF, played on, handballed over Nankervis, ran around him, put the foot on the gas, pounced onto the bouncing ball, steadied and slotted the match-winner. Sid’s version of My Way did include the lyrics, “I killed a Cat” and we did that in three great Prelims of 81, 80 and 2010. In more recent times, Big Ant’s 70 metre bomb goal in the 3rd quarter against the Crows in ‘02 blew the roof off the MCG and last year a snap goal from our favourite adopted son, Luke Ball, lifted us into the Grannie to bring a hopeful smile to the dial.

But enough of the good old days, here we were, my imaginary mascot Sid-an-I, on new ground in our first interstate Prelim Final. Sid-an-I Harbour no grudges about playing an interstate final. Sure I missed the local Melbourne media build up, such as the SEN crew and Bondi on 3AW, but given our recent record on the road and the upheaval of the past 2 weeks we’re happy to be out of Melbourne for the game. Compared to their comfort zone at the SCG, ANZ Stadium is a big ground and there’s nowhere to Hyde on that Park.

In the lead up to the game all eyes were on Alan Didak, Willoughby or won’t he be in the team? Sadly, I received the text message from my bro on Thursday night that Dids was out and Sinkers was in.

I take up my seat with the Fab Four Floreat Picans in the forward pocket at the cheersquad end. Elliott is the sub and we line up in a fairly conventional way. The Swans look sharp early and like a spray tan at the Mardi Gras, they were all over us. Mardi Mattner, still relishing his transfer from the Crows’ Nest, along with the bearded Rhycey and Malceski were terrorising us down back and rebounding everything. The Swannies got out to an early break, were clean with their skills and showing much more run than us. It looks like our 6 day break and their week off was going to be a significant factor in the game. And as usual, the muppets in green weren’t helping with a 5 nil free kick count including the crucifixion of Pendles for a Swans goal. Obviously stung by their joint lead in the Danny Roach Medal, Dawes then Cloke kicked our two goals for the quarter to keep us in touch.

We open up the second quarter with some 2010’esque patient chipping around the outer boundary, ending up with Clokey’s second goal from a Goldie handball and back to 14 points. Clokey had another chance from about 65 and kicked a Long Point with a mighty effort that just went the wrong side of the post, despite my calls of Curl Curl. It was just the start that I hoped might lift us back into the game, but the Swans hit back with winning all the contested footy and clearances putting our backline under pressure.

The backs were standing up well under pressure and our backline coach Ben Hart must have been feeling proud of his charges. I LeicHardt, but I wondered why he was letting the Swans get away with the LRT match-up on Ben Reid and dragging him back to full back. After our early goal, the rest of the quarter was a slog. The Swans tightened up around goal with plenty of points, and their two goals came after two holding the ball decisions were not paid our way – fair dinkum, Jack did a 720 degree pirouette in a tackle that was worthy of being on the Opera House stage, but it appears that the rule had changed interpretation at quarter time and the Pendles’ precedent was struck from the books. Both Shaws were getting plenty of the ball, but the Northern Shore (Rhyce) and his teammates were doing more damage. The only Pies highlight for the quarter was a great Ryde by Ben Reid for the mark of the day.

Half time and we’re 27 points down and it wasn’t looking good. And speaking of not looking good, or sounding good, the brains trust at ANZ Stadium decide to play the YMCA by the Village People over the PA system!!!! And, to add further to my discombobulated state at this historical AFL moment, the Sydney crowd all join in singing and dancing!! The texts were flying to mates Dee, Pete, Al, Bro and co and all I could ask was, “Dee, Why???? Why oh why would you inflict this on us at a game of bloody footy?!”. If only Sid Vicious was really here with me in person and not just as my imaginary friend!

The third quarter was much like the second, but sadly without the early Pies goal. Soundly beaten around the packs and butchering our chances when we had them. A dropped Goldie chest-mark and a Tooves soccer goal off the knee get’s the video referral system, but unlike last week they made the correct decision with the technology. The Swans are running hot with dodgers and Weavers like Jetta, Kennedy, O’Keefe and Hannebery getting them out to a 42 point lead and we now had Seven Hills to get over to be back in the game. Their pace and skill is leaving us for dead. All looked lost until late in the quarter, two of the Pies Rat Pack, Tazz and Swanny kick late goals to bring the margin back to 5 goals at ¾ time.

Thankfully the PA controller spared us any further Village People renditions at the final break and we could discuss our chances without our ears bleeding or the fear of glitter being thrown over us. The feeling was that it was a longshot and against all the run of play, but if we got the first goal we might put a scare in the camp Swans and be a sneaky chance.

