AFL Round 11: Thank God for the Queen and her birthday

by Josh Barnstable

I awake on a Monday at 10:30am. “Uh-oh, I’ve overslept”. I think to myself. Then comes the excitement you get when you realize you haven’t overslept, you’ve just enjoyed a good sleep in on a day off school. With that excitement, I bury my head into my pillow for a further 15 minutes. It’s the Queens Birthday and for some reason we have a day off school, and work, but I’m definitely not complaining. I hear on the radio that the crowd around the MCG is mostly red and blue which is pleasing to know that the poor Demon supporters are getting out to this one, probably just to watch the highly anticipated debut of youngster Jack Watts. Melbourne supporters won’t be expecting a win, but I am, as the Demons seem to lift for this one every year, either that or the Pies are shocking on this certain date.

It’s a cold morning so I decide to have a read of something to get my mood warm. I read the Herald Sun (well just the sports section) and Dad digs out the 2008 Footy Almanac, something I’ve been trying to find for days, and I found myself more interested in that then I am in this game due to start in half an hour. But once that siren sounds, I find myself looking up from the book to see the Demons and Pies run out.

The first quarter begins; Watts is starting on the bench, despite Dean Bailey saying he would start on the ground. The Pies gain the ascendancy with the first goal through Tarkyn Lockyer after he bombed through the first of the match from outside 50. Alan Didak capitalizes on an errant Paul Johnson handball and kicks a long goal from outside 50 to take the margin out to 10 points. Watts is finally given a run. He runs onto the ground, and with the full support of the Demon crowd behind him, he attacks the incoming ball and gains a free kick after 4 Collingwood players tackle him to the ground without the ball. His presence doesn’t help the Demons, with Dane Swan taking an uncontested mark and snapping a goal before Jack Anthony took a strong mark on the boundary line. He lined up facing away from the goals, something little Steve Johnson is the magician at, I’m not so sure about big Anthony though. His shot curls and hits the post but the umpire is calling the ball back and giving him another shot for some reason. He doesn’t miss this time, kicking the goal and making me eat my words. Travis Cloke marks uncontested in the goalsquare when Robbie Warnock should have been by his side, Cloke converts before Brad Dick kicks the final two goals of the quarter in great fashion to give Collingwood a massive 42 point lead at quarter time, 7.4 to 0.4. Swan has 13 touches for Collingwood while Leon Davis is on 10 possessions. For the Demons, Aaron Davey and Jack Grimes have 8 possessions each.

The second quarter begins and the Pies kick the opening goal through Lockyer once again after he marked strongly, 10m out. He converted and the lead was out to 50 points. I am not feeling so confident about the Demons now. Oh wait, Cameron Bruce receives a free kick and goals. Then a brilliant Russell Robertson tackle on young Steele Sidebottom results in a free kick and goal to Robbo. That bit of play really made me smile. An old forward with a very weak Achilles heel which is his Achilles in fact, chased a very cocky young player who took five steps too many and took on one player too many. Robbo is pumped too, he punches the air after kicking the goal, and the margin is 37 points. Colin Sylvia is then presented with an opportunity he would never pass down; the ball is floating high in the air after a Davis kick. Nick Maxwell is underneath it, the skipper of Collingwood, the toughest player in the team. Sylvia, a short, angry little man flies for the ball and, without taking his eyes off the ball, crashed into Maxwell with the ball in his hands. He converts the goal from 50m while Maxwell limps off the field with the wind knocked out of him. Anthony gathers and snaps a goal up the other end to bring the margin back out to 37 points before Nathan Jones is given a free kick and a 50m penalty. Right to the goalsquare he goes and kicks the goal. Sidebottom then marks and goals to take the margin out to 6 goals. A late goal from the Demons through Matthew Bate sees the margin reduced to 31 points at half time, 5.6 to 10.7. Swan and Davis have 18 touches each for the Pies while Sylvia has 17 for the Demons. Davey and Jones are on 13 possessions each.

