AFL Round 7 – Collingwood v Port Adelaide: Tiring Friday nights – nothing better


What’s the best thing about a Friday night game? If you win, the whole weekend is already so much better – no need to worry while the other teams slog it out.


What’s the worst? Getting there to watch.


I find that out the hard way on Friday – Marvel Stadium and the adjacent Southern Cross train station is so elusive compared to the closer proximity of Jolimont to my train line. It’s only two extra stops, but it takes an extra 20 minutes thanks to a lengthy delay from Flinders Street. Luckily, we’re off ten minutes before the game and I find my seat just as the match has started. And I’m greeted by the returning Ben Reid having a shot for goal.


The first quarter is bliss – it’s fun, light and entertaining. Unlike the harsh passion exhibited on Anzac Day, we just kick goals for fun. Stephenson scores an early hattrick, Elliott bobbles up for a few entertaining plays and the midfield is putting Port Adelaide’s to the torch. Moore is marking everything entering remotely near their forward 50, and we waltz down the middle with elaborate ease. Save for some misses, the quarter is a remarkable display of football – Beams caps it off with a booming goal to push us out to a lead over 40 at the first break.


Taking it in, it shapes the game. Port Adelaide can play better for the rest of the match and still walk off at the end second best. And that’s what it looks like when they kick the first couple of goals in the second term. Boak is lifting his team in his 250th, slotting their first and cracking in hard. Wines is out of sorts, but luckily Lycett and Ryder are rising to Grundy’s level. All of their youngsters are down on their usual input, but some of the old heads are settling down – Westhoff is providing a presence that is sometimes brilliant and other times frustrating. Up the other end, the Pies reply with behind after behind, save for an early running goal to Reid. De Goey and Big Ben keep missing easy set shots, and we splutter along to half time with only a four goal lead. Burton slams a long range major just before the break to gift Port strong momentum.


The first half of the third quarter isn’t anymore promising – Port have turned it into a tussle and can earn the odd goal from it. They inch back to within three goals and suddenly our first quarter safety net isn’t quite so sturdy. Thankfully, the wheel gets rolling again and some cheeky plays from Mihocek allow De Goey to burn off his opponent in a one-on-one to cruise into an open goal. This follows Jordan’s searing pass to Hoskin-Elliott just minutes before that resulted in another goal. Backs are slowly reclined into seats once more, sighs of relief are exhaled. Treloar brings back the light side of Collingwood footy with a remarkable snap goal while being slung in a tackle – all is back to normal.


The game is settled in the opening minute of the last quarter – Elliott spots up Stephenson for a ripper mark and good conversion. Moore continues his stand out effort with more intercept marks and daring dashes off the back line. Pendlebury is uber smooth, picking up from where he left off on Anzac Day. Port defenders keep holding strong, but Houston and co are finally overwhelmed by Collingwood’s incessant pressure. Elliott and Sidebottom capitalise with finishing goals that blow out the margin to what it was. Order is restored – Port are definitely a better side then last year, but they still lack some intensity when it comes to the big stage. Rozee and Butters may be the key, as long as they don’t learn from their older teammates when it comes to slow starts.


I can happily sing the song, wait ages for a train home with a tired smile on my face. The weekend is set up, and Collingwood are in the winners’ book once more – Friday night wins are well and truly worth it.



COLLINGWOOD    7.6   8.12   11.17   15.18 (108)
PORT ADELAIDE   0.3    5.6     6.7     10.9 (69)

Stephenson 4, Elliott 3, Mihocek 2, Beams, De Goey, Treloar, Hoskin-Elliott, Reid, Sidebottom
Port Adelaide: Lycett 2, Rozee, Ryder, Westhoff, Burton, Powell-Pepper, Marshall, Boak, Gray

 Moore, Pendlebury, Phillips, Langdon, Treloar, Grundy, Maynard, Stephenson

Port Adelaide: Howard, Westhoff, Houston, Boak, Burton

Official crowd: 37,559 at Marvel Stadium



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