Round 4 – Collingwood v St Kilda: Man Bun v Man Bun; just who were the Easter Bunnies? (Floreat Pica Society)

St Kilda v Collingwood, Round 4

Man Bun vs Man Bun; just who were the Easter Bunnies?

 

 

I love AFL footy, I love watching Collingwood, I love going and watching our home games at our home ground, the MCG. I love the contest, free flowing fast football with high marks, daring, passion, energy, long direct kicks, short kicks too, sharp creative handballing, creativity and goal scoring; ain’t it grand. I don’t particularly like soccer. I don’t dislike soccer and have nothing particularly against soccer and I might even watch a couple of games a year. Soccer for me is neither here nor there. Etihad Stadium is a good ground to watch soccer.

 

How surprised was I to learn that Collingwood’s home game on Easter Sunday, the  6th day of Passover home was at Etihad stadium? The highlights were trying to work out which team had more hair buns. The more I watched the game the more sure I was that I was watching soccer – albeit minus the goal keeper.  Kicks back to defence to bring the ball forward to the other side of the ground, the centre corridor being blocked, forcing teams (invariably Collingwood) wide.  3.7 to 4.7 at half time: boring.  Slaves to a format that was devoid of creativity and passion.  Did structure cause the function? Sometimes I’m sick to death of sticking to the structures. It was more stricture than structure.

My thoughts drift to Melanie Safka’s song of the 1970’s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cqg3kcwAgso

“Look what they done to our game, ma Look what they done to our game, ma It was the only thing that we could watch half right And it’s turning out all wrong, ma Look what they done to our game”

Look what modern footy’s done to our brains, ma Look what they done to our brain Well footy picked it like a chicken bone And I think they’re half insane, ma Look what they done to our game”…

 

Trigger warning: dangerous themes of religion, place, murder, ritual, a link to video footage that vegetarians & others might find disturbing and other football ingredients.

 

Additional trigger warning: I’m still recovering from the terribly sad loss of John Clarke. I didn’t know him but I loved him. Ever since my friend Stephen played a Fred Dagg cassette to me all those years ago I have loved this man, poet, actor, satirist, writer, father, husband and mensch. John Clarke amongst other things acted in that wonderful film located in St Kilda “A matter of convenience” 1987 directed by Ben Lewin, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3N2je_w1MU

 

I haven’t felt this sad since John Greening’s footy career was murdered by St Kilda back in 1972 when I was 13.

 

I haven’t felt this sad since listening to the 1966 grand-final in Mr Gibb’s (family friend) new Holden HR ‘66 premier (ain’t that ironic) sedan when I was 9 and we went on a family picnic to Maroondah Dam. How the hell did 8 of us fit in?

 

I haven’t felt this sad since premiership success all but passed over Collingwood in 1964, 1966, 1970, 1979, 1980, 1981, 2002, 2003 and 2011 in my living memory

 

This of course stands in stark contrast to the imagery of my childhood that St Kilda evokes: St Kilda: wonderful memories of the Kesselschmidt’s first family holidays: day trips by tram from Brunswick to the beach and going past the Junction oval. The foreshore, the pier, swimming, the Village Belle (Acland street), Scheherazade restaurant, the Black Cat café, barley soups, rude waitresses with wonderful postures; some ballerinas had jumped ship from touring representing the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics cultural groups to seek asylum (no Manus island then), Kaiser rolls where you’d break your teeth on the first bite, Dad playing dominoes and polish rummy with his mates, Mum sitting on a grassy knoll with friends having a picnic spread with relatives; many were drenched in oil to get as dark as charcoal. Bathing costumes, skin tags and numbers tattooed on forearms (private history publicly revealed, known but not talked about) Collecting refundable bottles to earn sixpence later five cents to exchange and buy otherwise unattainable desirable things from Kiosk stalls and certainly not permitted at home.  The memories. Later, the first felafels and for a few dollars more a felafel special. My uni days. Enough about herbs & spices. Later, as a parent taking my children for barley soups and brisket they’d always eat well in St Kilda.

 

Little did I know than that St Kilda was named after a schooner, which moored at the main beach in 1841. The schooner Lady of St Kilda was named in honour of Lady Grange who was imprisoned on the island of Hirta the largest island in the St Kilda Archipelago, on the western edge of Scotland by her husband in 1734–40 (thanks wiki).  Figures that St Kilda FC is ultimately named after a domestic violence abuser. Thank the good lord that Collingwood’s history is pure. Ahem.