Early in the last, Daisy foils a Swans goal with a great spoil in the goalsquare. A Beams clearance finds Cloke on F50 who kicks long and straight for his third goal for the night and its back to 25 points. All of a sudden we’ve got momentum and a Pendles’ pass to Goldie produces another goal and we Bridge the gap to only 20 points. We’re getting on top and we are looking dangerous, but as quick as it came, it then disappeared. A Harry howler, out on the full, right in front of us signalled the end. Shortly after, Big Mummy marked and goaled and our season was on the Rocks. They kicked a couple more and then we kicked a few junk time consolation goals through Johnno, Beams (with a brilliant left foot snap) and Fazz goaling after a Gilead and strong mark.

In the end, Sid-an-I thought it was a (Johnny) Rotten end to a Rotten season and if I was a Richmond member I might be debating Wedderburn my membership or not. But I Willmott let this defeat bring me down to that level. After a Stormy season from hell the Pies’ 2012 really put in a Manly effort. Injuries, contractual disruptions, ex-coach ego-maniac media ramblings and the recent tragic passing of a mate all combined for difficult induction for our new coach. But through the adversity, our coach crossed a line that only Kings Cross and led our club with distinction – and he did it His Way!!

The Horsborough Medal Votes
The “Here Comes Billy” Picken Medal goes to the best Pies player of the night, and I gotta tell ya, it wasn’t an easy choice as there weren’t a lot of highlights, nor many consistent four quarter performances. But here’s a few candidates in no particular order;

• Tazz – kept Ben’s brother very quiet especially given the amount of inside 50s and midfield clearances they had. Can hold his head high in his final game of an entertaining career.
• Heater – when things were crook in the first half, he got himself into plenty of contests and provided plenty of run and carry.
• Reid and Brown – tried hard down back and under extreme heat.
• Pendles – despite the nail wounds in his palms from the first quarter crucifixion, was probably our best midfielder albeit not as damaging as he can be.
• Daisy – Lifted intensity significantly in the second half, effort was good but not quite the polish and impact we needed.
• Harry – Tried to give us some run from half back and a couple of these help set up goals.
• Beamer and Swanny – had their moments but unfortunately didn’t have the same impact as their opponents
• Jolly – battled manfully in the ruck again against the odds. As an aside, all year he’s seemed to struggle with his leap, and by some sort of resurrection miracle, late in the last quarter at a centre bounce his leap returned like the good old days. Let’s hope it’s the shape of things to come for 2013.

Floreat Pica, with proud but heavy heart.

PS. To find all the sneaky Sydney suburb names, click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Sydney_suburbs .

Also note, ironically after season he had, The Beast kicked 1 goal straight and thus, didn’t allow me to use “Dawes Point” in the commentary! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawes_Point,_New_South_Wales

About Ramon Dobb

A footy and cricket fanatic. A lifelong passionate one eyed Mighty Magpie fanatic. My writing is unashamedly written with one black & white eye open only - so please don't take offence, it's nothing personal, it's just the black & white way! Also a lifelong player and member of Washington Park Cricket Club, the Mighty Sharks. My 15 minutes of fame includes regular contributions to Hot Pies, the 1999-2004 Fanzine, and regular contributor to the Coodabeen Champions weekly competition from their heady 3RRR days. Go Pies and Floreat Pica.

Comments

  1. Rocket Nguyen says:

    Always good for football when both Collingwood and Manly get beaten…
    even more on the same night in a preliminary final!

    And Dee Why is on the northern beaches… clearly not tuned into the Sea Eagles.

    Contrary to what Swans chairman Dick Colless says, rugby league is not massive in Sydney. It is not as all encompassing as footy is in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, and Hobart. Is it the nature of the game? A Ph D thesis there.

    For people on the North Shore: Where’s my team?

  2. Ken Richards says:

    Sorry to see Sydney in the GF. We deserve better than the scraggy, scrummy mess they turn our great game into. The injustice is only magnified by the fact of the two teams playing scintillating, heart palpitating footy at the G tonight, only one will play off for the grand prize. It’s with a heavy heart that I wish the Hawthorn team to grind the abomination that is the Sydney style into the dust, and crush the life out of it so that it never returns. With the purple monster rising in the west we need real footy to prevail more than ever.
    (the only memorable thing about Friday’s game was Jetta’s try. And he ran too far 3 times doing it!

  3. Who gives a rats. Tonight’s game satisfied some bookie somewhere and and anyone who plays that game accepts the crumbs of that patronage. Do not barrack for either team in this prelim but a disgusting display by umpires (why do they wear ear pieces?). Why is it that one team can thump, have their runner run across the mark, be caught holding the ball, can push players in the back, and play ‘unsociably’ and accept that the other team is not allowed the same privilege?
    Just as well it is not a volunteer supported, under 9’s comp.

  4. And I am speaking of the Crows Vs Hawthorn game.

  5. Vigorously agree.The runner incident was worth a 50.Give the kick to Tippett or Walker and there’s the game.Hawthorn have only a nugatory victory to celebrate.Unless you win where both sides have the same standard of officiating applied to their play,it’s pretty hollow.And as for celebrating Rioli’s brilliance,would it be as brilliant if the Hawks had lost?

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