Round 15 – Port Adelaide v Collingwood: Passionate Power proves too plucky for the Pies

If you consider it, the AFL is currently at a cross roads. With all of the shocking current events circulating through the organisation, an emotional and thrilling match was needed to re awaken the sleeping giant that is the keen football viewer.

After last year’s horror mistake with the fixture, a promise for more Thursday night games was motioned and dutifully passed through without so much as a whimper, with the need for more prime time blockbusters being like a drug to many an AFL fan.

The move has finally paid its dividends, with the Power and the Pies playing a high intensity game at a blockbuster time slot in what has been a detrimental few weeks to anyone who is related to the fantastic game of Australian Football.

If this match had been scheduled for just a few weeks ago, then the momentum train of youngsters that is the Collingwood Football Club would have been comfortable favourites in what had been a forgettable year for a Power outfit with lofty expectations. Yet the Pies and their conductor in Nathan Buckley ran into an opposition that had been filled up with pride and passion after the devastating events that have occurred over the past week.

So therefore, the match on a Thursday night at the Adelaide Oval, or the ‘Portress’ as they like to name it over there, had been changed to an even money game, with the resting talent that the Power couldn’t manage to awaken being set to burst out of its bed and take over the match. Fortunately enough for Port Adelaide and football, this happened. Unfortunately enough for Collingwood, this happened.

The Power burst out onto the ground amid no fanfare, with banners and team songs being scrapped like a flashy gadget in the wake of Adelaide football’s darkest day just under a week ago. The Pies followed, with the match getting underway after a heartfelt and tear jerking moment of silence that fuelled the emotions in not just the many thousands at the Adelaide Oval, but the many millions over our great nation.

Port Adelaide burst out of the blocks like Usain Bolt in full flight, as they slammed on four goals before Collingwood could stop and shake their hands to wish them good luck. Robbie Gray, Travis Boak, Justin Westhoff and Chad Wingard formed a deadlier version of the Beatles, as they wowed audiences and blasted the ears of Collingwood with a scintillating start. Gray, Impey, Westhoff and Schulz all cashed in on their superb start, as they kicked themselves out to a lead that proved to be match clinching.

Finally the youthful juggernaut that has been the Pies in 2015 started to get their hands on the shiny and greasy yellow Sherrin, with the elite captain Pendlebury bending through a superb right foot goal to lift his team. Just as they looked like reining in the lead, Wingard produced some magic and made the Magpies look too slow after bringing in Grundy for small defender Williams.

With their main defender in Frost out of the game for 20 minutes with a concussion issue, the Pies set to work on bringing the margin back in the second quarter, with Witts sliding through a vital goal for the lurking Magpies. The ever improving Crisp impressed supporters yet again, as he kicked a goal in what was another fantastic game for the young bulky midfielder.

White then nearly managed to fresh air a soccered goal off the ground in the goal square, as he was lucky to collect the ball on his shin, as the metaphorical scales slowly started to lean towards the team in the black and white.

The difference between the two teams was cut back to a solitary goal, as De Goey was replaced by the returning Frost. Oxley produced his highlight in what was a solid and significant game for the youngster, as his 45 metre banana slid through to level the scores. With the Pies back in the game, they looked all set to carry the momentum into half time, only for the much hated Monfries to slide through a cheeky goal on the edge of the first half.

The low scoring nature of the game wasn’t aided by the tumbling rain at the long break, with the conditions being reduced to hell for many players, as the Sherrin now resembled a bar of soap coated in butter.

Gray managed to slide behind the Pies defenders and push his way to a mark, before going back and cheekily banging a major through without giving the umpires a chance to notice the illegal play involved. The rest of the quarter resulted in scrappy play until the Power dominated the scoreboard at what was the scoring end, with Wingard slotting a second major before the Pies realised they were roughly four goals down. The margin was compounded by some poor play by Adams, who seemed like he wanted to attract some Port Adelaide attention by tangling with Westhoff.

From then on they worked their way back into it again, with the game hanging in the balance with just five minutes left in the third stanza. Fasolo managed to do what he couldn’t in the third quarter against Hawthorn last week, as he banged through a vital goal to reignite the inconsistent Magpies. Varcoe and Elliott then combined for a major that signified Collingwood in 2015, with the desperation and valuable teamwork shining through in what was a wonderful goal.

The last term started and the rain continued to pound down, with Wingard defying the slippery conditions to control a magnificent left foot banana that proved to be a match turner. The first thirteen minutes seemed to prove that the Power were going to hold out and win, with the margin pushing three goals.

Spectacularly, with ten minutes of actual game time left, the Pies completed a third major surge of the match, with De Goey slamming through a goal off the ground to give the Collingwood outfit some hope.

The loudly booed Adams then produced the goal of the match, as he collected a loose ball on the right forward pocket and kicked a wobbly check side mongrel punt that decided to defy the gale force winds to sail through the big sticks. Game on.

Minutes later and the Magpies momentum looked set to capitalize in the lead, with a rushed Pendlebury soccer off the ground twisting on the soaked turf and thudding into the right post, as it was an agonizingly close distance to sliding through and giving the Pies a match winning lead.

Yet the opportunities were wasted and the Power made them pay, as their defence held on and then stole the momentum to steal a three point victory in what was a low scoring yet high quality match.

The Power fans roared and their hopes soared, with the Pies knowing that a third close loss to a high quality team in as many weeks produced both its negatives and positives. At the time though, it was only negatives, as the post-game memorials reminded both sides that in the end, it is only a game of football, albeit a thrilling one.

Port Adelaide 5.3 6.6 8.11 9.12 (66)
Collingwood 1.1 5.5 7.6 9.9 (63)

Goals:
Port Adelaide: Wingard 3, Gray 2, Impey, Schulz, Monfries, Westhoff.
Collingwood: Pendlebury, Witts, Crisp, White, De Goey, Fasolo, Elliott, Adams, Oxley.

Three votes:
1. Sidebottom
2. Westhoff
3. Wingard

Official Attendance: 45,418 at Adelaide Oval.

Comments

  1. Dave Brown says:

    Thanks Sean. Leaves me with two questions:
    1. Why is Monfries disliked?
    2. What is more slippery: a bar of soap covered in butter or a stick of butter covered in soap?

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