AFL Round 10 – Collingwood v West Coast: From disdain to perspicacity (or footy as the Antipodia atralba butterfly)

“Disdain, for all its censorious pretension, is an emotion that can afford a certain clarity. Thomas Balfour watched his friend drain his glass and snap his fingers for another round, and was scornful – and then his scorn gave way to mistrust, and his mistrust to perspicacity.”
– Eleanor Catton, “The Luminaries” p76

The Black and White Skipper (Antipodia atralba) is a butterfly of the Hesperiidae family. It is found along the coast of Victoria and South Australia. This evening’s game, from this Collingwood view, was as the life cycle of the Black and White Skipper.

Part 1 – Eggs
Pre-game; the eggs are laid.

The tram and the sudden concentration of people and there’s our local candidate for the imminent State election taking a seat and in North Fitzroy a couple touching holding caressing step aboard and eyes are averting this very public display of amorousness and overheard plans of the fella behind “yeah, nah, I’m going to the footy now. Yeah, later. I’ll be in town. Yeah, nah, the Champion’s League final. Nah, starts at 5am. Yeah. The Dickens or the casino. Yeah.” and a there’s a top hat outside the Windsor and a bridal party assembles outside the Treasury and it’s Moreton Bay figs of the Treasury gardens and it’s Eucalyptus camaldulensis and two ducks and a reminder of my undying affection for Leunig and recognizing this difference from Sean and now people in black and white are building towards a common destination and another wedding party assembles at the Fitzroy Gardens conservatory and marvelling at the foresight in establishing such a place as the Fitzroy Gardens and is there a better approach to a world sporting venue than to walk through Fitzroy Gardens (where she took my hand) and into Yarra Park and now chill is in the air and the light towers rise and the marionette puppeteers’ struts rise and it’s down the hill and it’s Shirley Strickland exploding from the blocks in statue form and I’ve met FP at the Bill Woodfull gate alongside the Ron Barassi statue and also the Leigh Matthews statue and aware of a generous smattering of gold and blue amid the black and white and aware of J Kennedy’s bag last outing and aware of N Brown’s return today from shoulder dislocation and aware of the pain felt each repeated time my own shoulder pops after first popping it in a cricket semi final (diving at short cover and landing heavily).
Eggs are laid. Game day. D Beams 100 games today. He’s won a flag and a best and fairest in there; built well to the point of having both dependability and dash. A good one to have in yer team.


Part 2 – Caterpillar
The caterpillar form of this game lasted for the first half. An open running affair, reminiscent more of basketball than of football. Eagles chipping with possession footy. Collingwood bombing long and losing possession, losing defensively and with a barely functioning forward line. A wriggly, squirming, unfashionable thing, waiting only to change; such are the vicissitudes of life.

Opening bounce and J Blair roves like K Bartlett, kicks like D Pritchard to a leading J Dunstall but instead to J White and it’s a goal in 42 seconds and then it’s S Pendlebury to T Goldsack for a goal and it’s two in three minutes before J Frost flagrantly uses the wild elbow to fend off M Priddis and it’s a free kick and 50 and a goal. Loose men across half back for both sides.
It’s a loose, wriggling formless critter of a game. Loose men everywhere.
Yet forward lines are at times devoid of players. Forwards are leading absurdly backwards towards goal. Footy will evolve out of this soon. It’s like a full court basketball press.
E Yeo boots one from the three-point line.
A Fasolo from full back hits D Cox laces out. It’s 13-20.
From the ball up the onballers kick to leads ON THE WING. Going sideways to maintain possession. It’s a basketball caterpillar, abstemious in its plainness.
Collingwood forces it forward where J Blair bananas from the Harmes pocket. Goal. And J Witts performs a grand pick up and goal.
J Darling sets it up where N Naitanui crashes the pack, S Wellingham roves and goals.
D Swan to J Elliott to D Beams in his 100th game (“He won’t miss”). Goal.
It’s a very open West Coast forward line where J Cripps marks and goals.
1QT (Disdain)
COL 5.0.30
WCE 5.2.32

