AFL Round 10 – Brisbane v Collingwood (Floreat Pica): No Cloke but Pies stick dagger into Lions

by Andrea McNamara

Travis Cloke is sick and isn’t going to play – none of us can remember Trav not playing so we arrive at the Gabba on a balmy Brisbane evening with a great sense of foreboding. I didn’t see the game last week so as far as I’m concerned, it didn’t happen. But I did see the Freo match and I’m still scarred. We are not to be trusted against any opposition.

I like footy at the Gabba in the same way as I like Subiaco – wherever you sit you get a good view, it’s big enough to look full, and there are plenty of home supporters as well as travelling Pies so it doesn’t feel like a rent-a-crowd. But there’s a lot of silly hoopla at the start, featuring the threepeat cups in a display involving a smoke machine and fireworks. We feel they’re going off just a bit early …

Our boys are on from the start, thank god, with frenzied tackling and purposeful movement and the ball never looks like going anywhere near the Lions’ forward 50. Inside our 50, Ben Reid is reprising his role from 2007–8 as a forward. All I can think of is his early career funny run-up, but the Eagles’ Josh Kennedy has made that kind of thing famous now so maybe Reidy will be OK. Kyle Martin brings confidence and commitment to the seniors, slotting in seamlessly with an early touch. Jamie Elliot gets a goal in the first minute and by quarter time we’re well ahead, but not by enough. We’re very harsh judges these days.

Quarter time: 26 points up but what will happen next? The Lions are clearly depleted – in fact they’re awful – but we are a flakey team that needs to win by 70-something to get our percentage up to a pathetic 100%.

More of the same in the very enjoyable second quarter but while we’re clearly dominant, and end up being 50 points ahead at the main break, we don’t seem to be really burying them. I mean, it’s great to keep your opposition to two goals in a half of footy but if we were the Hawks or Geelong our percentage would already be 100 by half-time and we’d be squeezing the last breath out of them, really punishing Vossy for the arrogant display of those 2002 and 2003 cups. Swanny’s carving them up, possession-wise, but I question what he does with the ball – occasional brilliance with a lot of mindless thumping it forward. Against weak opposition, of course this can be quite effective.

Sadly, we fade in the second half and produce a great spread of point-kickers, and it became a dull exercise in maintaining a 50-point margin rather than going for the jugular. We revert to dumb footy in the Lions’ forward 50 – handballing to dangerous positions where a kick would have cleared it, blind passing to blokes who aren’t there. Dids gets a near-standing ovation for running onto the ground in the third, and then doesn’t do a lot but as they say, he’ll be better for the run. Maxy is subbed off – he looks proppy after being caught short now a regular occurrence) but if you looked for our bloke who was least effective, it may well have been our captain. We look lethargic towards the end as Swanny racks up a lazy 36. It’s a strangely unsatisfying win in the end but Bucks’ boys won, and Vossy’s lost and that’s the main thing.

Seedsman is showing more poise as the year goes on – he has that Pendlebury-like ability to create more time and space than other players. And I love having Macaffer back – he was the useful spare parts guy in 2010 and now he’s Collingwood’s long-awaited tagger. Marley Williams can burst out of defence and will fill Old Man Johnson’s running shoes if all goes well. Ben Kennedy has a go, Josh Thomas gets better by the game and there’s plenty to like about Kyle Martin. We have a future.

As for the old brigade, Steele was pretty good, but most of the year it has seemed as if he is either playing out of position without his best mate Beams, or he’s not enjoying his footy as much. Or perhaps his casual style is misleading. At the end of this game his possessions are high, and he’s grinning from ear to ear like the Steele of old.

The Q-Stick (unfortunately) bore a striking resemblance to Dawes in the way the ball bounced off his hands when he tried to mark, but I’d still rather have him than the old number 31. Quinten knows how to use his body to help those less-bulky players around him and his ruck work leaves Dawesy’s for dead. Long may he play for us. I thought N Brown was good, against no-one admittedly, but his overhead marking was impressive and he used his body well. Heater was silly too often for mine. And Harry, oh Harry – he led from the front, stuffed up a couple of times, but played a terrific game. I love seeing him prowl across the wing. Jolly was dominant (also against no one), Pendles’ possessions counted, Luke Ball seems to be working his way into his old role, Blair is struggling but that’s possibly because we have a lot of little guys now, and Krakouer’s defensive game was excellent – and his two goal assists were generous. Special mention to Ben Reid who doubled his tally of career goals.

Daisy’s absence has not made my heart grow fonder – let’s face it, apart from a couple of incredible cameo performances he was no good last year. Give me a bunch of guys with unfamiliar numbers who will have a crack and are out to prove themselves – to earn their spot – and I’m happy. We miss Tyson Goldsack. And maybe with Trav – who might have bagged 8 if he was there, and without a full moon – we could have won by 100. But why not keep up the pressure like other teams do? Look at the Cats’ win over the Suns – they were neck and neck at three-quarter time yet the Cats won by 50+. We play the Dees next and while I’m quite sure Neeld will get the boot this coming week and we’ll play red-hot Dees with a caretaker coach, we should be able to beat them comfortably.

We saw glimpses of Buckley’s Brigade, his team of the future, and his game plan. If we can get a couple of better assistant coaches (time for Matty Lappin to go and does anyone believe Rocket’s any good?) then we’ll be great in 2015.

Votes for the Horburgh Medal:

Seedsman: 3

Harry O: 2

McCaffer: 1


I know Swanny was the leading possession getter but his lacklustre efforts in the post-match song annoyed me. I couldn’t give Jolly votes because he had no real opposition, and Steele and Pendles came close.


  1. Hi Andrea,

    I think you’re being a tad hard on Dawes. I too thought it would be worth trying Dawes in the ruck. He did not set the world on fire. However, I had the uneasy feeling he’d been thrown to the wolves – inadequately prepared. I wondered whether he had been given any training for the position.

    Towards the end, although his tap work did not improve, it did seem that his second efforts resulted in clearances off his boot.

    The Footy Bogan

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