AFL Finals Week 1 – Collingwood v Port Adelaide: Chelsea’s glorious double falcon

By Nick Raschella and Dan Hansen                                    

 

Mario Fenech was a very good rugby league player. His accolades include a fourteen year career at the top level for South Sydney, the now defunct North Sydney and the even more defunct South Queensland. He was captain of South Sydney from 1986 to 1990, represented NSW in State of Origin and even played internationally for Malta. Despite all of his accomplishments as a player, in fifty years time he will be known for only one thing. That is being the person responsible for the term “falcon”. Mario was nicknamed the Maltese Falcon and due to the constant replaying on the NRL Footy Show of an incident where the ball was passed towards him whilst not looking and it slamming into his head the term “falcon” was born. To see the original incident go to YouTube and search “Mario Fenech Original Falcon”.

 

The term has been used for many years in rugby league circles but unlike Izzy Folau it has made the successful cross code transformation to AFL. So much so that Fox Footy’s show After the Bounce has a segment dedicated to falcons.

 

However this was the last thing on my mind as I was walking to the MCG to Port’s first final since 2007. I had been to every one of Port’s previous AFL finals and it was great to be going to a Port game in September again. I have been through all the highs and lows. The winning of the 2004 Grand Final, the 2004 Preliminary Final where misguided St Kilda fans ran on to celebrate Gehrig’s 100th goal and stopped the Saints momentum. Then there was the smashing of North in the Preliminary Final in 2007, the nervous games against Essendon after losing the first home finals in 2002 and 2003 and the West Coast Qualifying Final cliff hanger in 2007. I’ve also been to all the losses. I’ve seen John Barker kicking a forty five metre floating mongrel goal from the boundary line in that notoriously difficult members pocket at Football Park and the eighty five percent humidity finals at the Gabba in 2001 and 2002. I was also there for the debilitating home Qualifying Final losses in 2002 and 2003 to Magpies and Swans respectively, the 2003 Preliminary loss to the Magpies, the Showdown Semi Final disaster in 2005 and, of course, that sad last Saturday in September of 2007. It’s eight wins and nine losses so far, but I am confident that we will square the ledger tonight. This year has been about rebalancing the ledger for Port in so many ways.

 

I stopped at Fed Square and met my nephew, who lives in Melbourne, and to pick up my ticket. I then text my friend Dan Hansen to see if he made it to Melbourne. Unfortunately he didn’t make it, but he informs me he was at the Royal Exhibition Hotel in Sydney watching the game with twenty other Port supporters. He asks how many Port supporters are in town and I tell him there are about two thousand around me now and the club believes ten to twelve thousand have travelled over for the game.

 

I join in the progression from Fed Square to the MCG taking up the full pathway as we are singing and marching along the paths and overpasses. All of the buskers along the way were smart enough to play the Power theme song. They did a roaring trade. As we approach the MCG we pass a block of flats where on about half a dozen of the balconies there where Collingwood supporters having food and drinks. A few start sledging and a couple can’t help themselves and hold up their scarves in the choking fashion. So my nephew and half a dozen young mates start chanting “Jump, Jump, Jump”. A few hundred others join in. Thankfully nobody took up the offer.

 

I arrived at the MCG just before six o’clock and wonder what I’m going to do for the next two hours. However this was not a problem as there were a lot of young blokes around me fuelling up and I join in. I bought a round for my nephew and his mates and decide to flick the radio over to ABC NewsRadio to find out what’s happening with the election. This is the first federal election I haven’t watched since 1972 when, as an eight year old, I sat with Mum and Dad watching Gough bring Labor back to power after twenty three years. There was only one sort or power I was interested in tonight. By half past seven the election was all over, but the beers at the MCG were still flowing. I usually don’t like sitting near the goals but I found myself sitting in bay M6 just around from the point post at the Punt Rd end.

 

The game was tense and competitive right from the start. The pressure both teams applied made it low scoring but Port had more of the play. Halfway through the first quarter a goal each to Westhoff and Schulz was the only difference between the two teams. Collingwood fought back for the remainder of the first term and managed to peg one back with a goal to Dane Swan.

 

The second quarter started with a quick goal to Travis Boak followed by a brain fade by Heath Shaw. Earlier in the year an Essendon supporter told me that there has always been bad blood between Shaw and Monfries and Monfries always seemed to get the better of Shaw. I don’t know what Monfries said to Shaw but in a fit of selfish temperament Heath Shaw gave Monfries several aggressive jumper punches and Monfries milked it for all he could. A free kick before the ball was bounced and Port were three goals up. Watching the replay later that week I noticed Shaw was into Monfries from about the third minute of the game after they went for a mark on the member’s wing. Maybe they were fighting over who had a better compounding chemist. After Shaw’s performance I firmly believe the Port match committee will give him votes in their best and fairest award.

 

A great speccie and goal to Schulz shortly after and suddenly there was a twenty four point gap. At this point I knew I would need some Fishermen’s Friends tomorrow. My voice was starting to croak even more than Tredders’ voice was on MMM. Collingwood then started to fight back mostly through the good work of Beams, Swan and Pendlebury. A late goal to Wingard saw Port go in at half time with a twelve point lead.

