Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life: It’s all about to start for the four (or is it six?) Pies’ teams

Cam Hooke is a Canberra-based Collingwood fan(atic) around whom a wonderful email group has developed. After he contacted John Harms just to say g’day, he started to include him on that list. JTH received the weekly missive which was so informative that he asked Cam if it could be published on the Almanac site. Over the last few years Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life has been much-loved by Pies’ fans.


This is the first one of 2018…



And the ‘bad times’ are nearly over. Krista just said “But it’s only January“.  My reply: “The first AFLW game is in about a week“.


Greetings to all fellow True Believers and a brief hello to those few ‘non-Believers’ who, for some obscure reason, continue to routinely receive this – Phil (Essendon), David H & Andrew H (Geelong), David P (Hawthorn) and, of course, John H (Geelong).  I’m sorry Martin K, I don’t remember who you support?.  I hope that everyone is refreshed after the break and may 2018 turn out to be a bit better than last year (globally, as well as for the footy).


A reminder – This is just a bit of fun among fellow Pies supporters.  Like everyone (please, everyone, let’s hear from you) your views and comments are always welcome because we are, of course, all family.  I’ve bolded a couple of invitations, below, which I hope may prompt some responses.  Welcome your comments to get the ball rolling.


Are there others people might know who might appreciate the ‘fellowship’ of this august group, or are you aware of the changed addresses of those who may have moved on (Rob Welsh?)?  Let me know please?


What do you want this year?  See my comments at the bottom.


Okay, a few ‘warming shots’ plus a few bits and pieces to get you headed in the right direction.




Upcoming events are listed at  Also listed on this page is how / where you can become an “Official Supporter” (RH side of page) if not a “Member”.  While the list of events is very much for Victorians, there are a couple of things interstate:



  • Pre-Season competition (aka: JLT Community Series): Giants versus Pies, 7.10pm, Thursday, 1 March.  Collingwood haven’t played in Canberra for 17 years (13 Feb 1999).  Why do I remember?  We attended the game: Sydney/Collingwood.  Our daughter, then aged seven, with a similarly aged friend, went and sat next to the Pies’ Cheer Squad.  They learnt a whole bunch of ‘new words’.  We lost 12.13.85 to 11.8.74 (Yes, I had to look it up).


The Club’s Teams:


We have four teams to support (actually six, if you count the AFLX team and the Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s team; I will try and provide some comment on each.  Go to the specific website to get a total picture):




  • AFLW  Season starts at Ikon Park on Friday, 2 February; 7.40pm with the ‘traditional’ (well, it happened last year, so it’s a tradition) Carlton/Collingwood game.  Was seriously worth watching last year; expect the same.  TV: Channel 7 at 7.40pm.  Home & Away games conclude 18 March; expect Finals over the following four weeks (or so).  And to play AFLW?  Go to





The Draw:




  • Kevin Bartlett’s comment: “The more I look at the Pies’ draw, it looks to me (like) it’s a draw from hell.”  Sheedy’s comments: “dumb and lacking common sense” highlighting: “And in what is a huge year for Nathan Buckley and Collingwood, the Magpies will play only two teams from this year’s top 12 twice – Richmond and Essendon”.  And the problem with that, Sheeds, is..?


The List, comings and goings:



  • Jesse White – retired.  I was never a great fan, though appreciated his effort.  On occasion he could be brilliant; unfortunately it was “on occasion”.


  • Lachlan Keeffe – gone.  I am disappointed in this decision.  I felt he really didn’t get much of a go.  I’m still disappointed in the Witts’ decision the previous year – not that he should have replaced Grundy, but that both were critical to the team – Grundy around the ground; Witts as the more conventional centre bounce ruck (see more on Key Players, below).


  • Same for Henry Schade, disappeared from Round 7 last year.  After his demolition of Buddy his dropping was a surprise.   His statistics are worth a mention.  His Round 3 ‘shut-down’ of Buddy included 16 Disposals, 6 Tackles and 3 one-percenters (aka punches/spoils).  Round 4 – 14 / 0 / 4; Round 5 – 11 / 1 / 2 and Round 6 – 13 / 1 / 4.  He was dropped following Round 6.  Why? These numbers should not be compared to the Mids.  His role (and that of the other Full Back line (note, the Half Back line needs to be measured differently by their drive forward, not just their defence)) was highly defensive, perhaps even measured against their direct opponent – Round 3 (Sydney) – Buddy – 17 Disposals / 2 Marks inside 50 / 8 Inside 50s / Scores: 3 Behinds;  Round 5 (Essendon) – Daniher  – 16 / 4 / 6 & Scores: 3.4; and Round 6 (Geelong) – Hawkins – 8 / 2 / 1 & Scores: 1.1.  I watched his performance on Buddy in Round 3 and he didn’t make the Best list.  Who was the Backline coach?  Harves.  “C’mon, mate, what else do you need to do?


  • Going, going, gone (almost, maybe):

–                     Liam Mackie / Mitch McCarthy – delisted from Rookie List; neither well known.

–                     Adam Oxley (stays through Rookie draft) but Jackson Ramsay goes. Ramsay – a bit of a surprise, though    understandable given his injuries.

–                     Ben Sinclair – gone; no surprise due injuries.


  • Newbies: Tyler Brown (son of / brother of), Jaidyn Stephenson and Sam Murray.


