AFL Round 8 – Collingwood v Geelong: The big questions

Score a footy and Cats gear

Score a footy and Cats gear

I already know the night in my brother Shaun’s shed isn’t going to be one of the greats, because he gave me early warning.

“The wood burner’s packed up.”

So we’re sitting there, just the two of us, rugged up like we’re about to take on Antarctica instead of Collingwood, and arguing about Harry Taylor’s scoring fist pump.  I think it’s daggy and awkward; Shaun likes it – he reckons it’s miles better than Motlop’s twirl.

He turns the telly on.  “No signal”.

“I bloody hate digital,” he moans.  “The weather isn’t even that bad”.

It comes good, though.  The splats stop before the first bounce, and I reckon we’re going to win.

Then, in front of the Collingwood goals, Jimmy Bartel handballs to Steele Sidebottom who gleefully converts.  Jimmy doesn’t make those mistakes – it’s highly disconcerting.  Soon he makes a couple more – happily without the same result.

Collingwood are off like rockets and despite a Trent West goal from a boundary throw in (“Probably a poor boundary throw in,” says the commentator), we’re quickly three behind.

“It’s just like the North match, we’ll come back,” says Shaun.

“That can’t work all the time.”

“It has so far.”  This is true.

If we’re going to come back, we’d better start moving.  We’re not playing badly – the Pies are piling on the pressure, but we’re doing okay on that front too.  Billie Smedts is pulling some good tackles, Mackie’s solid as ever, we do get some momentum going – just with no real result.  It feels a bit off.

We’ve got a lot of young blokes running around and they’re doing well, but I miss the steadying influence of Chappy, Kelly and Stevie J.  Apparently I also still miss Wojo, given the way I yell his name every time Thurlow – wearing number 40 – goes near the ball.

Tom Hawkins and Steven Motlop keep us respectable, but it might be a sign of the pressure that Motlop forgoes his twirl.

We only get two goals in the second quarter, another from Hawkins, and a beautiful boundary line Geelong special from a bounced back Bartel.  But Selwood’s not getting a touch – McCaffer’s keeping him very quiet, while half the Pies have a crack at goal.

Sister-in-law Denise arrives after picking up 9-year-old John from a birthday party.

In the last year, John has transformed into the most intense Cats fan in Geelong.  He’s devoured every Footy Almanac, and has memorised more AFL stats than any reasonable person wants to hear.

“Has he seen the score?” I ask Denise.

“Yeah, but he’s not worried.  He says we’re third quarter specialists.”

Darren Jolly bumps Matthew Stokes and Shaun defends him on account of the height difference.  I’d inadvertently said something nice about Pendlebury myself earlier, so I forgive him this burst of sportsmanship.

Krakouer’s got the ball in their goal square when the telly goes black.  By the time we get the radio on, it’s clear he scored.  It’s like the olden days, huddling round the wireless in the cold, listening to bad news.

The telly fires back up in time for the long break.  We’re only down by four goals, but somehow it feels like more.

John leaves the heated lounge room and joins us in the shed.  He’s looking perturbed.

“Don’t worry mate,” I tell him.  “As the wise man said, we’re third quarter specialists.”

“Who said that?” he asked.

When reminded it was him, he cheers up and heads back inside.

“Why do they make the players sit on the floor at half time?” asks Shaun. “They could get them some benches.”

It’s the big questions in the shed tonight.

The Cats fly out of the barrier after the break and it’s a scoring fiesta – Jimmy again, Christianson grabs a couple, Mackie gets involved, then Pods brings us level after a brilliant pack mark. When Motlop snaps his second and puts us in front, the twirl is back.

“Third quarter specialists,” we say at the same time.

This time it’s the Pies confined to two goals for the term, from Elliot and Dwyer.

Pods puts us 13 points in front at the last break – what a quarter! I’m still not happy, but I’m happier than I was.  I’d be even happier if I got to see Harry Taylor’s dodgy fist pump.

First blood of the final term goes to Sam Dwyer, who’s pretty handy, but second gamer Thurlow soon gets it to Hawkins who bags his fourth and it’s back to 13 ahead.

When Collingwood’s denied a free, the commentator sums it up.  “They’re going feral here, the Pies fans.”  He’s right, they are, and I almost – almost – feel for them.

Harry O’Brien’s been busy, but Mackie’s having a blinder and spoils his goal.  Krakouer’s given a free on the line and while Taylor’s complaining to the umpire, Krakouer gets them to within six points. Not happy.

Elliot brings them level again and it hurts even to watch.  They get another point then Krakouer bananas one through.  There’s a couple of minutes left, and it could happen, we could claw back.  But we don’t.

The Pies tune blares out and we turn the telly off and pull out the cards.  I’m cold, I’ve chewed through my fingernails, the Cats have lost for the first time this year and Shaun’s thrashing me at cards.  But at least I’m not at the MCG with those celebrating Pies fans.


COLLINGWOOD          5.7       9.9       11.10   15.12 (102)
GEELONG                    3.1       5.7       13.11   14.12 (96)

 Dwyer 3, Elliott 3, Krakouer 3, Pendlebury 2, Sidebottom, Lynch, Cloke, Seedsman
Geelong: Hawkins 4, Bartel 2, Christensen 2, Motlop 2, Podsiadly 2, West, Mackie

Pendlebury, O’Brien, Elliott, Dwyer
Geelong: Mackie, Motlop, Bartel, Hawkins

Umpires: Chamberlain, McInerney, Mollison

Official crowd: 66,768 at the MCG

Our votes:  O’Brien, Mackie, Dwyer


  1. Cath – not long after the final siren I found myself having a beer and a conversation with Peter Daicos. Great timing hey!

    Nice work here. The shed sounded very cosy.

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Well written report Cath, really enjoyed it. Sometimes the shed is much more suited to football viewing than the loungeroom.

    Extremely envious of your post match beer and conversation with the great man Dips, good work!!

  3. thanks chaps – and another point in favour of watching in the shed is that Collingwood greats don’t wander past – hope you enjoyed the beer, Dips!

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