Round 9 – Collingwood v St Kilda: Shades of 2010

Maybe it’s memories from years gone by, but I’m always nervy when my Pies play St Kilda.

Following last week’s scare against an over-performing Carlton side, Collingwood aren’t particularly setting the world on fire. When De Goey and Moore are both late outs, the Saints supporters walking into the ‘G have an air of hope. It’s game on now.


Another Saturday afternoon clash is greeted by a lovely warm afternoon. A cloudless day. Harking back to the fateful 2010 Grand Final replay between these two teams. If only we played like that today.


Those aspairations are immediately tucked into bed by a tight tussle. St Kilda are playing the daring footy that has seen them begin 2019 with a resurgence in form. They are cutting through the middle with pace, using handballs and their leg speed to propel forward quickly. Collingwood are matching them, playing run and gun football with a touch more patience. The Sherrin is ping-ponging around the ‘G in front of an eager 60,000 supporters. How good’s Saturday arvo footy?


Rowan Marshall is holding his own against the colossus of Grundy. Dunstan and Ross are pushing offensively against Pendlebury and Beams. Treloar is touching the ball a lot for not much impact, but he is getting it out to the classy distributors in Sidebottom and Pendles. Varcoe takes out both Phillips brothers. Minutes later he makes amends with a classic run-down tackle and goal.


Tim Membrey and Mihocek are the dangerous tall forwards up each end, with Jordan Roughead and Nathan Brown struggling to hold down fellow tall timbers Reid and Bruce. Collingwood gradually stay ahead, even when the Saints pile on the pressure with the ball trapped inside their forward 50 for half of the second term. But they are unable to capitalise, and the Magpies make them pay. Fortunately, Marshall caps off an impressive half in the ruck with a booming goal, and the Saints are neck-and-neck with Collingwood at the main break.


Throughout the second half, experienced Pies in Sidebottom and Grundy light a fire underneath them and assert their wise heads. Steele is barely missing a target on the wing, while Brody decides to give Marshall a lesson in ruckwork after the latter’s first half spunk.


Howe tries to take mark of the year and ultimately fails, yet first-gamer Robbie Young motivates his tired teammates with two lively goals that keep them in the match. The Magpies threaten to break open the game with class and precision. St Kilda dig their feet in to the last break.


The game could go one of two ways in the last quarter. The Saints could use their dash and young legs to run over the top, or Collingwood can finally crack the youthful St Kilda defenders. The latter happens. Reid’s improved performance from last week’s performance means he is in the thick of the action, taking marks and dishing off the first goal of the last quarter to Josh Thomas. From there, the clearance count swings violently Collingwood’s way and the elder statesmen in Beams, Pendlebury and Sidebottom set up goal after goal.


Mihocek’s hard work pays off with four goals, while Reid and Stephenson snatch three each. Sidebottom turns the quarter into a private show led by himself. An errant kick from Aish bounces in front of him. Quick as a flash he has darted between two Saints players and strolls into a mesmerising goal. Minutes later he controls a Hoskin-Elliott handball on the boundary and bananas it across goal to the welcoming tree-trunk arms of Mihocek. That’s how you create goals. Greenwood continues a defiant move to defence with a stellar game. Without Moore, Levi plays deep and takes many intercept marks. He also hits targets too. I could get used to this.


Jack Billings fights hard in what is another notch on a superb 2019 belt. He’s definitely beginning to reach his potential. Savage uses the ball well off half-back, capped off by a superb running goal in the third quarter. Gresham has dash. But all of this is slowly being wiped out by a Collingwood onslaught.


The icing on the cake comes with only three minutes left. A nonchalant Beams left foot ball finds Stephenson, who goes back to the centre square for a shot on goal. With minimal fuss, he unleashes a torp that is Daisy Thomas reincarnated. It sails through with ease. Collingwood supporters rejoice in shock. It has a bit of Harry O’Brien in it. That late goal in the replay nine years ago. Bathed in cloudless blue sky, the MCG is rolling again. The City End is decked out in black and white. It’s packed. Collingwood footy is back big time.


Walking out, I see Beams and Pendlebury embracing on a screen. Something clicks. There’s a heavy feeling of 2010 around the MCG on this Saturday arvo. Boy, did I miss it.


COLLINGWOOD          3.1       6.2       11.4     17.10 (112)
ST KILDA                     1.3       4.9       9.11     10.11 (71)

 Mihocek 4, Reid 3,Stephenson 3, Sidebottom 2, Thomas 2, Varcoe 2, Hoskin-Elliott
St Kilda: Membrey 4, Young 2, Bruce, Marshall, Savage, Battle

 Sidebottom, Grundy, Mihocek, Stephenson, Greenwood, Crisp, Treloar
St Kilda: Dunstan, Billings, Membrey, Savage, Gresham, Steele

 De Goey (shin soreness) replaced in selected side by Wills, Moore (ankle) replaced in selected side by Aish, Langdon (knee)
St Kilda: Nil

Reports: Travis Varcoe reported for rough conduct on Ed Phillips

Umpires: Meredith, Findlay, Gianfagna

Official crowd: 60,702 at the MCG


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