Purposeful Pies Pummel Puerile Poultry Portrayers

 

by Steve Fahey

 

josh (slang) n. good natured joke v.t. indulge in ridicule

 

The Pies continued their loss-win sequence (which now stands at L-W-L-W-L-W) with a comfortable win against very ordinary opposition.  Other than a ten minute burst from the Kangas in the second-half of the opening stanza, we controlled this match and won all four quarters for the first time this year

 

As the headline would suggest, this was a night when a lot of the highlights involved Ps, and for me they all came early in the evening.  Before the game, Presti nearly certainly became the first player to have a banner honouring his 201st game, due to last week’s joint Collingwood/Essendon Anzac Day banner.  The old bloke started the game in vintage form.  Indeed the highlight of the night for me was about 15 minutes in, when the scoreboard listed the top ten possession-getters, and there he was, with five possessions.  I briefly pondered a match report headline “Presti Prominent as Purposeful Pies………”  A more lasting memory from the game for most present came shortly after when Petrie kicked a freakish goal for the Roos by volleying the ball from a goal line marking contest. Great stuff.

 

The Pies got off to a flyer, quickly leading by three goals and a few points.  Pendles was again the architect, weaving gracefully as he sized up options not apparent to most.  The strong optimism that I felt was due in equal parts to our good play, especially from the clearances, and North’s comedic defensive efforts.  In the first fifteen minutes, Firrito twice overstepped the line while kicking out, while another kick from defence hit its intended target, running with the flight of the ball, flush on the back of the head.  Classic Three Stooges material.

 

My optimism was disturbed by North kicking four goals in ten minutes to hit the front.  This burst coincided with Josh going off for a spell and Leigh Brown going into the ruck.  While the goals were not directly attributable to Leroy, we lost the clearances, and when a similar burst from North occurred in the second quarter with Josh on the pine, the high risks of playing one ruckman hit home hard.  I had expected us to play another ruckman against North’s quality combination of McIntosh, Hale and Petrie, but noticed that Wood isn’t picked for the twos so must be injured.  We need to continue to cross our fingers and toes that Josh doesn’t get injured (or imprisoned for assaulting Grant Thomas).

 

After losing the lead we steadied, regained the lead by quarter-time, and established ascendancy with an eight-goal second quarter.  It was a free-flowing game with lots of space and less evident defensive pressure than most games involving teams coached by Mick and the Junkyard Dog.  We consequently got the ball in to our forwards more quickly than usual and created many opportunities.  Our ball magnets Swan, Pendles and Leon again led the way.  The late inclusions Corrie and Wellingham both laid claims for retention with impressive form.  Corrie’s goal in the second quarter when he won a one-on-one contest from an unfavourable position, then carried the ball to the 50 metre line and converted, would have won goal of the night more often than not.   It was interesting to see Corrie, in his first senior game for the Pies, repeatedly look inside, into the corridor, for the first option.  He doesn’t appear to have learnt the game plan yet !!!

 

The third quarter saw uninspiring footy from both teams, with North able to get numbers behind the ball and the Pies reverting to laborious circumnavigation of the boundary. Nonetheless we increased our margin.  Tarkyn was outstanding and has an important role as a smart small forward with good attacking instincts, especially spatial awareness, as well as applying great defensive pressure.  We could have done with him forward on Anzac Day, when we went tall and the ball came out far too easily.  The Mop ran into a bit of much needed form by getting his hands on the ball more often than in recent weeks.

 

The last quarter saw some individual brilliance, with Leon unleashing a few tricks from the bag, including a hanger and a goal.  He had twelve last-quarter possessions against the Dons and eight tonight, and his conversion from a flashy and inconsistent forward to a hardworking, fit and brilliant midfielder and forward is a credit both to him and the much-maligned coaching staff. They had a vision for him which not many of us saw, even as late as 2005. Roos youngster Warren also took a fantastic goalsquare mark running with the flight of the ball, identifying himself as a player to watch. 

