AFL Round 16 – Collingwood v Adelaide: Through the looking glass

The Porpoise, the Lyon and Tom Lynch.  It sounds like a Lewis Carroll poem.  Early in the last quarter the Crows have edged to within a kick, yet only have 3 goal kickers – the aforementioned.  Has a side ever won a game of footy with just 3 goal kickers?  Are we about to witness another Pies final quarter fade out?  Let us recap.

The Crows dominate the first quarter.  They seem to be winning the contest all over the ground, and strangely have free passage through the corridor, allowing Porplyzia, Lyons and Tom Lynch to take full advantage.  The Pies backline is in disarray trying to combat the onslaught.  They are constantly caught out of position.  Porplyzia is proving to be a handful and is rediscovering his form of several years ago (when he should have been All-Australian); the youngster Lyons has taken us by surprise, and ex-Saint Lynch is continuing his good form.  I can see how he booted 10 a few weeks ago, albeit against GWS.  He is tall enough to be a key but is also nimble for his size.  Brownlow fancy Dangerfield, while not dominating, is showing his class and sheer pace; a decisive centre break where he streams forward with a long kick to the goal square results in a mark and goal to the Porpoise.  Just seconds before the quarter time siren the erratic Sinclair turns the ball over in defence and gives Lynch his second major and the Crows have a 25 point buffer.

As per last week Ben Reid is switched to the forward line and has immediate impact taking some strong marks and kicking 2 goals.  Cloke is marking everything in sight, but is having trouble converting.  In response the Crows find another opportunistic goal from the Porpoise who snaps a beauty over his shoulder after Heath Shaw tries to clear the ball in a pack in order to not be pinned for holding the ball (which is back in vogue this week).  The magician Krakouer then ignites the Pies with 3 goals including one snap around his body where he doesn’t even look at the goals.  Pure instinct.  The Pies midfielders are clearly on top with Swan, Pendlebury, Ball, Dwyer and Sidebottom getting plenty of it.  Beams seems to be getting better and better as the game progresses.  For Adelaide, Dangerfield is obviously favouring a sore shoulder after a first quarter collision with Dwyer.  Crouch and Douglas are Adelaide’s best but tellingly Thompson is having a quiet one.  The Pies continue to take control in the third term with some running goals, firstly from Sidebottom and then from the left boot of exciting defender Marley Williams.  Ball intercepts a handball from the 50 metre line and kicks truly as well.  He is back to his best.  The Pies are now 25 points ahead.  Cloke has perhaps 10-12 shots at goal but can only register 2 majors.  He could have wrapped up the Coleman.  He is also denied by the umpires after another contested mark in the goal square.  We all look up to the scoreboard for the replay, “perhaps it was in the back,” I utter to the lads unconvincingly.

Just when the game seems a foregone conclusion the lively Jarryd Lyons kicks a couple before the three-quarter time siren.  The trend continues early in the last with the Crows edging to within a few points.  “They want this more than us,” I utter to the lads.  What follows is a classy left foot snap under pressure from Swan and a virtuoso performance from Pendlebury – 13 possessions and 2 goals in the final term to get the Pies home comfortably in the end.  Late in the game, Cloke is once again denied by the men in lime, this time after using what is deemed to be a two-actioned push to fend off his opponent.  Imagine if this rule was in place during the Dunstall and Lockett era.  Those legends would have been denied hundreds of goals.  A communal chant of “bullshit” erupts around the stadium.

COLLINGWOOD     2.2     9.5    13.6      17.9 (111)

ADELAIDE                6.3     8.7    10.11   12.12 (84)



Collingwood: Krakouer 3, Reid 2, Cloke 2, Macaffer 2, Pendlebury 2, Swan 2, Witts, Ball, Sidebottom, Williams

Adelaide: Lyons 4, Lynch 4, Porplyzia 3, Douglas



Collingwood: Pendlebury, Swan, Ball, Beams, Dwyer, Williams, Sidebottom

Adelaide: Lynch, Lyons, Crouch, Henderson, Douglas, Porplyzia


Umpires: McBurney, Stevic, Stewart


Official crowd: 54,790 at the MCG

Malarkey Medal: 3 Pendlebury 2 Swan 1 Ball

About Damian Balassone

Damian Balassone is a failed half-forward flanker who writes poetry. He is the author of 'Strange Game in a Strange Land'.


  1. The time has come…but who is the walrus? And as for the cabbages?

  2. DBalassone says

    The Walrus has to be the Porpoise, similar in nature. The Carpenter is the workman-like Tom Lynch. “Cabbages and Kings” refers to Cloke’s kicking and marking” respectively.

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Great stuff Damian. How much better do we look with Ball and Beams both back in the midfield. As you point out, Krakouer is the magician. He has lost a yard but only needs a few touches to cause some damage.

  4. DBalassone says

    Cheers Luke. Indeed Ball and Beams are like new recruits. Like the look of Swan, Pendles, Sidey, Ball, Beams, Blair, Dwyer et al rotating through the middle.

  5. Pies have to get the backline more settled and composed to be any serious threat. Heater needs to find his ADD medication and unfortunately Sinclair’s whoopsies outweight his dash and carry. Maxwell is up and down, now they’re looking to bring in Keeffe after a year out.

    Marley Williams has been a good find though, been desperate for a smaller defensive backman with a dose of the Stan Magro’s.

  6. DBalassone says

    Agree with you Jeff. Williams is a fast, tough unit and a good option for the small forwards. Sinclair is a risky proposition down back because of his poor kicking skills. Had to laugh at the amount of arguing between Maxwell and Shaw. The frustrating thing is both of those guys are very hard to beat one-one-one if they actually stay on their opponents. Heath Shaw is a damn good contested mark. The inclusion of Keeffe and/or Goldsack is necessary if Reid is going to be the swing man from here on.

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