A New Love

Hey! Brodie Grundy,


[Play on centre wing, Adelaide Oval, 18 odd minutes into second quarter of Round 4]

“Treloar… to Grundy, back to Treloar”

[They’re crossing over, sprinting to support, handballing]

“Once again Collingwood working into space better”

[Players spreading on the fast break]

[Treloar handballs a floater to Varcoe, presenting on the angle, but he’s hot, so taps it to the outside runner – Grundy]

“Varcoe this time brilliant tap on to Grundy!”

[No one outside him, Grundy approaches the forward 50m line]

“He releases the big man. Crosses the 50. 48 metres… GOES HIMSELF!”

-Channel 7 commentary, Round 4, Adelaide v 


When Dane Swan retired, my footy-supporting stocks reached a low ebb. Things were bleak; dark. They say the darkest hour is right before the dawn.


For with the waning of D Swan came the waxing of B Grundy.


It’s a strong lineage of “favourite player” into which any new comer would need to step.


P Daicos
G Wright
P Licuria
D Swan


Ladies and gentlemen, may I present:
B Grundy


Gonna sit myself down and write you a love letter
Gonna dream of the time when my life is better
This is my only prayer
This is my only plea
I wanna make a deep connection
Between you and me
-Professor Ratbaggy (Paul Kelly), Love letter


B Grundy,


Tallest-in-the-class as a kid, I was starting ruckman for all of my junior footy life. That worked out alright, as I somehow couldn’t read the ball well enough through the air to ever take the crunching overhead marks required of a key forward, nor could I run fast enough to race along the wing. One oddity was that I really loved mucking in the bottom of packs, sending out a handball.


As a tap ruckman, though, I was able to perform a role. The onballers and I had pretty good times in the centre square of the Miller-Woodfull Oval.


-Where do you want this one?
-Howabout on the right this time. Mix it up.
-No worries


Sometimes we came unstuck. Like the day at Traralgon when the bearded opposing ruckman in their high school team punched me in the face.


But usually we were alright. And I found my role as rover-in-a-ruckman’s body. It was tap-outs, diving tackles, hands and knees in the mud, shovelling out handballs. It was lurking off the pack for the spill of the ball. It was a lot of running.


It was fun enough.
But alright.




As a rover-in-a-ruckman’s body, let me say that I see what you’re doing. I see what you’re doing and I’m excited. You’re running, you’re on your hands and knees, you’re dishing off perfect taps to waiting onballers. You’re it.


Since 2016 that you’ve had me. You took on Mummy and beat Mummy, that big intimidating Mummy up there in western Sydney. Starring in an upset win. As I watched that day from the distracted surrounds of the Juan Carlos Bar of the Lomond Hotel, Brunswick East, I felt that life was shifting on its axis.




Well, I see you around in the usual places
And I see you talk to and kiss lucky faces
And every poor boy’s dream
I wanna make a deep connection
Between you and me
Yeah, I feel a deep connection
Between you and me
-Paul Kelly, Love letter




And I see what you’re doing on Instagram.
You’re a clever, funny bloke.
I see you.


[thought bubble] – 26 August, 2016

ynot [dancer] – September 2017

Fam [heart] – April 2018

[prayerhands] – April 2018


I see you there, holding things together.
Taking the piss.
Visiting Tim Broomhead in hospital the night of his catastrophically broken leg.
Running, doubling back, leaping, crashing.
Kicking goals.
Going again.
And again.
And doing so with humility and intelligence and grace.
Again against Essendon today, ANZAC day 2018.


I see you.
Don’t tell my bride. But it might be love.




