Collingwood, a season in review: A blur of emotion, success and fighting ‘til the final siren

2019 was an interesting year for the Collingwood Football Club.


The hurt was still there from that wretched 2018 decider. The way in which the previous campaign ended meant this season was emotionally charged from the outset. Then there was the sentimentality of Beams. The prodigal son and his return to the black and white stripes. He was perceived as the key, the bull that would parachute Collingwood’s midfield towards greatness. Halfway through the last quarter of round one, when the newly-gifted number 11 came streaming through a pack and slammed through a goal into the Magpies cheer squad, the dream was fulfilled. Combine this with the return of Elliott and Moore from injury and the Pies looked better, more battle-hardened from their harrowing experience the year before.


That’s why the alarm bells didn’t ring after the first-up loss to the Cats. The Pies were blunted for the majority of the game, the likes of De Goey and Elliott proving they could work in deadly tandem up forward. Despite a rusty start, they only just got pipped at the post. When they then dished out some more pain to the Tigers after that glorious September night last year, Collingwood appeared menacing. They were mature, thinking, and always adapting. Roughead was an inspired pick-up, settling down that full-back role with aplomb and allowing Moore to fling his athletic body into every pack he could reach.


But the Pies weren’t gifted a soft start to the season, as they faced their conquerors West Coast in round three. Going into the match with De Goey in crazy-good form after a dominant five-goal performance against Grimes, who went on to become the best key defender for the season, hopes were high for a dose of revenge. All that happened was more heartbreak, more frustration at the way West Coast strangled the Pies into a dismal loss. Of course, a similar Sheed goal left all of the faithful stinging when leaving the ‘G on that Saturday night.


The stop-start beginning to a season full of hope and expectation slowly began to build. The Bulldogs highlighted their rising ability, and gave Collingwood the first of two close games. Squeezing past the Dogs, question marks were arising as to whether De Goey, Stephenson and Elliott could all function in the one forward line, as well as the impact Beams could have. That’s what made the next three weeks so glorious.


There were some wonderful performances. Think of that four-quarter performance against the Lions. That first quarter dominance, the chemistry in full display. Beamsy’s goal, that emotional point up to the Gabba and the reaction of his teammates. Then that heart-stopper against the Bombers. A wonderful first half, before a Daniher-inspired comeback led to that last quarter. De Goey’s goal, that siren sounding just when we couldn’t take it any longer. Standing by Pendles, our beloved champion.


This middle patch of the year was wonderful, yet indicate of Collingwood’s year. They maintained their level of success, but never looked impressive. There was that first quarter against Port, everyone connecting wonderfully again. Unfortunately, it was really only the first quarter. Similar performances against Carlton, Sydney and St Kilda were tight. Lacklustre efforts broken open by strong last quarters that were rampant and beautiful to watch. The potential was there, but was struggling to become unlocked.


Think of the poor patch. The raft of injuries that once again struck down key players. Those horrific efforts against North Melbourne, GWS and Richmond. They are the nights that test one’s faith, and make other victories all the sweeter. When our amazing last quarter saw us clinch that glorious one-point win over West Coast, it all seemed better.


That last part of the season is a frenzy. There was the return of Elliott, blitzing Adelaide and Essendon to create hype. Then Stephenson returned in full flight, combining with his friends (sans a disappointed De Goey with ice on his hammy) to edge past Geelong and send us into a prelim.


On reflection, this was all too good to be true. Before anyone could comprehend what was happening, everyone had pencilled in a Collingwood/ Richmond decider. And perhaps that was the issue – we had found our way into a prelim before we could take stock, and eventually couldn’t find that scorching form until it was *just* too late. Another devastating finish, but not quite at the level of last year. This time, we didn’t deserve that spot in the Grand Final. We may have given a better showing, but you have to earn your way to the big dance.


2019 was a whirlwind. Looking back, it was driven on emotion, the heartbreak of ’18 meaning there was no taking stock. It was like the season never ended – everyone was too busy casting their eyes ahead to the next season to help handle that loss.


There were great stories – the return of Reid, Beams’ brave admission, Treloar, Grundy and Pendlebury’s sparkling form. The return of Stephenson, the courage of Adams to keep bouncing back, and the potential of Moore. Roughead’s wonderful year, Maynard’s grit, Elliott’s return. Sure, we had our controversy with Stevo, but it wouldn’t be a year at Collingwood without some scrutiny and drama.


Another year has rolled by for this massive club, and now is the time to stop and take a breath. The perfect combination isn’t far away, we just have to sit patiently and hope it will equate in 2020.



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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