AFL Round 2 – Sydney v Collingwood: Bring ’em home Bucks

written for the Floreat Pica Society by Andrea McNamara 

Let me take you back to Round 13, 2005. Nathan Buckley has missed the first twelve games, and his comeback match is against the Swans at ANZ Stadium. The Pies are in football wilderness and Sydney will go on to win the grand final.

The match was unexpectedly close. The Pies had been plucky but time was against us. Someone took someone out – I remember Rhyce Shaw, my badge man, being involved – and play was stopped. Buckley, the General, marshalled his troops. I got a text from a footy friend in Melbourne: Bring em home bucks. And he almost did. In the end, I think it was Tadhg Kennelly who streamed out of defence and booted the Swans’ winning goal. We lost by a point but there was a glimmer of hope: Bucks wasn’t done, and as a team, it looked like perhaps we were on the long road back.

So here I am, nine seasons later, sitting at ANZ waiting for my mates to arrive, and it’s about 45 minutes to the bounce. Since the insipid effort against Freo I’ve been dreading this game, dreading the inevitable Buddy Show, thinking it might be time to improve my life–footy balance and keep Collingwood at arm’s length for a little while. You know, just to revive my enthusiasm and make me miss it a bit. Keep the Legends membership but not feel compelled to go every week. Just while we rebuild and find a game plan that anyone understands.

Anyway, I’m sitting here, and I suddenly remember that gutsy effort in 2005. And some other unlikely wins up here over the years, including Round 20 last year. I reach for my phone, go to Footytips and change my selection. Pies to win. It’s 7.08 pm.

Flash forward to quarter time. We’ve been OK. But we were in the game to quarter time in Round 1 and look what happened. I like the close attention paid by the Iceman to the strutting Buddy but Swanny and Pendles have had about 5 possessions between them and everyone knows this game must be won in the midfield. Maxy is directing the traffic down back and H is rebounding everything that comes his way (not to great effect but he’s definitely on). The Swans are not great either but they’re 11 points up.

The second quarter is where it gets interesting. We seem to play better even though our skills are awful. Luke Ball sends a shot on goal out on the full.

But Pendles is willing himself, Buckley-style, into the game. Time stands still, just for him. He cops a nasty knock but it doesn’t defeat him. Grundy’s pants have been pulled down in the ruck by a disciplined Canadian athlete but he mostly makes up for it at ground level. He gives away frees but we’re loving his inner mongrel. And Sinclair – the much-maligned – is unrelenting in his run and chase and head-over-the-ball. I’m forgiving his stuff-ups because he’s having a red-hot go, taking the game on. And he’s quick!

At half-time we’ve only improved our deficit by 2 points but I think the momentum might have changed. Pendles is back and Beams has lifted. And the Swans have failed to capiltalise on forward movement as much as we have. I’m not sure if it’s the pressure out there or whether the skill level of both teams is lacking. It’s not a pretty game to watch. I reckon we’re a good chance. In a makeshift backline, Maxy’s turning back the clock in his 200th. Sure, he kicks it badly on occasion and gets caught but he’s punching the ball away and intercepting beautifully and I’m sure he’s the glue down the back. H is still busy. Langdon is impressive for a second-gamer. Sinkers in tireless. N Brown does his thing. And Jack Frost – fearless, cool, standing tall. I can tell he’ll be my favourite backman  in years to come.

I haven’t mentioned our forward line. This is the most frustrating part to watch. We’re getting the ball into the 50 often enough, thumping it down to the forwards where Trav is doing battle with Teddy Richards. Sure, he takes a couple of great grabs and kicks a goal from an impossible angle but he’s not imposing. I’d have to watch the game again to see if he creates space for Jamie Elliot and Co. Swanny appears to be in hiding and White is invisible too. And Goldsack – in the first quarter I’m all for dumping him next week then he thumps one through from the centre of the ground and puts in more effort.

The third quarter is ours. We kick three before the Swans get one. Trav misses from pretty much in front. White is unlucky when he kicks a goal by busting through a pack, only for it to be touched on the line. Then Trav gets his toe to the ball scoring a major at a vital time while Jamie Elliot has a two-goals in two-minutes cameo. At the 17-minute mark of the third quarter, the black-and-white chant starts, but it’s without the old arrogance – it’s a you-can-do-it chant. We’re on the edge of our seats.

Three-quarter time. We’re three points ahead but Nathan Brown has been subbed off with a dislocated shoulder. This is where it could all fall apart. Bring them home Bucks, I’m thinking. Rally your troops. Show everyone you have the boys on side. Who knows what Bucks says but Pendles rallies his men in the final quarter, ably assisted by Maxy down the back and the ship steadies and we bring home a memorable win with Young kicking the sealer. White’s miss from virtually the goal square deserves a special mention – it was Trav-like.

It’s ugly, gutsy, often shambolic, unskilled and heart-in-mouth stuff. But there’s a fair dose of never-say-die and I’ve already ditched the arm’s-length idea for the season. Footy’s back. With Reid, Thomas, Fasolo, Kennedy and a couple of dinosaur ruck options to draw on if we have to, maybe we’ll make some progress this year. I reckon we’ll collect a couple of unlikely scalps, lose a few we should win and get games into some youth. Sounds like the old days, pre-2010 …

3 – Pendles

2 – Beams

1 – Maxy

Very Honorable mentions to Frost, H, Macaffer, Sinclair, Elliot and others who played their roles and Clinton Young for hitting his target reasonably often.

Comments

  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Great to see Ormond’s own Jack Frost in ripping form.

  2. And for his constant punditry of “Buddy got a touch of Frostbite on Saturday night” etc., Tim Lane shall be amongst the first against the wall, come the revolution.

    Well played Pies.

  3. daniel flesch says

    Two ex- Hawthorn players on the park for that game . Clinton Young did his bit for the Pies with his run and long kicks. The Swans didn’t get a lot out of Whatsisname though. And i doubt the former is on $1 squilion p.a. for 10 years .

  4. Bloody hell, is THAT how much they’re paying McGlynn??

    Nice work, A-MAC.

    I watched the game through Rose Hotel-coloured glasses, and all is again well with the world.

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