Collingwood v Carlton: A race against time

By Domenic Favata

It’s Friday, school’s out and the stage of the MCG awaits us as I leave home for the train station. The night is primed to be a good one, as I am joined by four mates (2 Collingwood, 1 Carlton, 2* neutral- including me) who are all anticipating a cracking night of footy in front of a cracking crowd. Our anticipation is halted somewhat, as the train is delayed by about fifteen minutes (it had to be tonight!). So, we browse through our phones and do some last minutes ‘super coaching’, changing our captains, checking our fixtures and crossing our fingers. Finally, the train arrives and our anticipation is brought back to life, one hour before the game starts.

The train ride was full of opinions and predictions about the night ahead. My Collingwood mates were expecting a solid victory and my Carlton mate was expecting an upset. Us neutrals, well, we just sat there and agreed with both sides in order to avoid a heated argument before the match even started. We didn’t realise we were talking that long until we arrived at Flinders Street Station with about twenty minutes until the first bounce. The race against time was on! The unfurling of the flag had just taken place and we’ve missed it (Thank God for that! Could you imagine those Collingwood supporters! ) The walk was about two kilometres to the MCG and having reserved seats on the top deck didn’t help our quest to get there in time. What also didn’t help our quest was that half the group wanted to run and half wanted to walk, I thought to myself, “You’ve got to be kidding, a bunch of sixteen year olds cannot decide whether to walk or run.” So we ran!

We arrive at Gate 7 with about three minutes until the match starts, up the stairs we go and we reach out seats at Q28 just on the bounce. What timing! The match begins and we’re all stuffed, Carlton kick the first goal through a free to Hampson and Collingwood answer back with a goal to the ‘little-man’ Blair. We’re all back to life. It was frantic first quarter as both side went goal for goal in which Carlton were looking like the better side. Yarran was dominating off half back and their pressure was instrumental in giving them the lead at quarter time. The question was, could they sustain it?

Arguments were on and off between my friends, as I was sitting in the middle, listening to Collingwood’s chances of going back to back and Carlton’s chances of becoming a top four side. My reply to both sides, “You never know what can happen in footy,” but they kept going. Carlton’s persistence in the second quarter saw a see-sawing term, quick goals to Krakouer and Waite ensured the match would continue to be a close one. That stopped then and there.  Four consecutive Collingwood goals via Krakouer, Travis Cloke, Luke Ball and Blair to close out the first half was a killer blow. Collingwood had taken control over the midfield, and Carlton, like every other side, couldn’t beat the forward press out of the defensive press. The Blues were not tactically aware to beat Collingwood, slow ball movement backwards and sideways and poor kicking skills were the catalysts in there break down. By this time my Collingwood mates were contemplating a big win and my Carlton mate had his head is hands hoping for the train to be on time on the way home. So we went outside for a kick and my Carlton mate’s night went from bad to worse as he kicked the ball over the side onto Brunton Ave after an errant shot at a torpedo. Luckily for him, we got the ball back, but his confidence never returned.

The siren sounded for the start of the third quarter, the first goal went to Mitch Robinson as we were in Red Rooster buying some food. By the time we got back up, Collingwood had wrestled back the control, even though they struggled to advance the ball like they did in the second quarter. Twice Carlton reduced the lead to fifteen points, but former Richmond player Andrew Collins gifted Collingwood back the momentum with a slack handball to Jarryd Blair as he booted his fifth goal. Any confidence that had returned to my Carlton mate had been shot after this very play. The hard work was undone and Carlton’s skill error proved critical.

The last quarter was fairly even between both sides, but Carlton kept making the same mistake they had been all night, slow ball movement. When Dawes snapped his second goal early into the quarter the match was well done and dusted. The Collingwood juggernaut had rolled on and the Carlton stutter had halted them. My Collingwood mates were ecstatic, my Carlton mate disappointed, I went home a happy man.

Scoreboard:

COLLINGWOOD 4.2 9.7 12.8 15.12 (102)

CARLTON 4.3 5.4 8.5 11.8 (74)

Goals: Collingwood: J Blair 5 C Dawes 3 A Krakouer 2 T Cloke 2 A Didak D Jolly L Ball. Carlton: J Garlett 3 J Waite 2 B Gibbs B Thornton E Betts K Simpson M Robinson S Hampson.

Best: Collingwood: J Blair L Ball H Shaw B Johnson D Beams S Sidebottom. Carlton: C Judd E Curnow J Garlett M Jamison H Scotland.

Umpires: Shaun Ryan, Matt Stevic, Simon Meredith.

Official Crowd: 88,181 at Melbourne Cricket Ground.

My votes:

3-Heath Shaw

2- Jarryd Blair

1-Chris Yarran

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