 

After enduring that game, I’m disappointed. Is disappointing too disappointing a word to use when watching a disappointing game? I ought to have known there was an omen:

Saturday night TV before the Sunday game and Frank Thring junior gave Charlton Heston the premiership cup: Pontius Pilates handing over the prize to Ben-Hur of Judea. Yes expectations had been raised but it wasn’t the cup, it was the Brownlow and premierships aren’t based on an individual. After watching the game it ought to have been Frank Thring as Nero with his thumb turned decidedly down. Watching parts of Ben –Hur made me reflect on poor TV choices, I had options and chose poorly.

 

First quarter

Hope springs eternal. We get the first goal: A clever pass by Varcs and he kicks truly to Fasolo. Truly complains.  Fasolo plays on and snaps rather than line up. An interesting choice: at the one time this is a good idea to take the pressure off and build confidence but this also means that he Fasolo is playing with some fear and anxiety about set shots (with good reason this year). However, we miss easy shots to Elliott (he looked rusty), Greenwood, Moore & Pendelbury. Will Hoskin-Elliot (WHE) kicks a lovely goal. Rusty too is wasteful & errant.

 

We miss handpasses & foot passes. St Kilda too misses.  Tackling pressure stands in contrast to last week. While we looked OK doubt seemed to emerge again as easy missed shots becoming contagious.

 

Adams has a lot of the ball but is as influential as a woman locked up in the isles of north-west Scotland in the 19th century.

 

2.6.18 to 1.3.9

 

Second quarter

We kick 1.1 to St Kilda’s 2.5. In a half of football we amass a total of 3.7 to their 4.7. Basically they look better & force us wide, back & wide again. Thank the lord for Billings. I’d only commented the quarter before to Dave Nadel to watch out for Billings: he’s good shot for goal. With such incisive informed advice Billings and others kept Collingwood in the game! The others include our defence: Reid, Howe and Schade (sunnies). Maynard was trying & did OK. Ramsey looks out of sorts. He is shadow of his former early season self of the last two years prior to bad injury. Having said, Ramsay and the backline also had to contend with a lack of pressure being applied by our midfielders & half forwards. The ball was in our defensive 50 way too much. Grundy looked good. Pendles I thought was struggling & Treloar was not particularly conspicuous.

 

The quarter showed missed chances by foot, being forced to go wide & their pressure around the contest blocked the effectiveness of our midfield.

3.7.25 to 4.7.31

 

Third quarter

2.1 to 4.5 tells the story. Inexplicably (I don’t but the Pendelbury line that his off-field absence was a series of unfortunate events, that it was always planned for him to be off the ground at the start of the quarter but the ball was played too often on the other side of the ground such that he couldn’t get on the ground): has a bit of the dog ate my homework about it. Amateur hour for a multimillion dollar business.

To be sure the ball was played a lot in St Kilda’s forward 50. They looked cleaner, faster, more determined, applying a lot more pressure that we did. Collingwood didn’t have an answer to St Kilda’s relentlessness. As a spectacle I’d have preferred to watch John Howard bang on about beige cardigans Perhaps not. Collingwood had 8 inside 50’s to St Kilda’s 18, Collingwood laid 13 tackles to St Kilda’s 22. If a week is a long time in football 9 days is an eternity. There was no spark no energy.

Buckley needed a plan B. Would this occur in the final quarter?

5.8.38 to 8.12.70

 

Final quarter

We scored 2.5 to St Kilda’s 1.3. This time the score didn’t really tell the story. Winning this quarter masked the fact that had both teams kicked straight we would have lost by a greater margin than the 14 pts showed.

 

The players must have shares in an abattoir as we continually butchered the ball. Crisp, Adams, Ramsay, Sidebottom amongst others.

 

Poor choice selection: Broomhead handpasses off to a player about to be swamped rather than being bold & having a shot admittedly a low percentage shot but better than his decision to pass the ball into a position of disadvantage. However, I might be unfair in Broomhead as he did this less than a lot of other players in our team that is, pass the ball often handpassing that either misses the intended target, gets the ball to a teammate who is outnumbered or about to be tackled. Earlier on White chooses to kick the ball to a 2:1 against contest where a competing Blair who is far shorter than his two opponents. Que? Why? WTF? I understand White’s application for MENSA has been rejected this week.

