AFL Round 16 – Gold Coast v Collingwood: When footy really is the winner

JTH on a cracking Suns-Pies match, which has prompted some thought about interchange. (Of which moment in Australian history is the photo reminiscent?)

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About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. Cat from the Country says

    Good summary. I did not watch the game, however I saw it in my imagination reading your column.
    JTH can you please tell GFC to play like that?
    All players in 1/4 of the ground is ridiculous and frees are missed due to the congestion.
    Fading in third quarter won’t seem them through the finals.

  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    “the situation demanded the cavalier quest for victory (a great intangible), not fearful bureaucartic, measurable risk-minimisation. And finally, it rewarded the courage and skill that has been central to the game forever.” More of this please. Nice one JTH.

  3. Cats are battling.

    But there are good signs. Thought Travis was OK yesterday. Duncan good. Caddy will continue to improve. etc

    Perhaps they should select 18 players for next week – in a bold move.

  4. Amen Pastor, Amen.
    Your article continues a couple of themes you raised on the brilliant Podcast a couple of weeks ago. Footy is at its best when its the players game.
    Media and our search for messiahs/authority figures has turned it into the Coaches Game. Let them control their teams by all means, but they should have bugger all say in controlling the game.
    The constant focus is on their every utterance, when in truth they are just Gai and Tom “talking their book”.
    The idea that needs to get a much wider run in the Almanac and footy community is the obviously brilliant (or brilliantly obvious?) suggestion of Tinsel Tony Wilson to get rid of runners.
    Soccer and the rugby codes thrive without them. Players can take back messages to team mates when they come off for their constant rotations.
    It forces players and team leaders to hold strategic ideas in their heads for longer than the time since the last quarter time break or spray from the runner.
    Who knows what the players might do if they had more control and independence. It might be brilliant like the Suns on Saturday night.
    Is Tinsel up for the Umpires Coaching job, as his podcast ideas on directions for the game were all brilliant? Or better, Gillon’s job? Or better still, an Almanac article spelling them out from an ex-almost player’s perspective.

  5. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great summary JTH and yes it will be part of , Gold Coast footy folklore for ever a victory for old fashioned guts and glory where logic said the pies should run away with it but didn’t and then ironically a poor error from , Young to help decide game .
    Totally agree re getting rid of runners thanks , JTH

  6. Skip of Skipton says

    Was it not Collingwood who pioneered the 100+ rotation tactic circa 2010?
    Quite ironic it should be them who get rolled by a team with no interchange.

  7. After reading your description of the last quarter, I feel the need to now go and watch the replay. I look forward to seeing some old fashioned footy.

  8. Simon Willcox says

    Having missed the game
    now feel I had seen it
    Thanks JT

  9. jth, Collingwood got beaten in a new and entirely humbling way. Good. And you make some solid sense of the event and loved the ref to Lemnos and Shepp United. I liked Lemnos because they played right across the road and as a kid I delighted in the foul language that drifted up from that Princess Park. I blew the handbasin off the wall in the public dunnies there once with a tri-wrap of penny bungers during a game. Not everyone was as adept with explosives at such a young age. (Though I did blow my brother’s finger off later that year) Shards of porcelain went everywhere and it smelled like… victory and burning turd. Only it wasn’t. The Swans were pantsed by Mooroopna.
    Sorry, I’m getting distracted. My question to you is: why have you chosen to ignore the greatest injustice of the modern era of footy? Pies vs Suns?? Meanwhile, back in Victoria, The Cats laid 129 tackles (J Bartel laid about 7000 himself) for a total of zero, nada, zilch, nil, sfa, free kicks for holding/dropping/chucking/ or whatever the free is for these days. Call me Copernicus (I note Maurice Newman compared himself to Galileo for denying climate change on the weekend, so, yeah call me Copernicus) but that’s not possible in an anthropocentric universe.
    All my love. But don’t duck the big issues. And go back to skivvies, you can’t rock a collar like Barrass did.

  10. Peter Schumacher says

    Currently in Moscow, think that I will have a lie down after having had huge row with a taxi driver the highlight being that I didn’t understand him, nor him, me.

    I will drift off thinking of what I missed out on this week. I reckon that this contribution should be framed and sent to Gillon

  11. Come on ,the Swans and Eagles laid 198 tackles between them for 25 free kicks. That means that 1 in 8 was the kind of tackle, on a wet day,too that stuck, pinned an arm,dropped a player to the deck so that they looked as though they weren’t making an effort to dispose of the ball, caused them to let go one-handed or any of the other peripheral frees that umpires pay these days.Some were straightforward.And some were not paid. Eric and Lance should have given away 25 each.But that’s the way it goes sometimes

  12. AJC, a gross oversight on my behalf. But I’m taking it one enlightenment at a time. How can those who administer the game not see what is going on in law-making, law-enforcement etc. The principles are here, there and everywhere. The umpies are all over the place. What will persuade those charged with the responsibility? A graph of number of tackles v time before the whistle is blown? Or more green olives in their martinis?

    Next week: tackling, holding the ball, and other mysteries.

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