What’s to be made of a 138-point win?


Collingwood v Port

Round 20

Port Adelaide 0.1   1.2       2.2        3.3 (21)
Collingwood 6.5   12.12   16.16    23.21 (159)

by Andrew Fithall

I am really struggling to glean anything of significance from Collingwood’s demolition of Port Power in the rain in Adelaide on Saturday night. As a spectacle it lacked connection. No gravitas. Little emotion. Even on my fourth viewing – okay that is a joke; my household complained collectively when I played the replay just once on Sunday – satisfaction levels remain low. No. That is not quite correct. I would have been dissatisfied if we hadn’t handed the pathetic Power the drubbing we did. I am not so ungracious as to feel that having beaten the cellar dweller by 138 points that we could have done better. This game, played for the most of the game in pouring rain, could have been a slog. For one team it was. Port achieved a score once every twenty minutes for the duration of the game. Half of their six scoring shots were goals, which was probably fortunate. Otherwise, for them, it might have been an embarrassing loss!


Top versus bottom very rarely results in a good match. Even less frequently is it an unexpected result. The pre-game anticipation for this one was really only about a couple of individuals. Chad Cornes was playing his final game for the Power. Chris Tarrant his 250th AFL game, the majority at Collingwood. Chad Cornes career, the highlight of which was a premiership nearly seven years ago, was petering out to an ignominious end. Chris Tarrant’s was, hopefully coming to a peak. A premiership back at his first club would be a magnificent crown. Team success I am sure would surpass previous personal honours. Chris was one of just a few players still at the club who had participated in two grand final losses – one noble (’02) and one very poor (’03). Of the others still part of the team, Ben Johnson and Alan Didak had been significant contributors to the 2010 premiership, while Leon Davis had been omitted for the grand final rematch. I for one did not predict Leon’s reinvention and reinvigoration as a running half-back this year. My lingering scepticism still needs him to perform in the very big games.


Watching this game at home on the television, I took notes while enjoying some free beer (thanks Slabs and Ladders) and then some good Barossa Shiraz. My notes however, don’t tell my much about the game (too much red and that can happen) other than from the first quarter through to the final siren Collingwood completely dominated. Perhaps if you took away Collingwood’s twenty-three goals, then several bad misses by Cloke might have been costly. When fourth-gamer Luke Rounds kicked poorly with his left foot into Collingwood’s forward fifty late in the second quarter and the resultant turnover finished with Power’s first goal, there might have been some trepidation in the Pies’ camp, except by that stage Collingwood already led by eighty points. Port kicking the first goal of the last quarter might have sewn some doubt in the minds of the Pies, except that the three quarter time margin was ninety-eight points and that Power goal was the last time they troubled the scorer for the match. Collingwood kicked the final seven goals. Such was the drubbing that during the telecast I even allowed for the television to be switched to the other game being played in time to see Adam Goodes allow Essendon a win. Hate that.


Further blow-by-blow description of the game is superfluous. So, unqualified as I am to provide any expert analysis, a few observations:


Dale Thomas is one of the hardest workers when he doesn’t have the ball. This has always been the case. Early in his career, when some observers saw only the flashy, others saw how hard he chased and tackled; how hard and long he ran just to present as an option for his team mates. And it is only a very simple thing, but it epitomises his efforts; you will not see anyone more diligent or active when they are standing the mark, regardless whether the kicker is going for goal or if they are in the back line. And it has always been so.


Ben Reid is Collingwood’s best performing defender. Early in the game, this prematurely balding left footer took some typically brave marks. His kicking is exemplary: able to hit targets fifty metres away with low trajectory arrows. Harry O’Brien (absent from this game) has been a little flaky under the high ball and in the one-on-ones. Nick Maxwell has had a relatively poor year recovering from pre-season injury. Nathan Brown has been out for the season and Toovey on extended absence. Ben Reid’s increased contribution has been a major compensating factor.


With only four games before finals, it is difficult to see how the re-introduction of Chris Dawes is going to be managed. Travis Cloke is missing the foil that Dawes provides. I think playing Cameron Wood was part experiment to see how the forward set-up would work if Dawes is either not going to be available or is going to be too under-done to risk returning. With Toovey still to come back, Shaw not available until finals and Didak slowly returning, there may be a fear that Dawes may not be part of the finals campaign. Wood did reasonably well, but a couple of simple marks dropped won’t have helped his cause. Collingwood will not be playing finals in the VFL so anyone not in the team for the first final is going to struggle to prove themselves ready.


