Finals Week 1 – Geelong v Collingwood: A Review





The All Nations Hotel. Nestled in the back streets of Richmond. A pub with a timber horseshoe bar. With cold and fresh draught on tap. It’s not rocket science. Blokes and sheilas wander in. Scarves wrap chilled necks. Beanies, mostly black and white. The fire crackles with September fizz.


There’s old mate. Old mate! He calls out. Hand tilts to mouth in the motion of drinking. Thumbs up. Another cold one coming. Nerve settlers. Fish and chips. The table babbles with banter. Giggling like the cockroach that survived the nuclear blast. Recalling Jack Dyer and his comment on Jimmy Edmond.


‘He had a great debut last week and an even better one this week.’


I miss Jack.


Melbourne’s winter sun has depth. Like a Dickensian character. A kiss with a gentle lean to it. The sunny bits are warm, the shadows still dank. Winter hangs on. We walk the side streets and laneways. Once home of the illegal SP bookies. We pop out on Punt Road. Pumping with cars. Lights of the MCG beckon us. Towering over roofs. Mates and families saunter towards them. A ceremonial stroll through the park. The gift of the city. I count 91,525 hanging around outside but might have missed a few.


Sitting in Warnie’s Stand. Good old Collingwood forever. My can of Carlton Draught is magnificent. Maynard is already prowling. De Goey knows what De Goey can do. Ink and oil. They glisten. The black and white army cheers practice shots at goal. They’d cheer a Collingwood player doing up his boots.


We are Geelong. Circling the centre square. A footy absurdity. We watch Cameron’s strut. Is it hampered? How tough is a hamstring ligament? Riddles and manoeuvres. Henry forward. Selwood and Dangerfield sent to purgatory. De Koning at full back dressed in his school blazer. The bloke from Seinfeld, Lipinski, kicks the first. Magpies take flight.


Cats claw. And claw. Roaming Cameron won’t be quelled. A kick to Duncan is a work of art. Neither team wants to extend the lead. Too much fun basking in the intensity. The grandstands shudder. Can concrete shudder? I think about the engineers who built this place. Energy has nowhere to go but up. We stand to roar. Then they do. Then we do. It’s like we’re doing the YMCA. Diabolically outstanding pressure. Kicks dribble. The ferocity in the tackles is boundless. Maynard exits with a bloody eye. The crowd screeches ‘Ball!’ more often than a gorilla farts.


Johnson, the Magpie from up Hall’s Creek way, just 685 kilometres out of Broome, kicks a reverse spinning, backward bending, pie floating, banana from the boundary. Its an unrepeatable kick. But he meant it. Then Cameron, with saliva infested advice from Magpie fans in close proximity, kicks a wrong-side-for-a-left footer, architecturally designed, drop punt arrow from the fence chalk and turns to ask if they enjoyed his effort. Theatre!


De Goey the brute. Sounds like a Viking. Two punches in the last. His goals are wild and ghastly. Beautiful if you follow Collingwood. The Pies led by two which became one. Zach Touhy takes a grab in front of Lipinski and darts a fifty metre jet to centre half forward. Then magic happens.


I can see Rohan. Four deep. If there’s doubt, it’s not obvious. Eyes on the pill. Only the pill. The leap. Classic. Knee up and planted in the closest back. The reach. Clunk. The Sherrin smashes into his mits. Glued there. It fits like a rock in the pyramids. Then comes the kick. It must travel 55 metres. It traverses 60. Dead straight. Goal Umpire theatrically bends backwards. Footy sails over his head. Finals maketh the man. Phallic fist pump. Umpire’s two fingered salute.


Scores level. Common sense has gone. Insanity takes over. It’s Lord of the Flies at the MCG. The crowd howls ball! at everything. And kill the pig! I’m sure I heard it! Spectators vibrate with anxiety. Warped faces. Grimaces that look painted on. Drained eyes. Unbearable tension.


