AFL Round 15 – Collingwood v Carlton : A Cold Night’s Entertainment.

written by Dave Nadel for the Floreat Pica Society

A couple of preliminary remarks before I get to the actual game.

The attendance at last night’s match was 40,936. You couldn’t help noticing the empty seats all around the ground. Even where I sit in the Ponsford, where most of the seats are pre-purchased in October the previous year, more than half the supporters decided to stay home and watch the game on TV. It was the smallest Collingwood Carlton crowd at the MCG since 1921. I have been to games at both Victoria Park and Princes Park in the 60s and 70s with larger crowds.

Obviously the fact that the weather had been lousy all weekend didn’t help the attendance figures but the main reason seemed to be that people don’t want to go the footy on Sunday night. It may be the school holidays today but that is no help to people who had to go work at eight or nine this morning. I suspect that this will be the last time that Pie and Blue fans will be asked to go to Sunday night match on a Sunday preceding a working day.

The second preliminary comment was one made by my mate Peter before the match. He pointed out to me that this was the weakest defence line-up that The Pies had fielded this year. We were missing Maxwell, Williams, Langdon, Brown and Reid. Perhaps we shouldn’t count Brown who has been pretty well replaced by Frost, or Reid who should probably play up forward when fit (replacing the disappointing White) but the other three were very much missed and I hope they will be back for Collingwood’s next four games, all of which are against teams with good small and medium forwards.

The game began with goals by Judd for them and Ball for us. So the first two goals were scored by two of the top three draft picks of 2001 – neither of whom was playing for the club that had initially drafted them. I am sure there is a trivia question in there somewhere. Pendlebury scored the next two goals; one of them was a beauty as Pendles found space where none existed. Three more goals followed and the Pies went in at quarter time with a five goal lead and the Blues playing as a demoralised team. Most of our midfielders were playing really well and one of my favourite players, Sam Dwyer from South Warrnambool, was on track to win three Horsbrough vote.

Then Mick reorganised the Blues and some of our players got cold or tired (or in Elliott’s case) injured and Collingwood spent the remaining three quarters trying to give the game back to Carlton. Fortunately Carlton weren’t good enough to take it. Apart from Judd, Yarran and Gibbs, most of their players were even clumsier and more inconsistent than ours (both sides kicked appallingly). Their best player, Murphy, was receiving his second bath this season from the wonderful Caff.

Swan, Pendlebury, Beams and Adams continued to offer something in the second half (although Adams’ disposal and decision making needs a lot of work) and Sidebottom and Lumumba actually improved their output as the game progressed but far too many players were missing. Dwyer managed to maintain reasonable form until halfway through the third quarter which was at least a quarter longer than Blair or Young.

Kennedy played really well when subbed on for Elliott. The kid has genuine speed and perhaps could be selected in place of Josh Thomas who, as Mal has already indicated, had a real shocker last night.

Any victory against the traditional enemy is to be savoured but we will have to play a lot better than we did last night if we are to beat teams like Gold Coast let alone Port Adelaide or Hawthorn.

Michael Horsbrough Medal

3 Votes. Steele Sidebottom.

I have given Horsborough votes twice this season and both times Sidey got three votes. I don’t have a man crush on him. I just happen to have reported on his two best games this season. It wasn’t just the fact that he won more possessions than anyone else on the ground and laid more tackles than anyone else than Pendles. It was the clever way he used the ball. He doesn’t have the penetration with his kicking of Young or Beams but his placement and positioning of his kicks was terrific. And he continued to improve as his teammates dropped off. His second goal in the final minutes of the game ended any possibility of Blues victory.

2 Votes Jarrod Witts

Witts may not have won as many tap outs as Warnock but he dominated him around the ground and was clearly the most significant big man in the game. It has taken a few years but I think Jarrod has finally arrived.

1 Vote Brent Macaffer

Another great tagging effort by the best blanket the club has had in years. The Carlton Captain is a much better and more inspiring player than the aging Judd or the slower Gibbs. Caff basically removed him from the equation as he has with so many top opposition players this season.

Honourable mentions: Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan, Sam Dwyer, Heritier Lumumba.


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks David Good write up totally agree re Maxwell needed back as good a organizer and leader in the comp and Langdon has been fantastic . Sidebottom again was superb after his spell . At least it will be it of the idiotic , Sunday night time slot .
    Not Eddies finest hour complaining about the time slot of a game a area where the pies get more than a fair go . Murphy not good being tagged must work harder . Interesting your votes not sure that 2 many would have left , Pendlebury out

  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Good stuff Dave. You are right about the defence. They are doing well under the circumstances. Can we rely on Reid seeing that he is so injury prone? Witts did some nice things and is gaining confidence. Jesse White is looking like a younger version of Q Lynch, doesn’t do enough. Is Blair doing enough to get a game? Crowd-wise it was no Collingwood Caliphate. Was it just the night and time-slot or is it something more?

  3. Dave Nadel says

    Malcolm – The Age gave Pendles votes, 774 commentators didn’t. Of course he was brilliant at times, he always is, but I thought that he was quieter during the middle part of the game. The problem with Eddie’s complaint was not so much that the Pies get a fairly good go with the draw, the problem was that the Sunday night fiasco was sacrificing fans of both clubs to the “needs” of television, and Eddie usually supports such things himself.

    Phil – I don’t know that we can rely on Reid because of his fitness but we have to hope we can because we need a second tall forward to take the pressure off Cloke and White isn’t doing the job. Looking at the injury and slow recovery rates of both Reid brothers I wonder if “Reid” is the Anglo-Saxon word for injury prone.

    I think the lack of crowd was due to the time, day and the weather although it would be interesting to see how many would have come if Carlton had actually been as good as they said they were at the start of the season.

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