Leon… Leon…. Leon. I so want Leon to play well. I have long been a critic of his game, as he flashes past packs in the hope that the ball pops out. He has done so well this year in his reinvented running half-back role. On Saturday night, as has occurred many times this season, he was not beaten in contests. His kick-ins have been brilliant. But he just makes me nervous. I saw it a couple of times on Saturday. When the sole objective should be to go in hard to get the ball, he will attempt the “look-good” option. In finals, as the pressure goes up and the simple is the most productive, this style of play can get found out. As it has in the past.


Competition for places on the team is valuable. Beams, Rounds, Fasolo, Blair and perhaps one or two others (Didak?) are competing for their places. Buckley and Goldsack can see Toovey and Shaw behind the curtain. They all know they have to continue to perform to maintain their spot. Even when a game is petering out to a huge win, these blokes are fighting it out until the end.


When Geelong won by 150 points on Saturday afternoon, I thought there could be a bit of a threat on Collingwood’s percentage margin. This game put pay to that fear. An eleven percentage point boost at this stage of the season is an extraordinary achievement.



Go Pies.


Floreat Pica.

About Andrew Fithall

Probably the most rational, level-headed Collingwood supporter in existence. Not a lot of competition mind you.


  1. AF,

    what is the significance of these numbers. Perhaps you could forward them on to Gigs for analysis.

    37.11 (233) def 7.5 (47); and (Differential 186)
    25.16 (166) def 14.8 (92) (Differential 74)

    29.14 (188) def 6.2 (38); and (Differential 150)
    23.21 (159) def 3.3 (21) (Differential 138)

  2. Andrew Fithall says:

    The significance of those numbers Mr Phantom, is that if you add them to all the other numbers relating to the two top teams, then you have two teams on level premiership points, with Collingwood having a game in hand and with a 26 percentage point advantage. Between now and round 24, if the two teams lose the same number of games, then by the time they meet in round 24, that game will have no bearing on the final ladder positions. Both teams will then be able to manage their final round teams with a view to best preparing for the following week.

  3. Actually, I’d also factor in 21.8 (134) def 7.16 (58) (Differential 76) and conclude that Geelong is a 110-point better team than Carlton.

  4. It could ve very interesting if it is old ‘Handbag Mooney’s last game Andrew.

    I reckon he would be saving the kisses and cuddles for after the game and not at any time during the match.

    A bit of biffo would be very vintage Pies I would suggest, so the home crowd would have to enthusiasticly approve.

    Soft Pies, get your soft Pies here.

  5. Sorry about the typo Andrew. I am sure I meant to say ‘hot’. How silly of me.

  6. Alovesupreme says:

    You have identified my concern while (my) Blues have been trying to bridge the gap to the top 2. I said to the co-resident, when Melbourne edged 4 points clear late in the first quarter, that Carlton must be a 190 point inferior side to Geelong – an alarming inference!

  7. AF – I think Collingwood’s classy defeat of the mighty Port Power on their own dung heap shows beyond doubt that the Pies are certainties to win the flag this year. Nothing has been more certain since the bookies took a heap of late money about a resurrection on the original Easter Saturday.

  8. Is that last bit ‘insider trading’ Dips?

  9. Andrew Fithall says:

    Do you really think so Dips? Collingwood are certainties? You know I trust you and your judgement. You are always the embodiment of sincerity and there is no way a person of your standing woiuld be using sarcasm. Would there?


  11. Is it more impressive restricting a side to 6.2 on a perfect day, or having 44 scoring shots on a wet night?

    Contrary to common sense, when a top team plays a bottom team in the wet, it actually widens the skill gap and puts the stronger team in a more dominant position. having said that, I couldn’t imagine Collingwood looking any more impressive or ominous.

  12. Question, is GC without Ablett really considered a “team”?

    Port probably had more to play for, were at home and had a slightly stronger team.

    That said, to be honest I’d be happy if it were all smoke and mirrors until the first Saturday in October, then let the gloves come off.

    Unfortunately like past years, I have an awful feeling that one of the Pies and Cats will come a cropper in the prelim, and that will ruin the GF as a spectacle.

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