AFL Round 23 – Collingwood v Hawthorn: All Over

Friday night, 6.05PM and I’m on the tram from the stop just near the Waterside Hotel en route to the MCG. Expecting my Collingwood team to receive a Hawthorn flogging. Dreams of a top 4 finish, heightened by our 8-3 start to the season are gone. 8th place is now optimistic at best. Just hoping for a competitive performance by our younger players and a spirited performance by the team to send off  2010 premiership player Luke Ball.

I’ve been lunching with the Almanackers. There is truly no better way to spend a Friday arvo. The private room at the Waterside is packed. Peter Bedford is a wonderful guest speaker. Brings his Brownlow. Modest about his football career. Seems to rate himself higher as a cricketer (39 First Class matches for Victoria, 4 domestic one day games). Plenty of forward defensive shots and hard spun leg-breaks with his hands as he speaks. Bedford’s entertaining talk goes overtime, but everyone is very much entertained. Beats working. I sit with ‘Swish’ Schwerdt, a fellow Split Enz fan. I need to speak to him one day solely about music, without football getting in the way.

The last two times I’ve been to the Waterside I’ve had the steak. It’s been superb. Thought I’d try the chicken parma this time. OK, but plain. I’ll have the steak again next time. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh. I’m comparing it to the chicken parma’s served up by my local, the Mamre Hotel in Pirron Yallock. There is no better parma in Victoria.

After the fantastic company at the lunch, I’m flying solo at the ‘G. Happy with that. First time in the 2014 season I’ve been to a game on my own. Gerard and co on 774  on my headphones as I find a standing spot in the forward pocket in the Ponsford Stand.

As I have said, there was no expectation going into this game. Prepared to get smashed. Just want to be given some hope for the future by our youngsters.

Corey Gault makes his debut. Has an early kick, his first. It’s at goal. Out on the full. Minutes later he marks strongly and goals. Fasolo goals. We miss a couple of shots at goal that really should have been converted. Hawthorn, held goaless for all but the last 2 minutes of the term. are gifted a free 6 points from the umpire. We should have been much further ahead at the first break. Against my better judgement, I start to think we can win this. We’re playing with passion. Running hard. 8th spot could still be ours.

That was it for any Magpie ascendency. Collingwood tried hard but our ball skills were miles behind the Hawks. Does anyone use the ball better than the men in brown and gold? Sidebottom and Pendlebury were fantastic. As usual. But the Hawks, despite staying in 4th gear, run all over the top of us. Didn’t think we were a chance, but that first quarter performance got some unrealistic expectations to enter my head. Wouldn’t have sulked as much as I did in the second half otherwise.

Luke Ball marks 40 out on a 45 degree angle during the final term. Me and all of the Collingwood supporters in the lower level of the Ponsford Stand are hoping to see a goal to cap off a great career. Ball’s sprayed kick across the face that doesn’t make the distance is no surprise. Never a highly skilled player, Ball put his body on the line and bled for his team as much as anyone. His and Darren Jolly’s acquisition helped turn Collingwood from 2009 prertenders to 2010 premiers. A guard of honour from both teams and being clapped and cheered off by the crowd after the game. Luke Ball deserved it.

I walked out of the MCG and the 2014 season disappointed that there would be no finals, that it was all over. But our kids are good. I’m confident of a quick turnaround. Bring on April 2015. Go Pies.

HAWTHORN           18.13.121

COLLINGWOOD     8.8.56


HAWTHORN: Gunston 5, Roughead 4, Hale 2, Puopulo 2, Lewis, Ceglar, Breust, Simpkin, Hartung

COLLINGWOOD: Gault 2, White 2, Fasolo, Sidebottom, Blair, Broomhead


HAWTHORN: Mitchell, Lewis, Burgoyne, Smith, Gunston, Roughead

COLLINGWOOD: Sidebottom, Pendlebury, Dwyer, Ball

CROWD: 48,973 at the MCG


3. Hawthorn (Team effort)

2. Steele Sidebottom

1. Scott Pendlebury

About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. Luke- most envious of the luncheon. Look forward to getting to another one with your good self, and a few other chaps. Much to discuss- Skyhooks, Crowded House, TISM! Maybe also some footy. Hopefully the Crows and Pies are back in the eight by then! I reckon the Hawks will win it this year.

