AFL Round 7 – Fremantle v Collingwood: Pies hit by Dockside tsunami

By Jim Smith

I took two American friends to watch this match. Their comments: Unpredictable; fast; dangerous.

And they loved it although one says he is a Collingwood supporter because he likes magpies.

The Pies must think they had their pockets picked: down by 6 at the first break; well behind at half time; near level at the 3/4 spell then BOOM – a dockside Tsunami.

The Dockers’ patched-up junior team cast a spell that not even a misty eyed veteran optimist of 17 years of Freo pain could believe what his eyes were witnessing – I wept tears of joy as they ripped the heart from the surging Pies.

No ruckmen; no Pavlich; no Fyfe; no Hill; no chance, as the black and white juggernaut threatened to crush them.

Full credit to Collingwood. They performed like seasoned professionals: keep running, push forward, chase and grind the opposition down as they did in the third quarter.

But when the Dockers stopped the cute chip passes and drove through packs, kicked hard, took bold confident opportunities at full pace, then the magic unfolded.

So what magic words did General Lyon pronounce as he faced his lagging troops at the 3/4 break.

No slapped heads or what went wrong- just the same as the past Year: Play to the plan. Everyone must do better. Trust your team mates. Be confident and bold.

I have a sense that when Papa Ross says to the lads: “Would you mind awfully trying a bit harder” they understand that there is a fair degree of pain and effort required- Michael Walters for one. But Walters, one of the heroes in this glorious Dockers victory, also understands the rewards that come from that challenge.

This game was like grand opera.

A bright, bold opening with the local heroes dancing and prancing- irrepressible as they lashed the villains for their arrogance. Then the twist as the heroes faltered for a time, their entourage hushed in fearful silence, only to hurl themselves to victory with a final stunning crescendo.

The icing on the cake is always the choreography of the umpires.

The barked orders and threatening gestures as the central umpires break a brave warriors heart with a 50 m penalty for breathing within 3 metres of his opponent.

The graceful pirouettes of the boundary umpires hurling the ball in a graceful arc skywards.

The symmetry of the ball relayed back to centre after a goal with each runner calculating angles and speed with startling precision.

The raw courage of the goal umpires as the rampaging army of muscle and might descends upon them and the poise to raise the flags with a proud flourish to mark another score.

What drama

What theatre

What awesome fun.


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