Finals Week 1 – Geelong v Collingwood: Pies umbrella or Geelong wife?



It is not easy to fully celebrate your team’s progression into the preliminary final, when people you love are commiserating their loss.


I watched this game on my own, having stuffed up the on-line reserved seat bookings and left myself without a spot. In the hullabaloo that is Ticketek on-line, I had booked a couple of guest passes for Geelong-supporting daughter Ursula and Collingwood-supporting son Herb with their Geelong-supporting mother Helen out in the open on Level 1. I had inadvertently (I am sticking to my story) left myself off the booking. Our oldest Collingwood-supporting son Bill was all organised to watch the game on-line on his holiday in Turkey. Collingwood-supporting daughter Audrey was planning to watch on delay from upper New York state – the game coincided with a compulsory early morning training session. Her challenge was to stay away from all social media and watch the game without knowing the result.


Left work just before 4 o’clock and joined the MCC queue about half an hour later. Spotted a bloke I went to school and uni with who is now Principal of St Joseph’s Geelong. Must have got an early mark from his boss (?) to get there at that time. On entry I proceeded to Level 1 and found a single seat. Then went to the Blazer Bar to await the arrival of the others.


Banter on the family group messenger was in overdrive. Much of it targeting me. Drinks in the Blazer went down well – Helen reckons Friday night beers at the footy are the best tasting beers. The arrival of her extended family meant that Herb and I were seriously outnumbered by Geelong supporters. As start time approached we separated and went to our seats. I was there in time to see the arrival of the Collingwood team led out by 300-gamer Scott Pendlebury. The single seat next to me was vacant and the umbrella that the occupant had earlier left was also absent. My quarter time invitation to Helen to join me was ignored.


As the game proceeded, the women on my non-vacant side was quietly supporting Collingwood. She was actually a Brisbane supporter. I missed having family members to disagree with about what was happening on the field. The on-line chat had gone quiet – perhaps in support of Audrey’s endeavour. Helen asked if I was enjoying myself. With Collingwood in front it was still not time to crow. Far too early.


At half time I met a couple of friends at the Tower 6 bar, but I wasn’t looking for any more beer. Prue is a Geelong supporter but it is not always obvious. Steve barracks for the Hawks. I forgot to thank him for what his team had done in Perth just a couple of weeks earlier.


After half time Collingwood scored just two more goals. They did not score at all in the final quarter. From my seat I had a clear view of the count-down clock in the coaches’ box. I thought about relaying the information to those downstairs but they had ready access to the hard-copy placards being held up in front of the teams’ interchange benches. It would have been as the 30 second board went up with the Pies more than a goal in front that the Collingwood cheer grew lustier.


Post siren I didn’t loiter. I knew the Geelong supporters wouldn’t be hanging around and having earlier abdicated driving-home responsibilities I couldn’t be confident the car would not depart without me. Somehow there was a communication breakdown and Herb headed for the train. The car drive home was conversation-free. There had been some amusement that Audrey had “accidently” found out the result, but there was little other joy in the car. I don’t think the car heater could work hard enough to counter the chill. When the ABC post-game broadcast finished early to go the cricket, my suggestion that we find another football station was not well received.


The Pies are in the prelim. Bill will be back from his overseas venture and will come to the game. Herb has to check his finances to work out whether he can afford the ticket. Helen and I will go to the Cats semi final against the Eagles, unless of course they decide to play the game in a rural paddock. Ursula has a social/sporting clash and has to make a decision. I will be barracking hard for the Cats. A win will make for a happier household.


About Andrew Fithall

Probably the most rational, level-headed Collingwood supporter in existence. Not a lot of competition mind you.


  1. Andrew at least your team won! My single seat on level 3 had ca harming ( yes charming!) Collingwood supporters on either side. I did forget to ring Chris Scott Bureau of Meteorology Head Honcho and part-time Geelong coach before the game to check the weather and had the poncho and head gear handy just in case it did rain.
    Great work by Scott to leave your only ruckman out against the best in the competition and shift your best negating Backman into the fire. Outcome? One backman short (thank heavens for Stewart) and Grundy kept on with his Brownlow Medal form.
    Geelong? Will go out in straight sets. Unfortunately Polly has gone to the Big Game but Stanley is available ( depending on the weather of course) and the GS can,t beat them by himself.
    Damned if I know why I wrote this!
    Gee Steve Smith and Steele Sidebottom are superb Gigs. How many double “S,s” out there?

  2. Bob, after watching Geelong for the last few weeks, I tend to agree with you about the Cats going out in straight sets. Tomahawk seems to have the yips in front of goal when they get it near him. Ablett and Selwood had, for them, quiet nights this left too much work for Dangerfield who once more was quite superb.

    For all that, the “Pies were relentless, hitting Geelong with everything, including the kitchen sink, in a torrid first term. Despite Geelong challenging late in the game, those pesky Magpies always appeared likely winners.

  3. Well I guess the one benefit of the conversion of our game from a free flowing scoring spectacle into a dour struggle to extract the pill from an endless series of scrimmages and stoppages is that scores are low and close. When I woke up in the Final Quarter to realise that Geelong were only 3 goals down despite having been comprehensively outplayed I was briefly energised! Sadly that dastardly Colingwood plot to remain scoreless ensured that time ran out before Geelong could find the ball and the luck to pull off an outrageous heist.

  4. Roger Lowrey says

    CitrusBob, I simply endorse all your remarks in trumps. RDL

  5. Barracking for the Cats? We know where you live. Or did prior to the divorce.

  6. P.S. Have seen better games of footy in the Under 12’s. Celtic 1; Queen of the South 0 (on penalties).

  7. Well gang, if you thought the ‘Pies v Cats was a dour struggle, as i write this it’s half time of the Crows seconds v Norwood Redlegs SANFL semi Final. As you would expect, with the Pros v a team of amateurs, it’s no contest with Adelaide scoring at will. I can’t even grizzle about turnovers as Norwood rarely had possession of the pill.

    In my opinion, the SANFL has destroyed the comp by allowing the Power and Crows seconds to compete in our competition. Now that Norwood are destined for mothballs (unless a miracle occurs) I can only hope Glenelg can dispatch the Power seconds in the second semi.

    As I’ve said many times a Power v Crows seconds grand Final will be a complete mockery of footy in SA.

  8. Andrew Fithall says

    Thanks you all for the comments. Peter B – you were not meant to see that last bit about me barracking for Geelong.

  9. Luke Reynolds says

    Very much enjoyed the ‘rural paddock’ comment. As well as the win. Go Pies!

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