J Kennedy mark and goal.
B Macaffer curling snap goal.
A WA state flag sighted at the Punt Rd end.
Open play rebounds to J Blair who baulks with the composure of R Flower and goals.
And pass pass pass chip spoil pass goal to J Hill.
Long range bomb from S Hurn. 43-51.
J Cripps slots a soft goal lurking unmanned at the back of the pack.
HT (Scorn)
COL 7.3.45
WCE 9.5.59


Part 3 – Chrysalis
A change came over the game in the third quarter. The game tightened up. T Goldsack to defence, A Fasolo to attack. The basketball possession style game which requires a lot of energy, died out. Tackles and smothers and a contested game broke out. A change.

J Witts the goal assist as L “Nugget” Ball gets the important first goal.
Some welcome back half pressure swings the ball to S Pendlebury to J Blair; goal.
Better. It’s still a free running game. No pressure. Tackling.
M Priddis and his shimmering perm slot a goal but the change is on. It’s tightening up.
Amid this constriction, J Hill is allowed a soft mark and goal.

S Pendlebury performs the imperious reverse torp (ball nestling against the instep of the foot on point of contact), yet the senses are jarred by an unfamiliar Eagles chant at the Richmond end.
L “Nugget” Ball loses his head. No free.
Shortly thereafter and 100metres north, L “Nugget” Ball tackles and gets the free for holding the ball.
Sets it up. A Fasolo has gone forward, roves and snaps the goal.
And now H Lumumba is taken too high.
Sets it up. S Sidebottom has gone forward, roves and snaps the goal. 69-75.
With a set shot D Cox remarkably hits both goal posts.
3QT (Mistrust)
COL 11.4.70
WCE 11.10.76


Part 4 – Butterfly (the Black and White Skipper)
The final magical part of this evening was apparent from the beginning. The marauding gypsy troupe of mid-fielders had, in the absence of a reputable defence and in the absence of a functioning forward line, decided to win the game themselves. Run and carry and goagaingoagaingoagain. Beautiful.

A decisive start.
T Cloke mis-times his lead to D Swan. Messy entries.
Yet J Elliott swoops fast and goals; like a bird of prey. He’s agile. And he can fly. An osprey.
J “Osprey” Elliott has that goagaingoagaingoagain quality.
D Swan to S Pendlebury (black and white skipper) who saunters in for the ME Waugh on-drive equivalent of a goal and it’s 84-76.
The Collingwood chant is up.
N Naitanui demonstrates the closing speed of a cheetah.
J Cripps snaps a goal. 84-82.
D Cox marks and re-takes the lead. 84-88.
Collingwood’s undermanned back line is weak, with both J Frost and N Brown being lost to injury this night. The forward line ain’t working.
Midfield troupe has to do the lot.
They can.
D Beams snaps from a L “Nugget” Ball handball in and under. 90-88.
Scramble T Langdon to D Swan to J “Osprey” Elliott goagaingoagaingoagain goal. 97-88.
S Hurn sharks the kick from H Lumumba and goals from 55. 97-94.
D Swan to B Grundy who’s whacked across the schnozz. 50m. Goal. 103-94.
J “Osprey” Elliott around the corner to T Cloke. Goal. 109-95.
J Darling goals despite the goal review circus.109-101.

FT (Perspicacity)

Grand to watch the game with my sister FP this day. Last week she herself performed. Having never run far before, and certainly not in front of other people, she had entered the 6km leg of the Great Ocean Road run. The day arrived. She was in the street at Apollo Bay. And a little overcome to have made it to the starting line. That was big. But six kilometres later, she’d done it. Goal set. Goal achieved. Well played FP. Having a crack.

Collingwood 5.0 7.3 11.4   17.17.109
West Coast   5.2 9.5 11.10   15.11.101
Collingwood: J Blair 3, D Beams 2, J Elliott 2, S Pendlebury, S Sidebottom, B Macaffer, T Goldsack, L Ball, A Fasolo, B Grundy, J Witts, T Cloke, J White
West Coast: J Cripps 3, M Priddis 2, D Cox 2, S Hurn 2, J Hill 2, S Wellingham, J Darling, E Yeo, J Kennedy
Collingwood: S “ME Waugh” Pendlebury, L “Nugget” Ball, J “Osprey” Elliott, D Beams, J Blair
West Coast: M Priddis, S Selwood, J Cripps, A Gaff, D Glass

Malarkey Votes:
3 ME Waugh,
2 Nugget,
1 Osprey

About David Wilson

David Wilson is a hydrologist, climate reporter and writer of fiction & observational stories. 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 shares the care of two daughters and likes to walk around feeling generally amazed. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.


