AFL Semi-Finals: Words of joy in the unfamiliar month of September

Here’s the thing . . .  for 36 years of my life barracking for Collingwood has been a poisoned chalice. From an early age mythical losses have been chiseled into my mind. What hurts more than anything is that many of these tragic events could be described in just one or two words: Froggy’s goal, Breen’s point, Jezza’s mark, the Wayne Harmes pocket, Rocca’s point (or was it a goal?). Near misses, one and all.

After a while it starts getting to you. Having watched the boys lose for the past two weeks it’s got to the point where I can only watch from the safety of home.

In the first quarter Adelaide dominate the play. The game looks much like the second half from last week. I cannot understand why we are allowing Adelaide to start repeated attacks from their half-back line. In the midfield Bernie Vince racks up the possessions. Our forwards are mostly struggling or non-existent. The game is almost over at quarter-time. Crows by 5 goals.

In the second quarter the Pies at least stop Adelaide from scoring. But Collingwood is still ineffective in attack. By half-time I give us no chance. I send a few words to my cousin via text . . . Disgraceful, at least our misery will be over soon. Quarters and the boys in the box are slightly more optimistic but I think this might be a clever ploy to keep us all watching in the third term.

In the second half Melissa has had enough of my whining and griping. She takes decisive action and heads for Facebook in the front office. Her sister Tracey starts feeding through the live scores from the game. After a while Melissa yells out, “It’s going to get tense”.

“Yeah, right,” I mumble under Collingwood breath.

But slowly, piece-by-piece, brick-by-brick Mick dissembles the Adelaide wall. Knights goes off with more ice on his hamstring than you’d find at a service station. The night gets hotter (hovering around 26 degrees).

The boys lift. Johnno kicks two great goals. Trav converts from forty. We are winning contested possession all over the ground. A 32-point deficit is transformed into a 5-point lead. Towards the siren Dick kicks a fine crumbing goal. 11 points up. I am disbelieving in the living room. Melissa is quiet in the study. She knows something. She knows how this is going to end. I am worried. The tension is getting too great.

At the start of the last term the Crows fire another shot at Collingwood’s bow. They are magnificent. Tippet keeps trying up forward and somehow they are back in the lead. Melissa knows something, but she’s not saying. The scores are tied when our new boy Macaffer drills one from 55 out on the run and then Leroy gives us the lead with a booming set shot from fifty out. Melissa knows something. Melissa knows everything . . . all that matters on this hot September night.

The final minutes approach with the Crows refusing to give in. Tippett gets a free-kick fifty from goal and converts. By this point I give up. There musn’t be any time left. I turn off the telly, Melissa calls out: “Are you sure you want to do that.” Melissa clearly knows something.

I reach frantically for the remote. Jack has the kick. Forty out. Slight angle. One point down. Siren imminent.




Our kids wake up. Our neighbours wake up. Melissa is smiling in the study.

The ball is bounced in the centre. A scrimmage fills the centre of the ground.




Melissa is now telling me to keep quiet before all our kids wake up. She is right. It’s time to settle down. It has been one of the finest moments in our marriage. She has coaxed me through this agonising night. She knew that something was up. Something miraculous and most unCollingwood.

And at the end I only have a few words left . . .

Free kick. To Us. Near goal. Straight kick. Jack. Mick. Next week.

And for once, just once, in September these are words of joy.


  1. Andrew Starkie says

    Well done, David. One for the ages.

  2. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Unreal David,

    last time I experienced emotions like this was during the extra time final against WC. Nothing beats being there though. Can we beat a Victorian side in a final for the first time since the ’90 GF? Go Pies!

  3. David Enticott says

    Hi Phil and Andrew,

    Unbelievable game and result. I’ll be doing my bit for the Pies by heading as far away as possible from the G this Saturday . . . Merimbula. If by some miracle we make the Grand Final . . . I’ll be heading for St Petersburg or the Arctic Circle. The further away the better. Should be a great game this week. Regards, David.

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