Umpires look spent. Players crouch at every stoppage. Lungs on fire. But one more sprint is required. A long one. And that man Rohan is called to do it. Cameron plunders a left foot hit-and-hoper inside fifty. Rohan is in the corner of his eye. Charging. Comedy capers ensues. Rohan drops it. A soda. Sidebottom slips. Rohan is running too fast for his own body. He’s about to face plant. Dishes off to Holmes. Who marches in. The Sherrin is slammed into the top tier. The Cats are slammed into the Preliminary final.


Woman next to me, dressed in Cats paraphernalia:


‘I nearly died just then.’


‘I’m glad you didn’t’ I reply.




GEELONG                       1.3       4.7       7.10     11.12 (78)
COLLINGWOOD          3.5       4.8       8.11     10.12 (72)


Geelong: Cameron 3, Rohan 3, Close 2, Hawkins, Duncan, Holmes
Collingwood: De Goey 2, Johnson 2, Crisp, J. Daicos, Elliott, Hoskin-Elliott, Lipinski, Mihocek


Geelong: Cameron, Stewart, Atkins, Dangerfield, Rohan, C. Guthrie, Duncan
Collingwood: Moore, Pendlebury, De Goey, J. Daicos, Sidebottom, Crisp, Noble


Geelong: Kolodjashnij (knee)
Collingwood: Adams (groin), Johnson (thigh)


Geelong: Mark O’Connor replaced Jake Kolodjashnij in the second quarter
Collingwood: Nathan Kreuger replaced Taylor Adams in the fourth quarter


Crowd: 91,525 at the MCG



Read more from Dips O’Donnell HERE.


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About Damian O'Donnell

I'm passionate about breathing. And you should always chase your passions. If I read one more thing about what defines leadership I think I'll go crazy. Go Cats.


  1. Viewed the last 10 minutes from the golf club bar after another teasing round (it was ever thus – glimpses of competence). Reminded me of the 1985 Cox Plate – cue the Accurate One. “Bonecrusher. Our Waverley Star. Stride for stride. Nothing in it. Bonecrusher on the outside and Our Waverley Star on the rail…….”
    “And Rohan races into feline immortality.”

  2. That is very clever PB! And accurate. It was one of those games.

  3. Sensational Dips! You have done justice and more to what was a magnificent game and advertisement for Aussie Rules. So many ripper throwaway lines, like this: We stand to roar. Then they do. Then we do. It’s like we’re doing the YMCA.

    Send this report to the pool room!

    By the way, one of the best parties I’ve been to was at a station about 50kms from Halls Creek. We fell in with locals at the pub when someone announced a party so we all jumped in cars and headed out into the night. Many, many bottles later we somehow were delivered back to our Halls Creek accomm.

  4. Good on ya Trucker. Cheers!

    Sounds like one helluva party you went to. What were you doing up Halls Creek way?

  5. roger lowrey says

    I was totally drained of many human feelings Dips. Thankfully the better ones stayed with me for a bit.

    Fearing a draw as is it all got closer, we hugged and kissed and did pretty much everything Dictator Dan has outlawed over the past few years.

    Two more weeks though big boy!


  6. great work, old mate

  7. Cheers smoke.

    RDL outstanding response as usual. Not even Dan can ban euphoria though the fun police are out and about.

    Two more big ones to go as you point out – we hope.

  8. Daryl Schramm says

    ‘On ya Damian. You get a week off now. Maybe just as well for some around you!

  9. Daryl – yes the week off gives us a chance to visit our cardiologist.

  10. Love it Dips.
    I imagine spruikers on the MCG concourse, carni -folk. One with a peg-leg, another with an eye-patch.
    Oh! and here’s one with bulging muscles and a twirled moustache. And a woman with cats’ whiskers.
    “step right up, step right up, ladies and gents!”
    “oh get yerselves inside for a Ride of a Lifetime!”

    I do love the way these pies play the game. Grand show.

  11. Cheers ER.

    It was an amazing show. I love how both teams play the game. It was tough and hard but seemed to be played in the right spirit.

    Big weekend coming up the Pies too!

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