  1. You failed to mention the proliferation of maggots in the last quarter. They dropped their neutral tone and adopted the black and white markings favoured by the 53,000 baying lepidopterists.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks OBP a superb comparison . S Pendlebury and M Waugh spot on the elite some how seem to have so much more time than the mere mortal . Maxwell again v good continues to shove it up the knockers . What I like about Collingwood is that they have actually recruited aiming for the holy grail while I disagree re Scharenburg v Aish at least it is with a purpose of needing the utility swing man he can really play but injuries have always been a question point . Great point of the game seeming to have several different styles while I couldn’t watch closely as I was selling raffle tickets I did notice that a good win against adversity by the pies thanks OBP

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Great stuff David. The black and white skipper- I have a new favourite butterfly. The other black and white skipper (number 10) is wonderful to watch, his goal/ME Waugh on-drive comparison very accurate.

  4. The Grundy is the new award
    The pestiferous butterfly escapes the net, with the help of his gentle friend the umpire.
    A good game marred by the result

  5. I thought this report was going to be about the ugly caterpillar turning into a beautiful butterfly. Or the life cycle of Nick Maxwell.

    What’s the last thing on a butterfly’s mind when it hits the windscreen?

  6. E.regnans says

    “Is the whore’s praxis not the original arcana?” (The Luminaries).

  7. ER – Please explain. We didn’t do Latin at Yorketown Area School.

  8. E.regnans says

    Ahh, PB. Sharing some learning from literature there.
    Turns out it’s English.
    This Eleanor Catton won the recent Booker Prize for her book “The Luminaries”. That’s my book-of-the-moment. Ms. Catton is a young kiwi and her book is a cracker.
    I’m trying to keep track of the new words to my vocabulary as I come across them, but it’s becoming tiring.
    That short sentence earned reference as it included TWO new words.
    Homework to use them each in your own sentence.

  9. E.regnans says

    enjoyed this passage, too:

    “Gascoigne bowed. Rising from the bow, he let his gaze linger upon her, relishing the sight – for Lydia Wells was a woman of ample beauty, and a pleasure to behold. She was perhaps forty years of age, though she might have been a mature-seeming thirty, or a youthful fifty; the precise figure she would not disclose. She had entered that indeterminate period of middle age that always seems to call attention to its own indeterminacy, for when Lydia was girlish, that girlishness was made all the more visible by the fact of her age, and when she was wise, her wisdom was all the more impressive for having been produced in one so young.”

  10. Stop with the high brow literary references ER. I watch the Book Show too. Any book that is thicker and taller than a Steeple at Warrnambool is not for me.
    About to start on Almanacker Tony Birch’s “The Promise” – gritty imaginative SHORT stories about blokes and redemption. That’s my milieu and my attention span. Will write a review for the Knackery. Cheers.

  11. E.regnans says

    how’s this one? (The Luminaries, again).
    p142 “For although a man is judged by his actions, by what he has said and done, a man judges himself by what he is willing to do, by what he might have said, or might have done – a judgement that is necessarily hampered, not only by the scope and limits of his imagination, but by the ever-changing measure of his doubt and self-esteem.”

  12. Crikey ER, was she paid by the word of sponsored by the Spine Binders Guild? “The bloke was a mug to himself, and a fool to others.”
    Says it all more concisely in words we can all understand. Next.
    The Footy Almanac can fit 132 games; 9 finals; a rock star intro; a long ramble from Harms; and pages of Gigs arcana into less space than HCatton consumes.
    Stick that up your praxis and smoke it.

  13. E.regnans says

    Great snakes!
    Beautifully done, PB.
    Beautifully done.

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