The New Magpies – guest writer Mark O’Connell

Despite two wooden spoons in my lifetime, no season could ever be as bad as
Coming off 3 grand final appearances in a row, we slipped to 10th in a 12 team
competition with only 4 wins for the season. We were only propped up by
perennial whipping boys St Kilda and Footscray. In 1982 St Kilda were enduring a
3rd abysmal season under Alex Jesaulenko. They were captained by Bruce
Duperouzel, the Best and Fairest was Peter Kiel and Mark Scott led their
goalkicking. Footscray had been forced to replace legendary coach Royce Hart
mid-season with Ian 'Bluey' Hampshire when Hart's 5 year plan came to nothing.
Hart had trumpeted a "crack" forward line of Templeton, Beasley (struggling
initially in his first year), Shane Loveless and Warren Stanlake with Gordon
Polson feeding off the crumbs.
The first wooden spoon of 1976 saw us at least win 6 games whilst in 1999, Tony
Shaw clearly used the Michael Atta approved tactic of playing for honourable
losses. Shaw's policy was obvious - whenever we were in with a chance in the
last quarter, he simply brought on Brad Fuller.
Anyway all of this is merely a lead-in to the Fantastic start to 1983 in Round
1. Collingwood, under the administration of "The New Magpies" versus Melbourne
with the Demons all excited themselves over the recruitment of Brownlow
Medallists Peter Moore and Kelvin Templeton. The Collingwood banner somewhat
Collingwood paraded 2 recruits of particular note who feature in the passages of
play at the start and finish of the match that I remember well with most of the
match in between being a bit of a blur. David Cloke, (lured across from the
Tigers under a 25 year plan in which we would also get access to any sons
present or future) took the ruck for the first bounce against Moore. Showing a
rare bit of spring he launched himself at the first bounce and belted the ball
forward over 40 metres. I still can't recall a longer hit out at any time. A
couple of quick handpasses and an easy goal resulted ....all within the
opening 10 seconds. The crowd was on their feet and already 1982 seemed a distant
The game was played at fever pitch all day with the crowd very excitable and
vocal throughout. 
The Demons often led by a goal or 2 but it was always close. Coming into the
final few minutes, Melbourne was up by a couple of points. Collingwood,
attacking to the Punt Rd end surged forward. New recruit Mike Richardson, who
had been quiet, found a bit of space about 35 out and grabbed a loose ball.
Initially fumbling, he was about to be pounced upon by the defence when he
accelerated 4 or 5 metres further away from goal spun onto his left foot and
curled it back through the middle. The crowd was on fire!!!!! People I'd never
seen before were hugging me and when we followed up moments later with another
to put the result beyond doubt the season had started in perfect fashion.
The following week we went down to Tom Hafey's Cats with Hafey making his first
appearance back at Victoria Park since his mid 1982 departure. 1983 didn't prove
to be a great season after all but at least for one Saturday night after Round
One, I was the happiest supporter in the land.

Leave a Comment