A Bad Start and a Good Start

Before the first bounce of the footy at the Collingwood/Port Adelaide game, the teams lined up and loudspeaker played the National Anthem. “WTF “ I thought to myself. If I had looked at the Footy Recod I would have realised that “Gertie by the Sea” was being played at the start of all Round One matches. It appears that some idiot at the AFL, who has probably been watching too much Fox Sports, thinks that playing the anthem before the game will lend the spectacle gravitas.

I can see the point of the National Anthem before the ANZAC Day game, where it is part of the remembrance and I guess it might be appropriate before the Grand Final but for the rest of the football season it is gratuitous and silly jingoism. You can make a case for the National Anthem before an international sporting match, say the Ashes, although even there I thought it was preferable when the game began with the toss of the coin rather than some nationalism for tossers. However in a game between to local clubs the anthems I want to hear are Good Old Collingwood Forever and (in this case) The Power to Win.

What I do not want to see is the American situation, where any public sport, even if it is high school roller derby, is preceded by the singing of the National Anthem. That level of gross nationalism is both silly and dangerous and before you know it you are persuading young men to travel overseas and get themselves killed in immoral and unwinnable wars.

Once the game started, the World and my response to it improved dramatically. I am not going to give a report of the Pies/Power game because I don’t think that I could improve on Steve Fahey’s excellent Floreat Pica report, but I do want to make some comments.

On Saturday’s game it is possible to believe that the Pies can improve on their 2010 Premiership winning team. Several of the premiership players have improved on last year’s form. Chris Dawes was magnificent at Full Forward. Last year he created opportunities, kicked goals and supported Travis Cloke. This year he is the general of the Magpie forward line. Jarryd Blair held his position in a Grand Final side last year (which was an achievement for a promoted rookie) this year, if he plays with the intensity he showed last Saturday, he will be one of the first picked. Steele Sidebottom was in Collingwood’s best six players in the replayed Grand Final. He, too, has improved and by the season’s end should be thought of in the same group as Swannie and Pendles.

But Collingwood have also improved with the additions to the side. Andrew Krakoeur played some brilliant football, mostly in the third quarter, and will only get better with added fitness. Chris Tarrant has come back from Freo with his skills intact and with added concentration (which he badly lacked in his early years at Collingwood) I still have reservations about Simon Buckley. He is not in Collingwood’s best 25 players. Still last Saturday he won a lot of possessions and didn’t turn them over as often as has in the past. One long kick to goal was so authoritive that it could have been kicked by Buckley N in 2001 rather than Buckley S in2011.

I am taking the year one burst of overconfidence at a time, but Saturday was a good start for the Pies.


  1. Dave, i thought the exact same thing about the anthem being played- i was deffers confuzzled! :s
    I like Buckley, plus its always good to hear the commentators say his name when he gets the footy, gets me thinkin
    of the old number 5- goodtimes. :)

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