AFL Round 21 – Collingwood v Brisbane: Bali in September is nice – where is my tropical shirt?

written by Paul Taylor for the Floreat Pica Society


Bali in September is very nice!

After listening to the West Coast fade late in their game to the Bombers I was apprehensive as I caught the train to the G. Big question I had was whether the pies would be able to last. I reckoned the six day break after travelling to Perth would cost us if the game got tight towards the end. My optimism wasn’t lifted when the text came through that Elliot was out and Kennedy was the sub. Lets hope the news that Kennedy might be close to signing again is true because he must be getting sick of starting on the pine.

My mood didn’t lift when I walked around the G and realised the game had started earlier than I expected! And it got substantially worse when I ran through the legends bar and saw Merrett kick their 4th goal. As I walked to my seat I had to take two because I thought I had seen Armstrong running around at half back. Sure I had read that he was one of our better players in the reserves. It was only when I reached my seat that my mate Joe explained the disaster that was the pregame and first ten minutes. Pendles out before the game. Reid gone to a hamstring in the first couple of minutes. Not sure what Reid has done in a past life but he is getting some severe payback. So the pies version of Prince was on for his second full game for the day within minutes of the start.

My mood brightened a little as the first quarter progressed. Our mids started to get a bit more of the ball and Cloke and Goldsack were creating opportunities up forward. The star was Timmy Broomhead. Through the gloom of the haze he stood out with his poise.

But the gloom soon returned. Cloke landed awkwardly and wobbled to the bench. He didn’t return. Handley, Zorko and Adcock were shredding us around the ball. Stefen Martin, the Melbourne reject was giving Witts – our version of the QE 2 – the run around. I gave up counting how many times we had the ball in our back half and went backwards or off to the side. There has been enough said about the plus one tactic this week so I won’t harp on it but PLEASE can we play a full game with a set of six up forward. Even with a spare back we still left one of their forwards spare at a centre bounce and paid the ultimate penalty. It was under 12s stuff. Frank, the other Taylor, in an email during the week talked about a lack of leadership down back. Couldn’t imagine such a thing happening if Maxy was still out there. Keefe tries to marshall the troops down back, but he is struggling having to play as a key defender and set us up. Frosty scraps like a Heeler, but is still a pup. And Langdon, who played the role earlier in the season was sitting in the stands.

The final half was much like the second quarter. The Lions looked so much quicker, bigger and taller. Particularly bigger. Poor Ben Kennedy got smashed every time he went near the ball. Beams like the rest of our key players succumbed to injury and spent most of the half on the bench. The only bright note was a run and carry goal by Clinton Young. But it was all against the run of play. The usual tried hard: Blair, Goldsack and Marley Williams. The Fas man coolly converted a couple of opportunities and Brodie Grundy played perhaps his best game in the seniors since early in the season.

But the night was simply a disaster. We have completely run out of gas. It is deflating to think that a season that promised so much just 2 months ago has gone so pear shaped. Guys like Caff, Toovey and Heritier looked pedestrian last night. I specifically watched H a couple of times and couldn’t believe how much he was struggling to run the lines up and back. Can we please have H from 2010 back!

The only bright note was the form of the twos earlier in the day. To be honest the most joyous times I have had watching the pies over the past couple of months has been down at Vic Park. I don’t mind if we win or lose, I just love the atmosphere and the chance to kick a ball around or walk a circuit of the ground with a mates pooch at half time. But nostalgia is often the brother of trying times and right now things couldn’t be more trying for those of us expecting another September campaign. Ultimately the real question of 2014 is going to be whether the past two months are just a blip on an upward curve or the first signs of a malaise that might make the coming winters rather dark for those of us who bleed black and white.

Hard to find three of our best. But circumstance dictates I do so I would punt for:

3 votes Brodie Grundy. Tried hard and took a couple of nice grabs. Played out the four quarters. Missed a couple of opportunities to kick goals which was disappointing.

2 votes Tim Broomhead. Might end up being the best of the SA trio drafted together. Looks a smooth mover and can actually kick goals under pressure.

1 vote Alex Fasolo. Was more a reward for his endeavour and the fact he played a lone hand up forward when everyone else fell over. One of the few in the side with the foot skills to be able to play in a side like the Hawks.

Now time to get the Tropical shirts out in readiness for the sun and surf of Bali.



  1. Well played Paul.
    You don’t need to be off your game by much in this competition, it seems.
    Makes the sustained efforts of Hawthorn, Sydney, Fremantle, Geelong even more laudable.
    Happy holidays.

  2. Steve Fahey says

    Good effort under trying circumstances Paul, alittle like Tony Armstrong !

    Brisbane were very good and clearly came both to play and to take the game on. For us the evening was a farce, a perfect storm of a team with no confidence and several blokes returning from lengthy spells out of senior footy and then copping injury after injury.

    I can only remember two other games with so many key players sidelined, and ironically they were both against the Lions, then Fitzroy. In round 7, 1985 at Vic Park we had three stars off when Daicos did his ACL, David Cloke broke his wrist and Taylor also suffered what looked to be a serious injury, leaving the field with suspected broken ribs, but ending up only with a bruised kidney. We lost by 79 points. See,8197240 for a newspaper article on that game.

    In Round 15 1988, we headed to Princes Park to play Fitzroy with us second on the table and the Lions second from bottom. We were fresh from a magnificent win over the arch-enemy the previous week, the game in which SOS took the hanger over Starcevich. The flu swept through the playing group and our team was a pale imitation of what it had been in the season up to that point, literally and figuratively. We lost by 90 points.

    One most unfortunate consequence of all of the injuries is that the VFL team will be cruelled as it heads into the finals, which start Saturday week. They should beat Bendigo this week but then will go into a knock-out final the following week with half its usual team.

  3. In all seriousness, the Magpies have had a marvellous run of finals appearances.
    Even us non-Magpies will all be watching the “re-build” with interest.

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