AFL Round 15: Magpies add to the Tower of Wins

By Carolyn Straford

It’s Friday night, I’m in Ivanhoe, in front of a large old-fashioned television. It isn’t a plasma nor an LCD screen but it’s big and it will do. The heater is on and The Beverley Hillbillies are the curtain-raiser. Odd, yes I know, but what is to follow may be even stranger, but I will speak more of that later. On Jaci’s menu is what looks to be a mutant roast chicken with lots of roast vegies and a raspberry cream sponge for dessert, interspersed with pre-dinner drinks and a nice Italian white.
On the couch are myself, a Hawthorn supporter (still recovering from our humiliating thrashing at the hands of the Bulldogs), and two Pies supporters,  Jaci and Brian my housemate. And although I’ve tipped the Bulldogs I really want to see the Pies win (God forgive me). The Pies are in their best form of this season but the spectre of a goalless first half haunts me. All I can hope for is a game as good as first versus second last week.
Collingwood comes out to play from the start unlike the way the Hawks started last week so that is a good sign. A goal to Dale Thomas, Pendlebury, Neon Leon, Toovey and Johnson and the goal spread throughout the team is not only great to see but reassuring.  Jason Akermanis manages to give away a free and a fifty-metre penalty in the first quarter which pleases Jaci as she reveals her hatred of the once sensational player who is probably past his prime but is still an accurate kick and all-round handy man to have in your side. Her memory is elephantine when it comes to the damage he inflicted on the Pies in both recent grand finals. By the time the second quarter came around the Bulldogs had decided to come out fighting by bagging the first two goals but Collingwood retained control with Harry O’Brien standing tall in defence and running like a prancing horse, or so Jaci says.
At half-time the raspberry cream sponge is broken out and we admire Jaci’s Tower of Wins; an impressive but precarious looking tower of videos of all Collingwood’s wins for the season so far. We stand back in quiet contemplation as if it’s an abstract sculpture but not for too long as after half-time a transformation takes place and I find I am enduring a much less peaceful and relaxing time on the couch.
Research appears to have shown that sporting spectators with their brains monitored are in fact playing the game in their brains as if they are really physically playing it. The areas in their brain that would be lit up if they were running around playing whatever said sport are in fact still lit up even though they are not. So while the three of us were watching the game in a reasonably calm and sedate fashion for the first half, except for Jaci’s half-choked encouragements, by the second half we are fully enduring her playing every kick, passing handballs and trying to take marks. The game is no longer just contained in her brain.
Luckily she is in the middle of the couch and Brian is providing ballast at the opposite end but the game is becoming tighter with patches of very scrambly play that elicits some erratic moves from Jaci, leaving me with a bruised calf and a green-stick fracture in the back of my left hand. Somehow Leon Davis ‘happens’, Alan Didak makes a brilliant run down the wing and the Collingwood defence of Harry, Maxwell and Presti  remains solid and reliable.
By the 4th quarter the Dogs are playing like men possessed and Jaci is fully on the field with the Pies, trying to help them out. My reflexes are getting a work-out too, ducking, dodging and trying to weave all while I’m sitting on the couch trying to watch the game. Robert Murphy is a stand-out and the Pies appear to continuously kick the ball to Brian Lake. John Anthony simply doesn’t have the strength to move him. As the Bulldogs close in on Collingwood Jaci can’t stand it and exits the couch to clear some dishes. “Phew,” I sigh and attend to a few bruises and other scuff marks, checking that Brian is OK, but being the ballast he is a deadweight, relaxed as ever and a bruise-free zone. I try to get my breath back after her last hip and shoulder as she plonks herself back down on the couch in time to see Daisy kick the sealer and Ryan Griffen get a gift for the Dogs, but it’s not enough with only seventeen seconds to spare and the Pies win by a point.


  1. Ed Kosmac says

    Admittedly a good game to watch, but a staunch Hawthorn supporter stooping to the levels of being a Collingwood match observer and journalist…..? :-)
    Despite Australia’s wayward performance I would’ve thought the Ashes more a comfort to you.
    By the way, should we drop Mitchell Johnson?

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