Each night when I lie down in my lonely bed
I’m tossing and turning
This is my only prayer
This is my only plea
Wanna make a deep connection
Wanna make a deep connection
Cause I feel a deep connection
Between you and me
-Paul Kelly, Love Letter



COLLINGWOOD 4.4 6.9 8.14 14.17 (101)
ESSENDON 3.3 4.4 4.9 7.10 (52)

Collingwood: Sidebottom 3, Treloar 2, Hoskin-Elliott 2, Stephenson 2, Cox 2, De Goey, Reid, Phillips
Essendon: Stringer 2, Daniher, Stewart, Heppell, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Hooker

Collingwood: Pendlebury, Sidebottom, Treloar, Grundy, Dunn, Howe
Essendon: Hurley, Heppell, Z.Merrett, Zaharakis

Collingwood: Nil
Essendon: Begley (knee), Green (hamstring)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Deboy, Hosking, Chamberlain

Official crowd: 91,440 at the MCG



All pics via Instagram; @brodiegrundy



About David Wilson

David Wilson is a writer, editor, flood forecaster and former school teacher. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He is married and has two daughters and the four of them all live together with their dog, Pip. He finds playing the guitar a little tricky, but seems to have found a kindred instrument with the ukulele. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.


  1. I get your lovesick puppy thrall ER. BGrundy is a goer. But please there is only ONE “rover in a ruckman’s body”.
    Round 17 at the ‘G (not our favourite venue) for NicNait V BG. The Balding Badger Mountain Ash Lovesick Puppy Cup (cop that Earl). I might have to come over to collect the Cup.

  2. Dave Brown says

    He’s a ripper, ER. Seems like he has fully come into his strength this season – to see him push Jacobs around at will was as impressive as it was frustrating. As an occasional Crows follower I am thankful that he went the pick before their forfeited 2012 first round pick – no need to rue what might have been.

  3. I adore Brodence ?

  4. No. I reallllllyyyyy love Brodence!

  5. As much as I admired Swanny’s dare to be different, I couldn’t bring myself to really “like” him. Ditto Luke Ball, though I was happy he found success. Even Trav, depsite having grown up playing volleyball with him and having a quasi-familial connection, I couldn’t look past the shutters of black and white stripes. One of those silly things we all have in our relationships with footy.

    Grundy might have broken me; not only do I thoroughly enjoy watching him play, he seems like such a decent human being that I might truly like him – Collingwood allegiance be damned!

  6. JBanister says

    I see you, B.Grundy, and I raise you by presenting T.Nankervis and premiership second ruck S.Grigg…

    Look forward to taking it all in on Sunday, ER.

    Well poised.

  7. DBalassone says

    As a little man, I’ve never been a ‘big man’ man. Have always reckoned ruck influence has been overrated in footy, but cripes! after watching Grundy’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th efforts at ground level – after going up in the ruck just seconds earlier – I’ve been converted. How long can he keep this workrate up? The way he monstered Jacobs last week was a sight to behold.

    He may well have 10 or 11 Brownlow votes already.

  8. E.regnans says

    [insert screw eyed laugh emoji]
    NC Buckley on Twitter this morning…!
    (inserted as a P.S. (above)).

  9. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Beautiful tribute ER. Brodie is just what footy and Collingwood needs right now. A breath of fresh air as a character who can seriously play high and low. Exciting times big fellas !!

  10. Luke Reynolds says

    Love it ER. Grundy is a magnificent footballer.
    I remember his first game, against GWS at the ‘G. From memory you were there too?
    That Buckley tweet was brilliant!

  11. Luke Reynolds says

    Dani- has Brodence overtaken Fasy Boy in your heart?

  12. Yvette Wroby says

    Love your writing and passion. Will have to watch him closely now!

  13. Lol Luke
    I dont believe in overtaking unless the said adored player retires or plays elsewhere. I’m faithful! Haha

  14. e.r.
    Very nice…
    But I really hope it does not all end in tears

  15. Ahh, yes Smokie.
    Me too.
    So much scope for heartbreak in this world.

    “It’s better to have loved and lost, than…”

  16. e.r. nice bromance happening. Grundy, if he can stay healthy, will only improve over the next couple of years. What he brings is an extra player on the field because of the number of possessions he gets and his second efforts around the packs that you noted. I would hope that he can sort things out with the midfielders to increase the number of “taps to advantage”; something Nic Nat seems to be great at.

  17. Stainless says

    My bromance for Nank tops yours, ER!

  18. Ahh, Stainless.
    Loved B Grundy’s role in today.
    You can keep your Nank. Though you might have some competition from J Banister.

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