 

Port’s third quarters had been their worst for the last half of the season and this was no different. Halfway through the third quarter and Collingwood was in the lead. But Hinkley’s ruthless and brave mantra saw our young players hold on and then slowly turn the tide. Late in the quarter the ball ends up with Chad Wingard forty five metres from goal. I have been saying for most of the season to get the ball into Wingard’s hand. He goes back and from on the fifty metre arc slots home a great goal. A few minutes later the eighteen year old Ollie Wines gets a short pass also forty five metres out from goal. I have been referring to Wines as the Bulldozer since his great game against Collingwood in round fourteen when he bulldozed his way through the packs and fed our runners. The kid delivers on the big stage and despite less inside fifties, less tackles, less contested ball and less disposals, Port only lose the quarter by four points.

 

The start of the last quarter was similar to third. Collingwood started with a goal in the first thirty seconds. Shortly afterwards a dubious goal, that may or may not have been touched, was given to Cloke. This goal put Collingwood in front and you could sense the Collingwood supporters thought an avalanche of Collingwood goals were about to descend. However thanks to Dr Darren Burgess the second half of the last quarter had been Port’s strength all year. After missing three relatively easy shots I started to wonder if Port had blown its opportunity.

 

Then the turning point of the game happened. A second successive ball up at the top of Port’s goal square saw Lobbe punch the ball forward were Boak managed to soccer it toward the goal. As it approached the goal line it bounced up suddenly and slammed into goal umpire Chelsea Roffey’s head and then bounced straight up. As she steadied herself the ball came back down and struck her in the head a second time. A classic double falcon.  It happened “right in front of me” at the Punt Rd end.

 

Seeing the double falcon seemed to have a perverse effect on the Port footballers. They finished the quarter with a lot more freedom and attack in their game style and never looked liked losing. The Bulldozer snaps a great thirty metre goal after doing the grunt work in a pack. One day Caterpillar is going to bring out the Ollie model bulldozer. The Chad roves a pack and runs into goal, Schulz is marking everything but misses a couple of gettable goals before the Chad hits him with a laser like pass. We kick four goals and six behinds as the Burgess fitness power lets our boys run all over Collingwood.  As the final siren sounded, and thanks you Fremantle, I had to contemplate the logistics of getting back to Melbourne for Port’s next final.

 

If I ever see the ball hit a player in the head twice again instead of crying out “Ha ha, a double falcon” i’ll yell out “Ha ha, a chelsea”. I doubt if we will ever see a double chelsea, that is the ball hitting someone in the face and then bouncing on their head three times but if I do I hope it gets called a ballantyne.

 

 

COLLINGWOOD           1.4    4.6    7.7     9.9      (63)

PORT ADELAIDE           2.4    6.6    8.9   12.15   (87)

 

GOALS

Collingwood: Swan 3, Cloke 2, Keeffe, Macaffer, Williams, Beams

Port Adelaide: Wingard 3, Schulz 3, Boak 2, Wines 2, Westhoff, Monfries

 

BEST

Collingwood: Swan, Sidebottom, Beams,  Williams,  Macaffer, Pendlebury

Port Adelaide: Logan, Lobbe, Cornes, Schulz, Ebert, O’Shea

 

Umpires: Donlon, Dalgleish, Jeffery

 

Official crowd: 51,722

 

Our Votes: 3. Logan (PA) 2 Lobbe (PA) 1 Swan (Col)

 

Comments

  1. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Well Done Guys Picking The Double Falcon up also wonder if clubs will go searching re
    The English Premier League for a Fitness Guru after the success re Darren Burgess ?

  2. I have never paid any attention to Port or goal umpires but there were 3 individual efforts in this game that thrilled me – Westhoff goal 1st qtr, Wines goal out of a pack last qtr, and Chelsea Roffey’s dignity under fire when repeatedly and recklessly assaulted by a football. High contact, medium impact.

  3. Luke Reynolds says:

    Well written guys. Was very impressed with the turnout and spirit of the Power supporters on Saturday night. The turnaround of your great club has been a highlight of 2013.

  4. Disgraced Former Premier says:

    I was on of those balconies and heard the “jump” chants, but we were all Port supporters so it is good to know the chants were directed elsewhere!

    Here’s to another big game and hopefully another stirring victory. We owe them after ’07.

  5. Peter Fuller says:

    Nick,
    Cloke’s goal (which seemed more significant at the time than it later proved) was definitely legit. The question wasn’t whether it was touched, but whether he completed contact with the ball before it crossed the goal line. The replay proved conclusively that he had done so.
    Speaking as a neutral, with a slight leaning to the Power, on the abc rule, I note that there was a great atmosphere on Saturday night. It is good to see Port up and about again, particuarly after they had sunk so badly post-2007.

  6. Terrific piece. Deserves to be a walk up start for the BOOK report on this match. Clever, funny and insightful.

  7. Grand report. Well played all. I never much liked the Choco Williams Port. But K Hinkley port are somehow different.

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