  2. Well played Luke. I must check out that parma at the Mamre Hotel one of these days. Good on you for getting to the game – I feel as if the ground rationalisation in Melbourne has destroyed the community feeling that Melbourne sides used to enjoy at their suburban grounds. All our MCG games seem like neutral games now – it only seems like Geelong and the interstate sides have true home games now.

    Nicely said about Bally – I’m surprised more people haven’t commented about how good he was in 2011 – his second year at the club. Was outstanding that year, not just for his renowned attack on the footy, but also seem to recall him taking a lot of overhead marks under pressure and becoming a nifty goalkicker.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Luke good realistic account the pies injury run has been incredible from a non pies man it was good to hear , Stan Alves make the point of how vital , Maxwells injury was . The pies youth is good with a ruck pairing who will be the envy of the comp in time . The pies start season , 2015 behind the eight ball re , Scharenburg and McGaffer inj do you think this changed the pies mind re , Ball continuing ? How are you coping with the blues delisting , Luke Reynolds surely your own mad monday ?
    Thanks Luke

  4. Can wait for the Adelaide version 1`of the lunch or maybe I should venture to Melbourne for one.

    Injuries took their toll no question but one wonders if Buckley is the man for the rebuild.

  5. how i enjoy reading your writing your passion is awesome hope the CATS can get over those Hawks

  6. G’day Luke.
    Love this story.
    The pub meal has come a long way, really, hasn’t it? I’m keen to try the Waterside parma, though I’m with you on their steak. Regardless, the company you keep probably goes a long way towards the enjoyment (or not) of any meal experience. Sounds like you had a beauty there last Friday.

    And well played L Ball. What a leader. Off-field through his Player’s Association activities (currently President), on-field through his hard-as-a-cat’s-head actions, behaviours, choices. A gun. It’s been a pleasure observing his choices from afar.

    The Player’s Association posted this farewell:

  7. Well written again Luke. We’ll catch up at The Mamre sometime.

  8. Luke Reynolds says

    Mickey- look forward to talking footy and music at a lunch again with you. We never quite got to TISM last time did we!

    Damian-great point about the ground rationalisation. Theres an article in that. I’m sure Eddie has a plan to make the pies the only tenant at the ‘G! Luke Ball’s 2011 was superb. Capped off by that wonderful late goal in the preliminary final win.

    Thanks Malcolm. I’m sure Scharanberg and Macaffer’s injuries played a part in Ball’s retirement, though it came out at the Collingwood fan forum on Monday that Ball was told he would have played most of 2015 in the VFL with only a few senior appearances. That would have been fantastic for our young VFL players and it’s disappointing it didn’t happen.

    Yes get to Melbourne for a lunch Raj! The next few years will tell with Buckley. I’m still hopeful.

    Thanks Lizzie, and thanks for reading.

    Thanks for that great link Dave. And love your comments about L.Ball. Look forward to our next steak at the Waterside.

    Thanks Bidge. See you there!

  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Whoops, I’m a bit slow Luke, agree with you on the steak v parma at that establishment.

    I’m not sure that I can impart much musical knowledge, but it would be fun trying,.

    And as long as you have hope, living is the easy bit.


    See Ya Round

  10. Very enjoyable lunch. Peter Bedford was excellent. Terrific story-teller. Love how he propped up the bar. And reading the letter from Port Adelaide c1967 was brilliant.

    Also enjoyed Col Crawford.

  11. Luke Reynolds says

    Swish-well bookended. First single and last album. Well played.

    JTH- Bedford was wonderful. Very intersted in what Col Crawford had to say. The Port letter a real highlight. Love South and Port Melbourne stories. What a great afternoon.

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