AFL Round 6 – Collingwood v St.Kilda: Expectation is a funny thing

Expectation is a funny thing. On the one hand, it can put the weight of the world on our shoulders – the angst and pressure and worry that comes when sitting on the couch in front of the telly on a Friday night is enormous. We scream at the screen and jump from our seats and throw objects around the room (but only cushions – we don’t want to risk breaking the telly and not seeing the end of the match). Having this expectation that we will win, (not our team, but we) takes everything out of perspective. We have tunnel vision. We expect goals to be kicked and tackles to be stuck and crowds to go wild.

But on the other hand, expectation (or lack thereof), can take this pressure away just as quickly. We might sit down on a Friday night crossing our fingers, hoping against hope that our boys get up for the week – but not really expecting it.

Don’t get me wrong, we still scream and jump and throw cushions, but the feeling in the gut that a game is on the verge of a loss (which is the worst feeling in the world) is missing. We start celebrating the little things – the one percenters, the straight kicks, first hands on the ball – even if we don’t get the four points at the final siren.

Last Friday night was no different. I spent the day teaching the young students around central west NSW our beautiful game. I endured a few remarks about NRL, but even worse I endured the chatter of a sports coordinator who is a one eyed Pies supporter – and keen to brainwash his poor naive students whilst they’re young.

“Who here knows any AFL teams other than the Giants and Swans?”


YUK. At least he is encouraging the right sport. I guess.

Season 2013 hasn’t been a good one from this St. Kilda supporter’s point of view. I must say, and I hate to admit it, having conceded that the elusive premiership window has closed; it has taken a lot of pressure off across the weekend. It doesn’t really make losing any easier to take. It just takes the pressure off for a win – except in the case of round one against the Suns. That one hurt. A lot.

My brother sent me some words of encouragement before the game on Friday.

“Something to keep the belief burning after a less than perfect start to the year – ‘St. Kilda made the Grand Final in 1997 when they were 1-4 after the first five rounds of the season.’ – Well there you go…”

I admire his optimism. I really do, but the game has changed significantly in 16 years, and it is not built for inspiring comebacks when the fight for 8th spot is a tough one, let alone the big one.

And taking Lenny out of the game before the first bounce doesn’t help the cause.

The first quarter was an interesting one for me. The usual sentences were yelled at the telly – “Man UP!”, “Shepherd!”, “Use the centre of the ground!” and in particular “Kick the damn thing!”

Not to mention “These new rules are [insert expletive here]!!”. That one gets spoken so much I am sick of hearing it come out of my own mouth. But regardless, only two points down at the first break, thanks to goals from Milney, and our defenders Gilbert and Roberton, and I couldn’t complain too much with the boys’ performance.

I couldn’t believe it when we kicked two in a row at the start of the second! The way that we absorbed the attack then went on the counter was great and our forward pressure was much improved. Keeping the Pies goalless up until 5 minutes to go was a great, hard fought effort. Just a shame we let two in to give them the lead into half time.

As the commentators said, “full credit to the Saints” – our EFFORT was phenomenal – And effort is one aspect of the game that is celebrated when expectation is low. Were we expected to win the game? Probably not, but we were expected to keep up the intensity and effort for four quarters – then we ‘might be in with a chance’, as they say.

However, the Saints have been notorious for losing momentum after the main break, well, also after a short break, and unfortunately it was a similar case on Friday. The third quarter was a five goal to three affair. Composure was lost, and Gilbert was injured after an alright game. Goals were missed by Milney, Kosi and Siposs, whilst the Pies kicked truly through Blair, Pendlebury, Krakouer, Seedsman and Clarke. Lucky for us they missed some too, which kept us in it going into the last break.

Cloke kicked his second for the game at the start of the last term, after Dwyer also kicked a goal for the Pies. This is where my mind began thinking “blowout”. Then Rooey stepped up as he has many a time being the wonderful captain he is, and kicked not one but two goals! He could have had three, but we’ll give him one behind for four goals any round of the season!

However, the hope that was still lingering in the back of my mind that maybe, just maybe, we are in for a chance, faded after Cloke kicked his third and fourth for the night playing on our young developing defender Stanley. I was silently begging that we didn’t get flogged. A loss I could deal with (albeit only just against the Pies), but I didn’t want to get smashed. Especially after three quarters of alright footy.

In the end, a 26 point defeat was what the Saints suffered. Not ideal, but after the start to the year, I think this could be expected. A sigh of relief could even be exhaled that it wasn’t more. Remind me to ask my brother a question:

“The Saints weren’t 1-5 after round six in ’97 by any chance?”


Collingwood       3.4          5.7          10.10     15.13     (103)

St. Kilda                                3.2          5.5          8.9          11.11     (77)



Collingwood: Cloke 4, Jolly 2, Pendlebury 2, Seedsman 2, O’Brien, Blair, Krakouer, Clarke, Dwyer

St. Kilda: Riewoldt 4, Siposs 2, Gilbert, Milne, Roberton, Koschitzke, Armitage


Colllingwood: Thomas, Cloke, Shaw, Pendlebury

St. Kilda: Riewoldt, Roberton, Steven
Umpires: Rosebury, Stevic, Ryan
Official crowd: 40, 071
Our votes: Dale Thomas 3 (Coll), Nick Riewoldt 2 (St. K), Travis Cloke 1 (Coll)



  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Amen Kelsey, good report. Spoke to the heart of the matter and I was with you all the way, as were the other Saints in the mix.

    Well done


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