 

Their misses combined with our great backline (in the context of so many inside 50’s to St Kilda) made the final score seem more respectable than it was.

 

Collingwood: 7.13.55 to St Kilda 9.15.69

 

Buckley does not have a plan B. So my earlier question remains rhetorical.

 

A game without highlights. I tell a lie, there was a highlight. Proceeding south on the concourse exiting the ground to the Spencer street trains there was a busker playing a mean harmonica to a pulsating blues beat: great stuff and more exciting than the game:  We need our mojo workin’ again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hEYwk0bypY

 

Votes: 3. Howe. 2. Schade 1. Reid

Comments

  1. Cam Hooke says:

    Loved it, thank you.

    In addition to your busker highlight, I thought Goldsack’s run down of Armitage was an extraordinary thing.

    See the comments and suggestions elsewhere on Footy Almanac.

    Go Pies.

  2. E.regnans says:

    Stunning, Jim.
    Wonderful story up until your “First quarter” sub-heading.

    Plan B?
    Who needs a Plan B when your Plan A is so well thought-out, based on years of footy smarts, observations, international management trips, outback bonding sessions?

    Looking forward to that Plan A clicking.

  3. Stephen Goddard says:

    Great reporting and great writing (again) Jim.
    I would just add a few more highlights: The torp into the centre circle; the tap from Grundy to Treloar; Schade’s first left foot bomb; every Howe mark; and almost every handball from Pendles.
    We would be more competitive if: Fas stopped missing ‘the easy ones’; Apple turnover (Sidey) stopped playing for the opposition; and someone could kick a goal. Looking forward to Varcoe and Wells finding each other in an open forward line …

  4. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says:

    Hi Jim,
    Hmm. The relationship between structure and stricture. It’s something I’ve been thinking about as a Swans supporter … Be nice sometimes if our teams-under-pressure just worked and played with instinct and an unruliness that builds and vivifies and reveals something of what is inside and possible … bit like this piece of writing. Your preamble to action is superb!
    As a Sydney sider I most often stay with a mate in St Kilda and oh that paragraph hummed, Jim.

  5. Vivify wins word of the day. (see M de H comment)

  6. Bob Kochen says:

    You turned a horribly tragic game into a good read so thanks for that. You are absolutely right about no plan B from either the coach or the committee. Where to from here?

  7. Thanks Cam, that was a pretty good tackle to say the least & not for the first time by Goldsack. I look forward to reading more comments & suggestions as I am about to have some leave – not from my senses I hope.

    Thanks E. Rengans, I know were you’re coming from. While there might not a plan B the list managers too need some questioning.

    Stephen thanks for introducing me to John Clarke. Do you still have the tapes? No not those tapes (I gave you the money) the John Clarke tapes? There were some good things but in context of the game I was still consumed with (? indulgent) grief. Having said that let me ask this, I take it Sidebottom is not being invited over for dinner some time soon?

    Mathilde, some years ago the wonderful Meldrum of Collingwood (nee Fremantle) complained about Malthouse’s team structures reduced if not eliminated creativity and flair. I hope his wonderful Anzac day speech of a few years ago is made again by a Collingwood player this week.

    John I had to google vivify, a new word of the day & imagine the scrabble points.

    Bob, we regroup, lick the wounds, & hope like hell we beat the fast moving Essendon. Of course there is the other possibility we tank (if we haven’t been already), look for the draft picks.

  8. Mea Culpa. Senior moments:

    Senior moment 1.

    I was 15 in 1972 when Greening’s career was murdered by St Kilda

    Senior moment 2.

    Paul Medhurst not Paul Meldrum –

    Memo to self, sorry email to self: don’t post at 6.52 am

  9. John Butler says:

    Loved this Jim.

    Though I am usually favorably disposed to tales of Collingwood discomfiture. Mr Nadel will confirm that.

    Cheers

  10. Thanks John, I’m sure Collingwood will continue to provide you with a favourable disposition for a little while yet. Hopefully Tuesday will not be such.

  11. Luke Reynolds says:

    Superbly written Jim.
    I’ve been to soccer at Etihad and at AAMI Park. In comparison, Etihad is not a good soccer ground either.
    I’ve rarely been as deflated walking out of a Collingwood game. After the final siren of course.
    We’re only a game out of the 8 though. Go Pies.

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