Key Player(s):


There are some quite extraordinary statements in the media regarding key players across the competition.  For me, there is only One in our team: Grundy!  We have sufficient depth almost everywhere else (not always to the standard we would like) except in the ruck. “C’mon, you can’t be serious; Cox is not a ruck.  Not sure what he is, actually, but he sure isn’t a ruck.”  Go back to my comment regarding ‘letting Witts go’.  Your views, concerns?


And the Coach:


Courtesy: Ben Collins, 31 Dec 2017:


Bucks: “I love to win any contest going, but one thing I’ve always struggled at is poker because I just can’t seem to nail the facial expression and I end up thumping the table. It’s the same in the coach’s box, and I’d like to finally control it. But when a game deals me a dud hand, the poker face disappears and I feel like grabbing a red-hot poker and … OK, calm down and remember what the body language coach said: Just breathe … in … and out … in … and out … Arrgghh! Who am I kidding?


And the CEO:  Mark Anderson appointed.  His skills and experience include Swimming Australia and Hockey Australia and includes substantial success and sponsorship (not necessarily in that order).


Who else?  Yep, I know who some of you are thinking about.  ‘No comment’ from me; maybe towards the end of the season, maybe, subject to achievements.  And I agree the Club profit & loss last year was disappointing.


The Game Plan:


I was pretty comfortable with the Game Plan last year.  My criticisms were about how it was implemented, for what percentage of the whole game it was actually applied and what the Coaches’ box did in response to issues as they arose.  Let’s watch the Practice Matches and see if anything eventuates.


Key concerns over the last couple of years have been:


  1. Kick-ins (pretty much since Leon left – bring him back in a Coaching role?) – we need to exploit this possession; not lose it.
  2. Disposal Efficiency, particularly among the Midfield ‘hotshots’ – it is not good enough to achieve a Disposal dropping the ball onto your foot before you’ve looked up to see where it should go – Clangers are where such a Disposal goes straight to an opponent (the waste).
  3. Multiple leads by the Forwards, giving the deliverers alternatives – and ‘crumb’ in front and behind..


Peter Moore’s comments, as a dual Brownlow Medallist and father, at has a slightly different view.


What do you think?  What specific area of the Pies’ game would you like to see improved?


TV coverage?




  • Comment:  I hate the progressive sale of Free to Air coverage of our sports.  In the ‘old days’ the best games used to be on TV which meant that wherever you were, Collingwood games were routinely covered.  Now, some genius reckons that if you live in Canberra you must be a Sydney or GWS fan.  Adding in all our teams it gets a bit complicated; lucky someone invented the ‘TV remote’.


Game Reporting.  Reporting from the game is critical.  There is a whole, different attitude and perception among the fans at the ground.  I’d really encourage people to ‘put their hand up’ to report to us all.  Thanks.  If for no other reason, perceptions can be interesting: I’m reminded of TV commentators referring to “little Daisy Thomas”.  Daisy is about 6ft 1in (185cm) – not “little” in my language.  They are bigger than they look on TV (even Gary Ablett who is only a touch under 6 foot).


Other Things


  • Eddie Watch.  A routine topic – Quiet?  Anything from our Melburnian colleagues?
  • Caroline Wilson.  Totally unrelated to the above (of course), but I liked the article anyway: “Eddie McGuire and Caroline Wilson often can’t remember if they’re friends or enemies, but Wilson remembers that Eddie was supportive of her, when so many weren’t, when she became chief football writer.”  Go to:
  • Records.  Watch the Freo / Pies AFLW match on 10 Feb 2018; 4.10 WST – looking at more than 40,000 fans (Interstate, as well – maybe we’ll get an MCG game – How many do you reckon they could get?).  TV for that game on Seven (and Foxtel).
  • The ongoing debate – Footy v Soccer.  The Comments are worth reading.  My view of Soccer?  Apart from wasting good taxpayers’ money – $40m (I’ve never seen any accounting of that expenditure), we had a friend who was / is a dentist.  He would not allow his kids to play Soccer.  His comment: “It is the only sport where people put their heads in close proximity to others’ and are encouraged to throw them around.”  He had ‘cleaned up’ teeth damaged from this on various occasions.
  • MRP.  The new order: Michael Christian and Steve Hocking.  Go to:  Watch and see.  Does this mean Michael won’t be doing his fabulous post-game / pre-game ‘Agenda’ through the season?
  • Footy Almanac.  Greetings to our friends at FA.  Worth a look-see.  Go to:


Okay – “The Question”.  I expect us to make the Top 4.  I hope, as always, for a Premiership but believe we have the List and the Game Plan to achieve that.  We just need the ‘endeavour’.


Enough.  C’mon.  Go Pies.


Happy Australia Day to all.




Cam. Hooke





  1. Cam’s title was ‘2018: the year of the Pie?’

    Which I mention here for the sake of discussion.

    Maybe I should change the title?

  2. Paddy O'Peace says

    Let’s here it with a great exuberance..
    Good luck Cam for 2018.

    Hope it’s still politically correct to call your team Carringbush led by
    Eddie Macquarie.

    Our President is still Jimmy Carter, though we are not republicans.

    Is it true Big George Belltower is applying for the vacant Captain coach position at
    Barwon Prison?
    Or is the Prison’s masseur?

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