 

A point of note from the game was the six 50-metre penalties we conceded, two of which resulted in goals, and another should have been converted.  A couple of the decisions were puzzling, but most were right, and represented poor discipline which needs to be remedied quickly.  When you combine the 50 metre penalties with the innumerable (ten ??) out on the fulls, they add up to giving the other team too many unearned opportunities

 

On the related and highly topical matter of the umpiring, it was as it is most weeks.  It had no impact on the result, as it hardly ever does (including Anzac Day), and was confusing to those watching for much of the game.  As Paul pointed out, if you looked at the interpretation of the holding-the-ball rule in this game and compared it to the first quarter of the Round One Hawks/Cats clash (when seven or eight holding the ball decisions were made) you would be forgiven for thinking that the two games are from different codes of footy.  There is a problem, and when Jeff Kennett becomes the voice of the (oppressed?) masses, it highlights that it is a considerable problem.  I don’t blame the umpires, but moreso the number of rule and interpretation changes they are required to apply.  Oh, that and the ridiculous amount of time required to train to bounce the ball instead of hone decision-making skills. 

 

All in all, with Didak, Shaw and Rocca missing, and Medhurst off injured most of the night, as well as niggles to Wellingham, N Brown and Beams, a 52 point win was a solid, if unspectacular performance.  The Roos are ordinary, and have no polish in the midfield without Harvey and Wells.

 

Thus to next week, and the genius scheduling of a Monday night fixture in a normal working week.  While the extra couple of days recovery should benefit the Pies’ injured, Monday night footy should be given the short shift.  I went on Friday night with Paul and TAFKATBM, and between us we usually take six young folk.  It is likely that one of the six will attend the Monday night game.  We are 0-2 in Monday night games, having lost to Freo in 2000 and to the Crows in 2006.

 

Votes for the Horsburgh Medal

 

3 – Pendles

2 – Leon

1 – Tarkyn

 

Apologies to Swan, who was most unlucky to miss out, but four into three doesn’t go.  These four were clearly the best, and they could have gone in any order.

 

The Sam Kekovich Medal goes to Pendles.

 

Cumulative voting:

 

10 – Pendles

5 –  Leon, Tarkyn

4 –  Swan

3 –  Jack Anthony

2 –  O’Bree, Josh, Harry 

1 –  The Mop, Beams, Medhurst 

 

 

 

I have included one of my old Fantastic Footy Flashbacks below. I look forward to Rob’s Haiku, the Danny Roach votes and your contributions.

 

 

Floreat Pica

Steve

 

 

FANTASTIC FOOTY FLASHBACKS

 

1970 – THE PREMIERSHIP CONTENDERS GO HEAD TO HEAD AT VIC PARK

 

Top flag fancies the Pies and the Blues meet at Vic Park.  The Pies become raging favourites to break their 12 – year premiership drought as they destroy the arch-enemy 13.23.101 to 2.12.24.

            The cream on the cake for the Pies’ faithful arrives late in the game when The Sharpshooter (Peter McKenna) dribbles one off the ground to score his ninth, and his 100th for the season.  The fans deliriously pour on to the ground to surround the mop-topped superstar.  Just short of my ninth birthday, I am imbued with the adrenalin-fuelled desire to share the moment on the sacred turf with my black and white family.

My excited brain is immediately confronted by two compelling reasons to not do this.  The first is the strong value of abiding by the law that my parents have successfully passed on to me (with the obvious exception of paying correct admission fees at sporting events).  The second is the large pile of vomit that sits on the ground between my position (standing immediately behind the terrace seating in front of the members’ stand) and the boundary perimeter fence which I need to climb over to enter the arena.

The window of opportunity is brief.  I am torn, agonising over the competing forces.  In the end, the vomit is the most compelling force, and I watch with lingering regret as the invaders slowly leave the field, the players return to their positions and the game recommences.

Sadly, the glory of the day fades into obscurity some weeks later as the footy year again ends in tears, and the drought has another 20 years to go.

Still, what a day that was !!

 

 

 

 

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