The third quarter begins and with it comes the rain. This seems to work in Collingwood’s favour, as Dick kicks the opening goal of the half after a quick snap out of a pack. His celebration makes the Pies faithful go crazy. This spurs the Maggies on, with a goal to Scott Pendlebury taking the margin out to 45 points. Then an errant handball from Johnson falls to Swan who handballs into an open goalsquare. A flying Croatian comes in and kicks it out of mid-air for his 2nd, and also his 2nd coming from a clanger to Johnson. Davis then receives from Dick, runs into an open goal to extend the margin out to 57 points. Bate reduces that with a long bomb from outside 50 but goals through Anthony and Marty Clarke take the margin out to 62 points at three quarter time, 16.11 to 6.9. Swan has 26 touches for Collingwood while Sylvia is on 27 for Melbourne.

The final quarter begins and the rain starts falling even harder. This is no problem for Dick. After a kick from Didak to Cloke, Cloke has 3 Pies’ players in front of him to run into an open goalsquare. It’s a raffle for the ball and Dick wins that raffle, snagging his 4th goal and then Lockyer booting his 3rd to take the margin out to a game-high 73 points. Sylvia then kicks a running goal from 45m out before Dick runs onto a loose ball created by Pendlebury by a clever tap-on. Dick snaps his 5th and the crowd goes wild. They really love Dick. Haha, sorry I had to make at least one joke. A late goal from Sylvia finishes up the game with the Pies winning by a massive 66 points, 19.12.126 to 8.12.60. Pendlebury finished on 39 disposals while Didak and Swan had 33 and 32 touches respectively. For the Demons, Sylvia worked hard and picked up 32 disposals while Bruce had 28 possessions.

So, after a few weeks of good performances, that has all come undone today for the Demons with an 11 goal thrashing at the hands of Collingwood. The upsides are that Sylvia is continuing his career-best form and Robertson is proving to be influential up forward, even if he is not kicking goals; that tackle on Sidebottom will be replayed quite a lot I would imagine at Demon-land this week. For the Pies, Dick is becoming a really good player. 5 goals and 16 disposals is almost a B.O.G performance. But the usual performers in Swan, Didak, Davis and Pendlebury really shone today and that is what went a long way to the Magpies giving such a thrashing. Oh and Watts had just the 8 touches and kicked a behind. A bit anti-climatic.

Melbourne 0.4—5.6—6.9—8.12.60

Collingwood 7.4—10.7—16.11—19.12.126


Melbourne-Sylvia 3, Bate 2, Robertson, Bruce, Jones

Collingwood-Dick 5, Anthony 3, Lockyer 3, Didak 2, Swan, Cloke, Sidebottom, Pendlebury, Clarke, Davis


Melbourne-Sylvia, Bruce, Green, Jones

Collingwood-Didak, Dick, Swan, Lockyer, Davis, Cloke, Fraser, Shaw


61, 287 at the MCG


3 Votes: Alan Didak (C)

2 Votes: Brad Dick (C)

1 Vote: Dane Swan (C)


  1. danielle says

    Nice piece of writing,im assuming your a student too? i know just how you feel about the sleeping in, i didnt get up that day untill 1:30 in the afternoon. NEVER underestimate Jack Anthony!! ill admit,Watts is pretty goodlooking!!!

  2. Yeah im in Year 9 so I embrace every opportunity to sleep in that I get. Anthony will be a good player and is on track to kick 50 goals this year, good for a young forward who’s had a bad run with neck injuries. Im waiting for Watts to kick 10 goals in a game, maybe next week is the week.


  3. Steve Healy says

    As a Demon’s supporter I think Watts just needs a bit more time in the gym, and just needs to get in the right positions more often. He spent something like 75-80% of game time on the ground. Previous number 1 draft picks haven’t had amazing debuts, like Nick Riewoldt only got 3 touches and Adam cooney 8.I think Watts will definitely improve each week and will kick at least 2-3 a game reguarly

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