And now… The Happy Ending!

I guess I must be older than I feel because I have lived through three drawn Grand Finals and their replays.

I don’t remember anything about the first. I was less than eighteen months old and besides my team wasn’t playing. I was thirty years old when the next drawn Grand Final occurred and I was at the game. In those days the Ground level of the Ponsford and some of the Southern Stand were all standing room and I was standing at the half forward flank on a sixpack of beer cans. I wasn’t drinking but my mates had kindly provided the empty sixpack for me so I could see over the tall people in front of me.

Collingwood won the third quarter, mostly because North kicked 0.5 while the Pies kicked 5.4 but I never felt confident and North got the lead back in the last quarter until a late goal by Twiggy Dunne evened the score. I went home feeling Collingwood had gotten a second chance that it probably did not deserve.

We got tickets for the replay (which were sold of all unlikely places at the Statewide Building Society) North led all day and 33 years later the only things I can remember was Phil Manassa’s run and goal and leaving as quickly as I could after the game to avoid North’s moment of triumph. If anyone had asked me I would have been too disappointed to give an honest assessment of the game which would have been that the team that was the better team on BOTH days, won.

Last week I saw my second Drawn Grand Final. Like Collingwood in 1977, St Kilda had a very good third quarter and like North in 1977, Collingwood were clearly the better team over the whole match. I went home very disappointed that the Pies had drawn a match that they should have won. I also felt optimistic about the replay.

It seemed to me that a lot of Collingwood’s younger players had been overawed by the big occasion. Blair, Beams, Macaffer, O’Brien, even to some extent Pendlebury and Wellingham all played below their previous form. Of the young players, only Thomas and Sidebottom had really good games. I quite liked Dawes’ effort but his kicking was below his usual standard. I felt confident that a second Grand Final would find all these players less nervous and more confident.

And that is what happened. As in 1977 the better team over both weeks won the replay. Collingwood played a fast moving game with skills in both attack and defence. All the young players seemed far more at ease than they had the previous week. Pendlebury won the Norm Smith. O’Brien, Wellingham and Dawes played superb games and most of the others weren’t far behind. Sidebottom, for the second week in a row, showed that he plays his best footy in Grand Finals. Our two old/new recruits Jolly and Ball had fine games. Jolly must have been in the five best players. Luke Ball, the man Ross Lyon didn’t want at St Kilda, now has a premiership medal, something that Lyons’ preferred players do not have.

The statistics that stick firmest in my mind at the moment are not that I have seen two Grand Final replays. It is not even that I have finally seen a second Collingwood Flag as an adult (two between the ages of 6 and 11, and two between the ages of 11 and 63). It is that Collingwood has finally won its 15th (fifteenth!) VFL/AFL premiership. One more to equal Carlton and Essendon and one more after that to go back to the position we held between 1930 and 1981 as the most successful club in the competition. We have the players. We have the Coach and his heir. BRING IT ON!

Go Pies!!


  1. LOVED IT !


  2. Say it with me nice and LOUD!!!

  3. Phil Dimitriadis says

    All that’s left now Dave is to see us beat Carlton in a Grand Final…by a POINT.

  4. bloody Carlton supporters!
    Phil you shoulda seen the reception they gave me THIS morning as soon as i walked into the class room!!! Ggrrrr!!!!

  5. John Butler says

    Phil/Danni #3/4

    You’ve had 100 years to do that. How much longer do you need? :)

  6. Phil Dimitriadis says

    True JB, but in which millennium did the Blues last win a flag? Sorry mate, couldn’t help myself. The wounds of 70,79 and 81 won’t completely heal until we beat the Baggers in the big one.

  7. is there any truth to the Lockyer and Medhurst retirements? i need to be sure before i start crying over my boys!! :(
    Lockyer..he was so amazing for us!
    Medders, a year too early!! :(

  8. John Butler says

    Fair enough Phil. :)

    Don’t think we aren’t aware of how long its been.

  9. Dave Nadel says

    It would be nice to avenge 1970, 1979 and 1981 but it would also be nice if Melbourne got to a Grand Final while Collingwood is still in its Premiership window. Then we could avenge 1955, 1956, 1960 and 1964.

    #7 Haven’t heard anything definitive about Medhurst and Lockyer although I would guess that lockyer will retire and possibly be offered some sort of job with the club. I expect Medhurst to keep playing but it may not be with Collingwood.

    BTW Danni, have you noticed that the papers have suggested that Jack may be traded with Fremantle for Chris Tarrant. I hope this rumour is wrong because I think we need Jack as a backup for Dawes and Cloke and even in some circumstances Leroy Brown. He is too good to be traded for a 30 year old player who would only be back-up for Nathan Brown and Ben Reid.

  10. 9- Dave i just LITERALLY emailed the club, about 5 mins ago to voice my concern.

  11. if you don’t mind, i think it would be good if you sent them a quickie as well, so that they see its not only me thinking this.

    Email: [email protected]


  12. Dave Nadel says

    Since my previous post I have looked at Nick’s Bulletin Board, my favourite Collingwood fansite. They are reporting that a “Sportsnews” website is claiming that both Lockyer and Medhurst have retired even though the club offered Medders a 12 month contract. I hope this is wrong. Medhurst is only 28 and if he could do a full preseason he would again be a top player.

  13. Dave Nadel says

    #11 O.K. Danni, I emailed the club although I don’t think it will change their mind.

  14. yeah i go on there too.
    Gee i hate seeing Tarks go out like this.. :(
    ill forever cherish my Lockyer badge.
    What do you think about Presti? one more year? and Leon, will they send him packing?

  15. 13- thanks Dave.
    well its worth a shot!
    if i have learned anything from my history it is to excersise freedom of speech!! :)

  16. Dave Nadel says

    Trying to guess what name you use on Nick’s?

    I will be surprised if Presti stays. He is now behind Nathan and Ben and he is more than ten years older than them. Leon should stay.

  17. 16- I Think my username is Mrs.JackAnthony
    lol ;) not that im a fan of his or anything.

  18. Clearsighted says

    Dear Collingwood fans – bet you stayed to the end of THIS game.

  19. 18- durr!!! no wait…i left the TV to parade down the street through the sunroof of my car ;)

Leave a Comment