AFL Finals Week 1 – Hawthorn v Collingwood (Floreat Pica): Pies with much to do


I had a lot of doubts about this game before it started. After all we haven’t looked like beating Hawthorn both times that we met them this year. On the other hand we probably had close to the best team we have had since Luke Ball was injured. Once Paine came out and Sinclair came in only Goldsack was missing from the best side available from the 2012 players available list.


I always find the finals disorienting. After spending over half the season viewing the Pies from  the Ponsford, I had to adjust to a different perspective  of the game. Last night we had excellent seats but they were in the Olympic Stand and towards the unfamiliar Punt Rd end.


The first quarter was an arm wrestle. Or perhaps more accurately it was like some of the tackling games we used to play as kids –British Bulldog or Humpo Bumpo perhaps. All over the field there were players bumping each other, players scragging each other and even players giving their opponents surreptitious clips behind the ears and knees in the legs. It took at least 12 minutes for the first goal to be scored. At one stage the scores were four points to them and one point to us. It probably says something that even when the scores were in points the wretched Hawks were ahead.  This perhaps reflected that the ball was mostly in the Hawthorn forward line, Their “press” was definitely more effective than ours.


In the second half of the quarter Hawthorn established a level of dominance and at quarter time they were leading 4:6 to 2:3. Sam Mitchell had already established himself as best on the ground as he was for all four quarters. Taz was holding Buddy but Rioli had already slipped away from his opponent (at various stages  O’Brien, at other stages, Toovey),


I thought there was a problem with our defence throughout the match.  Basically Heath Shaw played most of the game in the mid-field or up forward.  This meant that the kickouts were performed by BJ or Harry. Frankly since Leon retired Heater is our only reliable kickout.  Johnno seems to have lost that skill since his last couple of injuries and Harry has never had it. The Hawks scored 15 points during the game and our backs must have turned over half the resultant kickouts. Heater is one of the best rebounding defenders in the comp.  If we are to get back into the Finals contest then we ought to use Heath Shaw in defence.


We played much better in the second quarter briefly hitting the lead. Wellers kicked his second goal but he also had a crucial turnover. Just as it looked like the Pies had taken command the Hawks kicked the final three goals of the quarter and we went to half time a similar distance behind as we had been at the first break.


A little momentum which had been built up in the opening minutes of the third quarter was shattered when the ball was taken by the umpires from Cloke’s hands in front of a certain goal and transferred to the Hawthorn forward line where they scored instead. The free was probably there, Taz had been niggling and holding Franklin but he had been doing it with impunity throughout the first half and Schoenmakers and his teammates had been doing the same thing to Travis Cloke.  Collingwood didn’t lose the match through poor umpiring but the umpiring was very poor. The umpires changed their whole approach after half time and I can’t help wondering whether they received a call from the Geish or the Ayatollah during the long break.


Cloke and Andrew Krakouer continued to score goals in the second half but they had no mates. Jolly dominated the ruck  and even Dawes won a few hitouts  but Hawthorn dominated the clearances. Our midfield won a lot of ball (although slightly less than usual) but were mostly beaten by Hawthorn’s midfield. Cloke and Krakouer kicked most of our goals and it occurred to me that earlier in the season when we won ten on the trot, Krak was injured and Trav was (mostly) out of form but we still had players capable of kicking a winning score? Where were they on Friday night? Goldsack was out injured but Alex Fasolo and the midfield were out there. In most games Collingwood has depended on Swan, Thomas and the other midfielders to score a winning margin. Against Hawthorn the only midfielder who kicked any goals was Wellingham.


I haven’t written off the season yet. Some of our players played well (see the Horsburgh votes on October 6).  Amongst those who did not, you would expect some improvement in the next three weeks –  I don’t believe that our midfield could be so ineffectual two weeks in a row. We should get Goldie back for the First Semi Final and hopefully we won’t lose Swannie.  It will be a test for Bucks to devise a strategy to defeat Hawthorn. Let’s hope he has one by Grand Final day.


Floreat Pica



  1. Hope Springs.
    You’ve got to love the indominatable fan in all Knackers.

  2. Apologies for the mistake in the last paragraph. As far as I know Collingwood is in no danger of losing Swan. I had intended to write that hopefully we will not lose Maxwell.

    Speaking of springing hope I am looking forward to reading contributions from the Cats who told us that they could win the flag from 6th place and especialy from the Cat who told us that Geelong would finish fourth and we “had read it here first”

  3. I watched most of the first half in the Emirates Lounge at Melbourne airport on my way to London. When the Pies hit the front in the second I was gripped with fear. Then bang, bang and bang, we were three goals up in the blink of an eye and won the second quarter. This was without Lewis and losing Whitecross early in the first. The Hawks depth, skill, confidence and nerve keeps winning them games. On the flight I asked a hostie for the final score. She had no idea what I was taking about and I had to write down my question so she could take it to the captain who delivered the best of possible news. Hawks by 38. Who is one of Collingwood’s major sponsors?

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