AFL Round 18: Pies win despite leaving kicking boots at home

By Steve Healy

Another Saturday had come and I was off to the MCG for Collingwood v Brisbane. Going to the MCG at night is always an incredible experience. I was at the footy with my friend Tim, his Dad and brother and his brother’s friend. With the general admission ticket, I manage to snaffle some seats behind the goals at the Punt Rd end.
The Lions kick to that end in the opening quarter, courtesy of Jonathon Brown winning the toss.  The game gets underway and the crowd roar. Swan almost kicks a brilliant goal in the opening minutes but the dribbling ball hits the inside of the woodwork. Daniel Merrett, who started forward, kicks the first of the game with a similar kick to Swan’s. But instead of clipping the post, it just avoids it. Jonathon Brown starts to have an impact on the game. He marks inside 50, goals and then takes a contested mark at the top of the square and bangs it through. The Lions have three on the board, and Brown is having an influence on the game. He is a great player to watch.

As the quarter wears on I am seeing a Brisbane outfit that always seems to have the wood over Collingwood. But Brisbane don’t have the Wood anymore, in one sense, since they traded him to Collingwood at the end of 2007. Jason Roe, the late inclusion, drops a mark deep in defence which Dale Thomas swoops on to and soccers through for the Magpies’ first. Brown kicks his third to put the margin back out to 16 points. The Pies don’t give in, though. Medhurst kicks Collingwood’s second and it is game on. He has the chance to kick another shortly after, but just misses. Its quarter time and Collingwood trail 2.4 (16) to 4.1 (25).

The second quarter begins with a couple of Jonathon Brown blemishes on the scoreboard. It’s clear that Collingwood are trying to force him out wide to make him mark the ball in harder positions. Tim and I are amazed at how many Dream Team points he has. The Magpies kick a few behinds in a row before Leon Davis is gifted a free kick directly in front of goal. The margin is back to two points.

The Magpies gain momentum. Thomas kicks his second, by weaving his way out of trouble before snapping a brilliant goal. Davis misses, and then momentum shifts again. Brown kicks his third point from 50 out on a tight angle but then almost straight after he kicks one from an identical spot.

The Leigh Brown v Jonathon Brown battle has been an interesting one, a match-up only happening because Prestigiacomo came off in the first term. Sherman kicks a great running goal and then from the bounce it comes back down the Lions’ end to Rischitelli, who squeezes through another one. The half-time siren sounds and it’s the Lions by 14 points, 4.8 (32) to 7.4 (46). Major ball winners for Collingwood are Pendlebury and Swan, who have 17 and 16 possessions respectively. For Brisbane Black has 15, and McGrath and MacDonald have 14 apiece.

The third quarter gets under way and Collingwood immediately look like a sharper team. Anthony kicks one as straight as an arrow which sails through the big sticks. Leon Davis misses as does Sherman, and Swan snaps one that also goes astray of the goal face.

But what happens next is amazing. Jaxson Barham runs from half-back to the wing, moustache and long hair moving wildly. The crowd groans as he stuffs up the kick to the extreme. But Leon is clever enough to not make this ugly. He runs inside 50 with youngster James Hawksley hot on his tail. He gives it off to Swan who gives it back to Leon. Davis snaps it through for goal of the day. I prove to Tim that Swan doesn’t always get cheap possessions. Barham kicks a point but chaos is cooked up from the kick in. Dale Thomas lays a tackle and follows up with a goal. Goals from Pendlebury and last week’s rising star nomination Beams sees the Pies 20 points up at three-quarter time, 9.14 (68) to 7.6 (48). The Pies could have been further in front but have been quite inaccurate. Scott Pendlebury has 27 possessions and Swan 24. Simon Black leads for Brisbane with 20.

Collingwood continue their dominance in the last quarter. Didak kicks a great bouncing goal in front of me in the stands. Collingwood start wasting more opportunities. Jon Brown gets a free kick at the other end for Brisbane which gets the Collingwood mob booing. He kicks his fifth, but the Lions are still 23 points astray. O’Bree kicks a good goal to put it beyond doubt (if it wasn’t already). Presti comes back on the ground after being poleaxed by Brown in the first quarter. He goes forward for the first time in his career (that I can remember anyway) and looks better than usual and he is getting much more of the ball. He has a shot at goal but “kicks it like a defender”, a phrase that has been said so many times. He has kicked onlythree goals in his 213-game career. Beams kicks his second to put the margin out to 38 points. When the siren sounds it’s the Pies by 40, 12.23 (95) to 8.7 (55) — 35 scoring shots to 12. Collingwood’s room for improvement would definitely be kicking at goal, they didn’t score more goals than behind in any four quarters.

Pendlebury ended up with 36 possessions and Swan also got 36 (which happens to be his number). It’s the third time he has gotten 36 possessions in his career, the previous two being against West Coast. I’m amazed at Swan’s consistency. He has averaged 32.94 possessions this year. McGrath led possessions for Brisbane with 29 and Black 27.

It was a good game to go to, and sometimes it’s good to be the neutral supporter.

Collingwood  2.4  4.8 9.14 12.23 (95)
Brisbane 4.1  7.4  7.6  8.7 (55)

Collingwood: Thomas 3, Davis 2, Beams 2, Didak, Medhurst, Anthony, Pendlebury, O’Bree.
Brisbane: Brown 5, Sherman, Merrett, Rischitelli.

Collingwood: Swan, Pendlebury, Davis, Didak, Thomas, Beams.
Brisbane: Brown, McGrath, Black, Sherman, MacDonald, Drummond, Rich.

My Votes: 3. Dane Swan (Coll), 2. Scott Pendlebury (Coll), 1. Leon Davis (Coll).

Umpires: Vozzo, Grun, Chamberlain. Crowd: 47,268 at the MCG.

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.

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